Rococo Chocolates, London
This is the chocolate shop that when asked by my friend Angelo, who collected all the British chocolate for me, "what do you want from them?" I had to say "anything you can get your hands on." They have so many offerings that I said "you pick something cool, ask the people working there what they recommend, and something dark." Otherwise, I would have asked for one of everything. This was one of the bars I ended up with. A couverture bar using Valrhona's Manjari Madagascar cacao.
This is exactly the kind of thing I like. So many different options to keep coming back too. A chocolate shop that gets into all the holidays and offers gift ideas for her, for him, families, children, and corporate. They also offer classes on chocolate making and offering chocolate parties for kids as well as kids chocolate classes. Just look around their website. They have a lot going on.
[Image of Chantal Coady via Rococo Chocolate Blog]
Rococo was founded in March 1983 by Chantal Coady.
Coady graduated in Textile Design (Camberwell School of Art & Crafts) in 1981, and went on to complete an MSC Small Business Course. Armed with a little knowledge, a dangerous passion for chocolate and a belief that there was room for a radically different approach to chocolate, she decided to open a shop in the King's Road (Chelsea, London). 26 years later, the author of three books about chocolate, Coady still pushes forward to boundaries of chocolate retailing with 3 shops in London - the flagship store is at Motcomb St, in the heart of Belgravia.
This makes sense when you research the word Rococo. On the surface it seems like a very fitting chocolate name, but with her background in textile design, Rococo is an 18th century style of French art and interior design. This is the influence behind their fabulous packaging. Oh yes and they have aprons, coffee mugs, and stationary with these fantastic patterns.
In 2007, a small cocoa farm came up for sale, close to the Belmont Estate, offering the perfect opportunity for a joint venture between Rococo and the Grenada Chocolate Company to produce fairly traded "ethical" chocolate. This plot of land, which we call GROCOCO, is now the ‘home farm’ which supplies 100% of its harvest of fine flavoured organic Trinitario cocoa beans to the GCC where they are made into fine chocolate. It was also one of the founding farms that make up The Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers' Cooperative.
Seven years after our first taste of Grenada chocolate, we will be mixing Grococo beans with the Rococo Organic House Blend. From now on, all Rococo’s organic products will include Grococo beans in the recipe.
This bar being reviewed now is made with chocolate from Valrhona. Grand Cru Manjari 64%. Madagascar beans with all the classic hallmarks of bright berry notes, acidic, and citrus notes.
One thing I am curious about is the label saying "Pure Criollo." Valrhona indicates that this chocolate is made from Trinitario beans. Trinitario is a blend of Forastero and Criollo beans. Madagascar does grow Criollo beans, but without genetic testing to find out how blended it is, it's hard to say how pure the Criollo is. Criollo beans are rare and highly susceptible to disease. Hybrids and blends are now the dominant varietal being labeled as Criollo. So, it makes me wonder how they can label this bar as pure Criollo since it's a couverture chocolate from Valrhona.
Check the original Valrhona Manjari 64% review for comparison.
Type: Bittersweet, 64%
Bean Varietal: The label says "Pure Criollo", but Valrhona uses Trinitario for the Manjari.
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, and natural vanilla.
Sample Size: 85g or 3oz
Appearance: A bit streaky and matted in the appearance. Monogrammed, original molding in the Rococo style, deep brown color. Thick bar of chocolate.
Snap: The lines from the molding were not deep and this bar was very thick, so it made it hard to snap. Clean, but erratic break lines, deep, loud snap.
Aroma: A bit softer and sweeter than Valrhona's Manjari bar. Roasted cocoa, deep red berries, sweet, acidic, more of a vanilla presence, and slightly inky.
Taste: Sweet, softer red berries, a bit more tart than the Valrhona bar, more subdued wood flavors that take their time to open up. It finishes a lot like the Valrhona Manjari bar, but over all is a lot softer and sweeter. More smooth around the edges. Big raisin finish through retro-olfaction.
Texture: Smooth, soft and creamy with medium melt time.
Madagascar chocolate British style. Very much like the original from Valrhona, but softer and subdued on the aroma and flavors. A bit sweeter, which is what I am coming to recognize as a hallmark of British chocolate. They like it sweet.
This had the same bright berries, but softer wood notes. The wood did open up big, but it sure took it's time to present itself. Loved the raisin finish. I had a hard time picking up dried fruits on the Valrhona bar, because the berries and wood were apparent. This had a nice lingering raisin finish.
Final Score: 93