Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Selection

Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Selection

With Easter rapidly approaching it’s probably a good time to give you a quick review of some of Hotel Chocolat’s Easter Eggs. I was sent as small selection to try, and for a change I found myself getting involved with the sweeter end of their 2014 Easter Collection.

Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Selection

First up is a box of four ‘Goose Eggs’ – three of which are made from Hotel Chocolat’s high cacao white chocolate (one flavoured with strawberry) and the fourth is made from their Caramel Chocolate (which seems to be getting into a lot of this year’s Easter Eggs).

Not being the greatest fan of either white chocolate or strawberry I confess I had a few problems getting into these, but as ever I had a selection of brave volunteers who were willing to endure a few mouthfuls on my behalf, and while a hardened dark chocolate fan like myself might not go for these, they don’t fail to deliver what they promise. If you’re going to eat white chocolate you may as well go for something ‘proper’, and these eggs do have a lot of flavour (as well as the inevitable sweetness). The caramel chocolate egg has that added richness to it but the size of the eggs means that you’re never going to overindulge.

The eggs themselves are very pretty. The scattering of vanilla seeds on the surface of the eggs gives them an interesting look, and this season’s choice of pastel shades works really well with the colour scheme of the packaging.

Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Selection

The Facet Egg on the other hand is an altogether more grown up affair. Cast from Hotel Chocolat’s house blend 70% dark chocolate, the designers have had a bit of fun creating a very modern looking egg. The box itself is a clever design, but the egg looks almost too pretty to smash. (I did say ‘almost’). The chocolate is the good old reliable 70%, so there’s no surprises there.

Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Selection

Finally we have something a little more lighthearted – a ‘Splat!’ egg. Hotel CHocolat would like us to believe that there’s been an ‘eggsplosion’ in their factory, and as you can see this means that an otherwise plain Caramel Milk Chocolate Egg has been hit with a large blob of pale yellow Vanilla white chocolate. What’s surprising here is that the White Chocolate has 3% more cacao than the Caramel Milk chocolate!

Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Selection

Now I’m not sure a hollow egg is the best idea for a ‘main’ egg (I remember being quite disappointed by hollow eggs as a child, but I was always a bit of a greedy guts) but if you sit these alongside most companies’ hollow egg offerings the 2014 Hotel Chocolat range knocks spots (or should that be splats?) off the opposition. For a start, they’re very attractive. The choice of pastel colours has a ‘brand new retro’ feel, and the quality of the chocolate is still way above most of what you’ll find on supermarket shelves, so if you’re contemplating an Easter Egg hunt of your own this week, why not pop into one of Hotel Chocolat’s numerous High Street stores and have a look at these for yourself?

Alternatively, there’s still time to pick up a last minute gift online (link below), with last orders at 6pm on April 17th.

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The Chocolate Festival Easter 2014

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This weekend saw Yael Rose’s Chocolate Festival return to London for its annual Easter outing, and for the first time the event moved indoors. Islington’s Business Design Centre hosted a very different festival that was small, but busy.

If you couldn’t make it along, here’s a few photos to give you a taste. Click on a photo to enlarge it, and use the arrow keys to navigate between pictures.

Rococo Bird Of Paradise Eggs

Rococo Bird Of Paradise Eggs

Time for some more Easter chocolate treats, this time from Rococo Chocolates. Rococo have always been good at “small and quirky” seasonal gifts, and this box of treats is no exception.

Contained within an old fashioned style egg box are 12 mini eggs, each filled with flavoured caramel.

Rococo Bird Of Paradise Eggs

There are three flavours in all; Kalamansi Lime, Passion Fruit & Rosemary and Mandarin & Tonka Bean.

Rococo Bird Of Paradise Eggs

Rococo’s Head Chocolatier, Barry Johnson has become known for these zingy flavoured caramels since taking on the role a couple of years ago. They’re a firm favourite of mine, both for their flavour and texture. I particularly love the kalamansi but they are all fantastic.

The Kalamansi caramel is deliciously citrus, while the Mandarin & Tonka is more subtle, but with a gentle warmin effect from the tonka bean. The Passing Fruit & Rosemary falls somewhere between the two with a gentle fruitiness with a twist of a hint of rosemary.

Rococo Bird Of Paradise Eggs

But perhaps one of the best things about this little box is that each egg is actually two distinct chocolates. That means that this little box actually contains 24 top quality chocolates – it’s not just a quality alternative to a traditional Easter Egg, but it’s one of those rare Easter chocolates where you actually get more than you might think inside the box.

£25 might seem expensive for what is quite a small box. But this is really one of those cases where you’re paying for quality chocolate rather than packaging. They make an understated Easter gift that’s packed with flavour – something much more special than a simple hollow egg.

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The Cake & Bake Show Manchester 2014

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I’ve been to the London Cake & Bake Show a couple of times now, and while I enjoyed the show, the Earl’s Court venue isn’t my favourite.

The show happens twice a year, with the second event held at Manchester Central, and I’d heard that the bright and airy former railway station made a great venue. So when Neff Appliances offered to pay for my train ticket if I could come to their Bake it Yourself event, I jumped at the chance. Even if it did mean a 5am start!

I arrived at the venue at 10am, just in time for the event. Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite was leading the proceedings, demonstrating Neff’s “Slide & Hide” ovens.

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Now I’m not much of a baker, but I do like my gadgets, and these ovens are really quite cool. When opened, the oven door slides fully inside the oven, but the clever part is that the oven somehow manages to maintain the temperature it has been set at, even when fully opened. I’m not entirely sure how this works – we were told it was something to do with airflow, but I’m pretty sure it was magic.

Suffice to say I want one.

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After being forced to eat cupcakes and drink tea (it’s a hard life), it was time to take a look around the show. Lucky for me, it didn’t open to the public until 11am, so I had some time to go around and take some photos before the crowds came in.

The theme for this year’s show was “Welcome To The Jungle” and there were plenty of jungle themed cakes on display.

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I’m not hugely in to sugarcraft myself (I like cake I can eat rather than just look at!), but there’s no denying that some of the creations were spectacular. There were gorillas, lions, monkeys, snakes, and even dragons lovingly crafted from sugar.

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As the crowds came in, I went in search of chocolate. Although not strictly a chocolate show, I wasn’t disappointed. Paul A Young, The Chocolatier and Fiona Sciolti were all there, along with several other chocolate sellers that were new to me.

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My most intriguing find was probably Sugar 245’s artisan marhsmallows – specifically a little creation made with squid ink and Dandelion Chocolate. Needless to say I bought some, although I’ve not actually tried it yet. Expect a review soon!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot more savoury baked goods on display than I remember from the London show too. There was plenty of bread, a liberal sprinkling of pies and a generous helping of sausage rolls and bacon baps to be tried. It could be my imagination, but there seemed to be more of an emphasis on baking and a little less on the sugar craft and decorating, which for me makes it a much better experience.

Finally, a word about the venue. Manchester Central is a joy compared to Earl’s Court. Its massively high ceiling, natural daylight and rectangular layout make for a great experience. It’s not the biggest venue in the world, but The Cake & Bake Show filled the space perfectly. I will be back!

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