Friday, May 7, 2010

The Best Chocolate in the World

It seems silly to proclaim a "best chocolate in the world" because people have such divergent preferences. After all, there's nothing more personal than chocolate.

That's not so in all gastronomic realms. Burgundy drinkers, for instance, tend to be more synchronized, because few people come to wine with fixed opinions. As you absorb the consensus view, you're trained to taste from the point of view of that consensus, so most Burgundy bozos seek loosely the same qualities. But everyone, from eight year-olds to anorexic supermodels to NASCAR dads, feels like a chocolate expert, and we all expect widely divergent things from chocolate, so there's no pleasing everyone. To some, it's candy. To others, caviar.

Chocolate geeks, a separate breed entirely, bring a snooty sensibility to the scene, and some of their favorite products - very bitter, highly refined, and staunchly inaccessible - would gravely disappoint anyone hoping for sweet unctuous decadence. And, at the other extreme, Hershey's churns out 80 million Kisses per year.

But here's the thing: regardless of what you seek from chocolate, Rabot Estate Chuao will absolutely slay you. That's why I call it the best chocolate.

Are you a materialistic foodie, who squeals at the prospect of tasting the most lauded, sought-after variety? Chuao is the single estate cocoa bean everyone's always talking about. Enjoy with a nice fecal cup of civet coffee!

Are you a chocoholic, less interested in subtleties and provenance than in a smoothly embracing cloud of choco-love? You can gobble this stuff mindlessly, decadently, and it still delivers.

Are you a chocolate geek, pursuing highly refined products that elicit all the right adjectives? Whether you're all about the fruity, the ashy or the evasive scintilla of cassis, this will leave you ecstatic.
Are you a reverse snob? This is a completely accessible chocolate which doesn't show off its refinement. It's as friendly tasting as it is impressive.

Are you a bargain hunter? The two better-known chuao brands, Domori and Amadei, are three times more expensive. Rabot Estate will set you back a mere four bucks for 35g. Such a deal! (and I prefer Rabot Estate to both those others).

Are you an aesthete, seeking culinary fireworks? A morsel of Rabot Estate Chuao offers a multi-layered, ultra long flavor experience Grucci himself could have choreographed.

Whoever you are, Rabot Estate Chuao is The Bomb. As it melts in your mouth, and you've acknowledged its bombhood, it takes you deeper, enveloping you in perpetually unfolding lush woozy richness. It goes on and on.

For now, you can only buy Rabot Estate Chuao in England. But I've been informed that the two new Boston outposts of Hotel Chocolat (the overlords of Rabot Estate) will soon carry Chuao - hopefully for a reasonable price. Watch this Slog for an announcement. Thanks to Chowhound veteran Limster for turning me on to this chocolate

Bonus Recco: second best chocolate, for me, is Russian, believe it or not. I don't know much about the brand, and neither do you, but Russian food lovers speak in hushed awe about Babaevsky 75%, and it's become my house chocolate. You can find it in good quality Russian food stores, or via mail order at that previous link (warning: their minimal shipping charge is high, so you may want to add on items like Borodinsky Black Rye Bread ...and note that there's free delivery in Manhattan for $40 orders and higher, via this sister site).


Big Fella said...

Oh, Jim, what has become of you. I'm sure Limster would never have referred to this chocolate as "the bomb".

Jim Leff said...

Yeah, but the point is that this chocolate presses all buttons. So I tried to review it with all voices! :)

centralpark said...

Can you purchase the chocolate online and have it shipped to the US? What stores in London sell it?


Jim Leff said...

In that chowhound thread I linked to at
Limster noted that the sole UK retail store just recently opened. I'm betting they don't mail order, at least not yet. This is all real new. Welcome to the cutting edge ;)

Boston will likely have it via mail order around the same time London does, so just hold on, if you can....

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