Last night, we were invited to a rum and chocolate pairing from the lovely people at Barrio Soho to celebrate Easter week. I don’t know about you but chocolate and booze? Hold me back!
If you haven’t been to Barrio Soho, I’d definitely recommend a visit. It’s tiki bar fabulous with tropical drinks and a great snack menu, the perfect place to go for ‘one quick drink’ after work and then end up spending all night dancing in the bar downstairs. Our hosts for the evening were Rococo Chocolates, a London based luxury chocolate company, and El Dorado Rum from Guyana.
This was no time for dancing, this was a night for serious food geekery. From Rococo Chocolates, we had the most exuberant and enthusiastic host, Sam. And from El Dorado Rum, the charming Dean. I have never met two people so in love with their jobs and delighted to share their knowledge. Who could blame them?
We began with a Rum Old Fashioned. I’ve only ever had whiskey old fashioneds before so this was an interesting change. What was lovely about this event was that it gave everyone the chance to really think about how taste, smell and texture can evoke memories and feelings. You tend to forget that in everyday life and never really stop to savour experiences. This was definitely a chance for me to slow down and think about what I am eating and drinking. I’ve never considered myself as having a sophisticated palate but as Sam reminded us, you only have to start by trying as many flavours as you can and seeing what you like.
The lovely Dean in action.
My favourite pairing was the Rococo 40% cocoa Sea Salt with the 12 year old El Dorado rum. The sea salt with hints of caramel was a perfect accompaniment to the honey and brown sugar flavours of this rum. I can see myself curled up on the couch with a glass in one hand and this bar in the other. The 12 year old was easily the most drinkable of the bunch and something that you very much let envelope around you. By the end of the evening I felt like I was encased in a warm, sweet rum hug.
Of course, if you fancy a more sophisticated evening I’d recommend moving onto the 15 year old with the 65% cocoa Orange Marmalade bar. I do love chocolate orange but I’m afraid this particular bar was overshadowed by some of its more ‘mature’ friends. The Cardamon Dark wowed everyone. If you prefer darker and less sweet chocolate, this is the one for you. Trust me, if you can get your hands on a bottle of El Dorado 25 and a couple of bars of Cardamon Dark, you will be romancing your way into anyone’s heart.
While the bars were amazing, the highlight of the evening for me was the final Rococo chocolate. Only available in their stores across London, it was from their fresh selection bursting with the sweetness of jam and the intense flavour of dark chocolate. Definitely pay a visit to one of their stores and buy at least a box of these to savour at home. You can find El Dorado rums at the Barrio bars across London and also at Odd Bins.
Barrio Soho are doing a variety of tastings so check out their twitter feed @BarrioBars for more information.