When I opened the package and saw this box of chocolates, I realised that Hotel Chocolat don’t just employ master chocolatiers – they also have some pretty talented packaging designers.
This box is a masterpiece of classic (and classy) design. From the subtle floral detailing on the box and the weight of the board used, to the beautifully illustrated menu and the intricacy of the packaging, this selection just oozes class. The Seasons Collection is created because “twice a year (Hotel Chocolat) challenge their chocolatiers to create new flavours to reflect the feel of that part of the year”.
I was tempted to shoot half a dozen photos of the box and leave it at that, but when I began tasting some of the fifteen chocolates offered here, I knew I had to write more.
As usual Hotel Chocolat’s cunning chocolatiers have managed to come up with some quite remarkable creations, including;
Pave de Montelimar
In which Pistachios, almonds and sour cherry pieces sit in a bed of white chocolate, each releasing their distinctive flavours onto the palate as the dark chocolate base joins in to give a superb bittersweet, mouthwatering finish.
Somewhat thicker than it appears on the menu and a first for me. A soft rhubarb/white chocolate combination in which the tartness of the rhubarb cuts the sweetness of the white chocolate in a stunning partnership. Beautifully balanced tart/sweet flavours dance over the tongue as you allow it to melt away.
This time redcurrants are used to balance the sweetness of a white chocolate shell, held in a milk chocolate ganache of unbelievable lightness.
Strawberries & Cream
More white chocolate, but enclosing a ganache bursting with natural strawberry. A real taste of summer.
More chocolate alchemy. Melon with a slight alcoholic kick, swathed in delicious milk chocolate. Wonderful fruit flavours given an unusual and subtly blended alcohol twist.
Fruit & Nut
Cadbury never made anything like this combination of HC’s wonderfully plump sultanas, mixed with puffed rice and bound in a hazelnut praline. The final mouthful of juicy, fruity sultanas is a delight to the tastebuds.
.. and that’s less than half of what’s on offer in this truly remarkable box. There’s more blackcurrant truffles (something HC do so well) and a couple of mini slabs, one of which contains a warming dash of essential oil of ginger.
I loved the packaging before I tasted the chocolates, and it would have been a terrible disappointment to discover anything other than a fabulous selection of unusual flavours and ‘remakes’ of classic tastes, but of course this is Hotel Chocolat, and once again they have proven themselves to be innovative, daring and totally upmarket. This is a box that rocks, and if you love your chocs (or want to seriously impress someone) then I have no hesitation in recommending this to you. It is a triumph of both design and content.