In case you hadn’t noticed, here in the UK, the nights are drawing in, and yes, Christmas is looming large.
Of course, Christmas is a time for chocolate (although here at Chocablog every day is a day for chocolate) and for my first Christmas product review of 2010 I was given this – a Yule Log from Hotel Chocolat.
My first impression as that I had been given a solid lump of dark chocolate but closer inspection of the packaging revealed that this is in fact a ‘Melt-away Gianduja Praline’ bar. In other words, hazelnut paste blended with dark chocolate. Seasonal flavours come in the form of candied orange peel, cranberries and tangy Morello cherries (a personal favourite).
It’s an odd looking thing, made better (in my opinion at least) by removing the plastic wrapper and protective dome (the packaging really isn’t seasonal, although in fairness my ‘preview’ log had a best before date of November 2010). Once exposed, all that remains is to get hold of a good sharp knife and to have at it.
Contrary to my first impressions, this was not like the enormous dark chocolate heart I reviewed this Spring. No fragments of chocolate everywhere – this sliced like butter. Of course there’s a little resistance from the long strips of candied peel, but in the main it slices easily and neatly, making it very acceptable to offer up on a plate with some afternoon tea.
Flavour wise there’s a good balance of chocolate richness and fruity sharpness. The choice of peel, cranberries and cherries means there’s always a little citrus tang just around the corner to take the edge of the rich, dark gianduja. Were it not for the fruit, this could easily have been too much to take in any quantity, but the fact that the chocolate melts away and leaves tangy, zingy pieces of mouth-cleansing fruit makes this rather moreish.