From the same plantation as Hotel Chocolat’s Marcial, Bord Du Lac is another one of the 16 cortès (areas of terroir) that Hotel Chocolat have turned into one of their single côte bars. All the beans currently growing on the Rabot Estate are of the trinitario variety, which are more commonly aligned with fruity flavours, although in St. Lucia the terroir tends to express a darker tone.
I’ve reviewed this bar before, as I bought it when it was first released and I remember it, but only generally rather than specifically. I remember thinking of it as a white toned, slightly more elegant version of St Lucian cacao with flavours of white grape that transcended the usual leathers and tobaccos. It’s always good to revisit bars to see what has changed between harvests and more importantly what has changed in terms of your tastebuds – it also helps that family members can easily purchase these for me in a shop when they’re trying to buy me presents – to see how your palate develops over time. With some preconceived notions of what to expect I began re-experiencing this bar. Opening the packaging it’s the highly familiar and somewhat ubiquitous tree bark Rabot 1745 mould present. Breaking off a piece releases aromas of potpourri and sweet florals that seem distinctive and perfumed, the creamy mouthfeel could do with some additional stability, but it’s nice enough. To taste the flavours open up in the same manner as before, these are refined white flavours, pear, almond, white wine and a generally pervading confectionary feel of white sugar tones providing the sweetness. There’s subtly complexity and even some elegance here, as you might expect from such flavours, but it’s a little at contrast to the style of the sugar tones, which are in all fairness very pleasant. Decent balance and a fairly good length lead us to a somewhat dry finish, which reminds me more again of the qualities of a dry white wine, which embodies a lot of the same qualities. This is a refined, light and elegant bar for anyone wanting to approach chocolate more classically and seeking to keep a fairly clean palate to pair with food and drink.
Ingredients: Cocoa solids (cocoa mass, cocoa butter), sugar.
Colour: Medium to darker earthy brown
Texture: Smooth, weathered granite
Mould: Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 tablet mould
Snap: Crisp, click
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte
Notes: Cocoa, sweet florals, poupurri, leather
Quality: Distinctive, perfumed
Length: Medium length
Evenness: Speeds up towards the end
Texture: Creamy, confectionary
Quality: Pleasant, light
Quality: Uplifting, refreshing
Notes: Milk sugar, confectioners cream, light caramel
Quality: Bright, pleasant
Notes: Almond, pear, confectioners cream, sweet white wine, golden tobacco
Quality: Light, subtly complex, elegant
Flavours lengthen over the melt, but lack a smooth roundedness
Notes: Sweet white notes, dry, lingering
Quality: Sweet white notes fill the end, before a slightly dry finish, which leaves lingering flavours of pear and almond tart with cream
Sweetness can come to dominate the proceedings, but otherwise this bar remains fairly balanced with complementary tones and a creaminess that levels the bar out, structure remains fairly light with roast providing some additional backbone
Bar has some depth and a good degree of dimension too, subtle flavour complexity is well balanced, structure while light remains consistent, expression feels honest of terroir and processing feels light
Hotel Chocolat’s Tasting Notes: Make hay whilst the sun shines. Greeted with a bouquet of grassy aromas, this crowd pleaser offers understated simplicity. The elusive earth tones sharpen to a woody, nutty pinnacle.