Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hotel Chocolat Review

When teaandcake got offered some free Hotel Chocolat goodies to review, there was only ever going to be one answer to the question of ‘what would you like’. ANYTHING AT ALL as it all looks divine.

Here’s what the nice folks sent us.

Peepster Box – White Adventure

£14.50 for 4 bars

This multi-pack comes in luxurious packaging – thick, glossy cardboard with a neat silky cord carrying handle (the handle is very pretty, but we’re not sure it’s terribly recyclable). Each bar comes wrapped in a plasticy cellophane – a bit cheap looking but it does showcase the pretty swirls and top-quality finishing touches on the chocolate bars.

The first thing to say about Hotel Chocolat’s products is that the bars are shaped like small slices of toast, or ingots. They seem precious and at the same time happily domestic and informal. We like them.

You probably wouldn’t get something this well packaged just for personal consumption whilst Eastenders is on. It’s a gift pack from heaven for your favourite chocoholic.

Caramel Road

One solid, chunky bar – ½ caramel chocolate, ½ white chocolate. Caramel buttons, cinder toffee pieces and one little chunk of florantine.

What We Thought
Good chunks of caramel (not really like cinder toffee, but probably nicer overall) – they had just the right amount of resistance in the chewing texture

The caramelly chocolate was very nice – possibly one of our overall favourites of the day.

The white chocoalate was really nice – really creamy rather than sugary, and had a really nice texture as ir melted. It’s not too sweet for a white chocolate, very vanillar-y.

The caramel buttons nice, and the Florentine chunk was lovely (thought there was only one, making it look more decorative than deliberately part of the bar’s taste experience). We’d quite happily buy this one & take it home.

Strawberry Fusion
Two thinner slabs of chocolate – ½ white, ½ strawberry (real strawberries used in the flavouring).

What We Thought
The two halves of the bar are swirled together appealingly. It’s a very pretty effect. The strawberry half tastes like strawberry icecream or strawberry milkshake (a good quality strawberry icecream). It had a really good depth of strawberry flavour and a slightly grainier texture, due to the fruit used.

The white chocolate was as above – really lovely. The two halves complimented each other well.

Cookies Crème
One solid, thick bar of white chocolate. Generously peppered with small milk, dark and shortbread biscuit pieces.

What We Thought

First impression – it’s clearly inspired by Hersheys. That said, the chocolate is (as above) gorgeously smooth and creamy, with a good distribution of crunchy biscuitty bits. Lots of these escaped when the bar was broken into pieces, so this is one to probably eat over a plate, or you’d loose the cruncy spheres.

The textural combination is really great, but there is less of a flavour hit than the other bars – it’s your classic white chocolate with a different density. It’s more about ‘mouthfeel’ sensations than taste sensations.

Think a very high-class nestle’s crunch bar, or yorkie with biscuits, and you’re imagining this.

We might sound underimpressed, but it was our second favourite overall. It’s a classic combination done really well.

Classic White
Two thinner bars of white chocolate. No decorative touches, but patterened (looks a bit like it’s embossed with mini Union Jacks).

What We ThoughtReally tasty. As above, this is top quality white chocolate. It melts better for being a thinner bar. It’s smooth and luscious and unadulterated. there’s not much more to say.

If you like white chocolate, you’ll love this.

Our overall comments on the Hotel Chocolat Experience
We all agreed we couldn’t eat an entire bar (or even half a bar) in one sitting. Barry (a dark chocolate fan) found all chocolates in this pack too sweet - so you'll denfinately select to pick chocolates to suit your particular chocoholic.

All chocolates were quite rich – this is quality chocolate you have a bit of rather than pigging out on. You’d want it to last at this price – and it would. We thought that one bar would probably be about 4 portions.

This might be partly due to it being white chocolate, which feels sweeter and creamier than the bog standard milk chocolate we’re used to guzzling on the way home to stave off hunger cravings.

Our overall favourite was the caramel chocolate, but in fairness we happily sampled them all and what’s left will not be going to waste.

Thanks for the samples, Hotel Chocolat.

We’ll be drooling over the rest of your wares online and wondering what we should buy next. We were all left very curious as to what the rest of the Hotel Chocolat ranges tasted like, so you can count us as three customers who’ll be back soon.