Hotel Chocolat’s Made in Borough collection truffles, made on site at Rabot 1745
“You could have them with a cup of tea or coffee: the dominant notes are earthy and fruity—they’re great with a dram of rum, actually.” Piping a series of soft, dark whorls of chocolate ganache on to a large greaseproof tray, Louise grins.
She’s experimenting—and as resident chocolatier at Rabot 1745, she has free reign to do so, furnished as she is with the finest ingredients a chocolatier could hope for: raw cane sugar from ethical sources around the world and the finest cocoa, fairly traded from St Lucian island growers, and dried and fermented on Rabot’s eponymous 250-year-old estate.
She makes the ganache first: 70 per cent St Lucian chocolate and cream. If it’s their plain truffles, that’s it; variations include St Lucian rum, champagne or caramel. “I dip the ganache into St Lucian chocolate, then dust it with cacao powder—also St Lucian,” she adds, though by this point we’re starting to get the idea.
Intensely dark, intensely squidgy
There could be, we think when we finally get the chance to sink teeth into these intensely dark, intensely squidgy, intensely—well, intense truffles, no purer distillation of a Caribbean island as renowned for its sensuality and luxury as it is its tropically fertile ground, than these.
The first sense is the slight, coy resistance of the thin cocoa-dusted shell; the next is rolling creaminess as the ganache melts in the mouth—not cloyingly, like cheap chocolate, but assertively. Firmly even. This chocolate means business. None of your hydrogenated rehydrated sulphate wotsits here, please.
This is professional chocolate: bitter to exactly the right degree, just sweet enough and smooth almost to a fault. Except there is no fault in this chocolate—only in the office, where we find not a drop of rum to pair with it. Next time.