I’ve recently been the fortunate recipient of a number of products to sample from Hotel Chocolat, which is one of my favourite brands. Regular readers will remember I was very pleased when they finally opened a store in Cardiff – an event which was long overdue in my mind (a small section in John Lewis just didn’t cut it for me!)
I’m still working my way through a few of the only slightly weird but very wonderful delights in the ‘Cuisine’ range, which will be the subject of a future post, but in the meantime I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a couple of their more ‘traditional’ chocolate products.
Firstly, inspired by the season as the name would suggest, the ‘Summer Fusions’ selection contained five lovely bars of fine chocolate, most of them milk and white stripes, each one infused with a pairing of flavours. The selection included Mint and Chilli (this one was dark chocolate throughout), Banana and Caramel, Raspberry and Pomegranate, Earl Grey and Lemon and Orange and Elderflower. They were all beautifully described on the packaging – for example, my favourite, Earl Grey and Lemon, was tantalisingly explained as “Summery stripes of mellow Earl Grey milk chocolate and creamy white lemon chocolate”. All apart from the Mint and Chilli had one flavour in the milk chocolate and one in the white, so there weren’t too many flavour combinations going on in one mouthful, unless of course you wanted them to be (or you have a very big mouth – no comments, please).
I’m normally a bit sceptical about whether fruit and chocolate are a match made in heaven (chocolate dipped strawberries, for example, leave me cold) but once again Hotel Chocolat have got it right and the flavours all complement each other well. I loved all of the bars, although I’m not convinced Mint and Chilli really belonged in the Summer Fusions selection, despite it being very nice! The bars looked beautiful as well, so would make a lovely present for an adventurous chocolate lover.
My second sample was inspired by the recent Royal birth (I know, I hadn’t noticed there’d been one either!) and was Hotel Chocolat’s ‘New Arrival’ selection. This featured twelve of their individual chocolates (two each of six flavours to avoid arguments between new Mum and new Dad, no doubt) in a presentation box. Now, I love chocolate, but what I really love is chocolates – individual, luxurious mouthfuls of loveliness, so this was a winner for me, although I found the selection of six a bit odd. Raspberry panacotta and Billionaire’s shortbread were typically quirky Hotel Chocolat specials, and I loved both of them, but the other four were a bit samey – white and milk truffles and white and dark pralines. I’d have probably preferred a bit more variety.
As ever, though, it’s the thought that counts, and if I’d had a new arrival, Royal or otherwise, I’d be more than happy with some Hotel Chocolat as a gift.
Thank you to Hotal Chocolat for my samples.