Fifty per cent chocolate with peppermint and crisp, caramelised brittle from Rabot 1745
Spare a thought for those poor souls who grew up in the post candy cigarette era: the coolest sweet in the country, until revelations about smoking’s dangers wisely put the sweet (and the accompanying ‘Just like dad’ slogan) out of favour. Yet it wasn’t the act of smoking that made the idea of these white candy canes so appealing, so much as the joy of using them as a prop in various re-enactments of cowboys, ‘baddies’, and anyone from the film Grease.
Help was at hand, of course, in the form of Matchmakers: the thin, crispy chocolates shaped like a cigar and packed into slim boxes. But what these minty morsels added in terms of characterisation, they lacked when it came to taste. The chocolate was too sweet; the crunchy pieces disconcertingly difficult to identify. We made do because they served our purpose (and because mint and chocolate is a winning combo) but as time went on, we couldn’t help but wonder if there was something like Matchmakers, but better, in the adult sphere of sugary foods.
Now we’ve found it: it’s in Rabot 1745, and its name is Saint Lucia 50 per cent milk with peppermint and feuilletine. It’s a Christmas edition of the beloved broken slabs Rabot makes with cocoa beans sourced from its own estate. “The chocolate is made here,” says Louise. “We roast the beans, conch them”—she points to the conching machine, spinning mesmeric pools of silky cocoa as we speak—”and then temper the mixture to make it shiny and easy to use.” The chocolate is aged for four weeks to develop the flavour and to taste it is to understand just how far removed from commercial chocolate this is.
An icy blast
The peppermint oil is pungent as you open the packet, knocking any lingering cold straight out your nose with an icy blast. The feuilletine—that’s a French sort of brittle biscuit, broken into small shards—is caramelised, buttery and crisp. The chocolate snaps with acute satisfaction and melts on the tongue, releasing a medley of roasted nut, cream and candy flavours. It might not be cigarette-shaped, but it should still come with a warning: this is one highly addictive treat.