Friday, April 30, 2010

Rabot Estate in London



I popped over to Borough Market this afternoon to buy some Jerusalem artichokes for a soup I’m planning to make this weekend (I thought it unwise to rely on our local Sainsbury's or Tescos). I was very excited to spot a new chocolate cafe and shop just at the beginning of Stoney Street: Rabot Estate. Apparently, it is the Borough Market ‘farm shop’ of one of the oldest cocoa estates in St Lucia, dating to 1745. The founders of the Hotel Chocolat chain of shops (and website) bought the Estate a few years ago and have invested heavily in new cocao plants and upgrading equipment and systems. Rabot Estate is taking the lead in reviving the cocoa industry in St Lucia.

The shop is pretty eye-catching and completely open to the street. It’s decorated in lots of chocolate browns, with reclaimed woods, corrugated iron panels and simple stencil-style typography and manilla labels. However the pricing is anything but basic - £8 for a bag of chocolate anyone?

I decided to play to safe and bought myself a small bar of their ‘Dash of Milk’ range (mid-way between classic dark chocolate and milk chocolate) to try. The 35g bars come in at £2.75 (however if you buy three they come at £2.50 each).

At the till I succumbed to temptation and had a hot chocolate (a more reasonable £2.50 per cup). You can choose between a 70% cocoa or a 100% cocoa, which you can sweeten to personal taste. I went for the 70% option.

This turned out to be very frothy and light - not particularly thick in texture but with a wonderfully thick chocolate flavour which coated my mouth and lasted a while. I think this might just become a Borough Market tradition for me.

They also sell something called ‘chocolate tea’ which apparently was big in 18th-century London before hot chocolate caught on. I need to try that sometime. Also available are chocolate-themed savoury snacks. This place is a great addition to Borough market.

Rabot Estate
2 Stoney Street
Borough Market

Opening hours: Mon - Sat 07:00 - 18:00

Check out my review of Rabot Estate - I am hedgiecc - on Qype

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