Hotel Chocolat review
America does a lot of things really well. Constructing tall buildings. Eating to excess. Rewriting history through the use of creative script writing in films. One area they fall down in, however, is making chocolate.
For all of their Babe Ruth chocolate bars and Hershee Kisses which occasionally find their way over to our shores, the quality of chocolate always seems to be lower than what we have in the UK. Cadbury seem to have the monopoly, with the likes of Nestlé and Mars not too far behind, and all of whom produce decent quality chocolate, and have done for decades.
But in 1993 a new player stepped into the market. Hotel Chocolat started making chocolate 21 years ago and haven’t looked back, and are now looking to become a new type of chocolate powerhouse in the UK. Ten years after starting to make chocolate, they opened their first UK store and now have over seventy stores to their name, as well as an ever growing reputation for chocolate excellence.
Where Cadbury et al serve to cater for the masses, with their confectionary spilling forth from every other shelf in supermarkets and newsagents, Hotel Chocolat promote a more premium offering. A night at the Ritz on the Strand compared to Cadbury’s overnight stay at a Travelodge ten miles from anywhere interesting, or a supermodel with flawless features compared to the perfectly nice but nowhere near as good Nestlé’s cover star of Zoo or Nuts. You get the idea. Hotel Chocolat spotted a gap in the market, and have filled it superbly, offering premium chocolate to confectionary connoisseurs. And I was lucky enough to be given a selection of goodies so that I could write a Hotel Chocolat review.
I don’t often do sponsored posts on here, primarily because there’s little in the way they grabs my interest. From promises of cash for full articles on the blog, to offers to try things that are really of no interest to me, I tend to stick with either sponsored post approaches from companies that I actively use and enjoy, or from companies whose products pique my interest. I only say this now to add some veritas to this post. Oh, and if Costa or Starbucks read this, I’m a big fan, get in touch!
Being the smooth talking sod that I am, I figured it’d be perfect to share with the girlfriend. Nothing says I love you like free chocolate, right? Armed with the chocolates, and sharing the knowledge that I’d be blogging about them (so no cracking open the soft caramel chocolate and licking the filling from various body parts, no no no), we opened the box and took in the gorgeous scent of the chocolate.
It smelt good, the cocoa scent filling our nostrils. But unfortunately I don’t subscribe to the theory that part of the enjoyment of food is in the smell. If that was true, no one would ever eat certain cheeses. Therefore I made the decision to dig straight in. My eyes scanned the content sheet, my brain whirred into pre-chocolate mode (ie, ignoring everything else) and I picked my first chocolate.
Getting back to the point, I chose the Sleekster Valentine Selection. The Balsamic Caramel was described as a gooey caramel with merest hint of Balsamic. I’m not a fan of anything Balsamic, and I really didn’t think that this would be a great combination, but I bit into it and it was lovely. The merest hint of balsamic drowned out by the sweet Caramel. As a self confessed sweet tooth, I’d argue that the same recipe without the Balsamic would have worked as well, but this was still a very good start.
One thing I did notice as I worked my way through the chocolates was that each chocolate was crisp when bitten in to, supplying a wonderful crunch sound as the outer shell snapped under my teeth.
The girlfriend made her first choice, the Pink champagne truffle. Immediately declaring it a hit, she described it as tasting of strawberry and champagne, pretty much as you would expect. She also admitted that she could eat several of those, which given that there was two of each chocolate in the box, I feel was merely a ploy to get my one, but also a sign that the chocolates were a winner already.
We worked our way through the chocolates over the course of a few days. My favourite by far was the
triple layer praline, which smelt delicious and very nutty. It also looked amazing, and though it was very rich, the layers complemented each other amazingly well.
My least favourite was the Chilli ginger and almond praline, which I thought was a little bland, and my immediate note was that the chilli couldn’t be tasted. A minute or two later though and the heat hit me, which certainly improved the taste, but not enough to make me want another.
The girlfriend said that the Creamy raspberry truffle was her favourite - A white chocolate with a really, really fruity centre. When pressed for her worst chocolate, she skillfully dodged the question and declared that she would have to try the few chocolates that were left before deciding, having been far less greedy than myself as I’d taken it as a mission to ensure my half were eaten.
With a total of 28 chocolates in each box, you get two of each of the following: Passion Fruit Truffles, Strawberry & Rose Truffles, Triple-Layer Pralines, Salted Caramel Cheesecakes, Balsamic Caramels, Pink Champagne Truffles, Lemon Berry Tarts, Caramel Pralines, Soft Caramels, Champagne Bellini, Chilli, Ginger & Almond Pralines and Creamy Raspberry Truffles.
Priced at £24.00 the chocolates are available online or in the Hotel Chocolat stores, and whilst there’s nothing wrong with giving a box of Roses for Valentines Day, it’s a little clichéd. Trust me when I say that the love of your life will appreciate a little more time and thought spent on buying something like this, and there’s unlikely to be any left over in the box!
You can follow Hotel Chocolat on Twitter.
You can follow Hotel Chocolat on Facebook.
You can visit the official Hotel Chocolat website.
These are the chocolates reviewed in this post: Hotel Chocolat Sleekster Valentine Selection chocolates.
Disclaimer: These chocolates were provided free of charge for me to review on the blog. All opinions expressed here are true and honest, and all words are my own. My thanks to everyone at Hotel Chocolat.