Slab time again!
This 500g beauty from Hotel Chocolat is made with 40% cocoa solids milk chocolate, hazelnuts (8%), sultanas (5%) and cranberries (2%). That may not seem like a lot of fruit and nuts, but hazelnuts and cranberries don’t actually weigh that much, so you get a good helping in terms of numbers.
As per usual with Hotel Chocolat slabs, I knew 500g was going to be way too much for me, so after taking these photos, this particular slab came with me to be shared out at a bank holiday barbecue.
When you open the packaging (note to self: open from the bottom next time… where it tells you to!), the first thing you notice is the rich chocolatey aroma. As with all Hotel Chocolat products, this looks and feels like real chocolate.
It is not a toy and should not be treated as such.
For a simple fruit and nut slab, the design is quite spectacular close-up. Small pieces of brightly coloured fruit and nuts peak enticingly through the milk chocolate. I imagine this is done simply by sprinkling the fruit and nuts into a mould before pouring the chocolate on top. Such a simple thing, but to be able to see the actual fruit makes a huge difference. So much nicer than burying it deep inside the chocolate.
And of course, it tastes as good as it looks. I’m not a huge fan of fruit & nut (I’m more fruity than nutty), but my friends at the barbecue clearly were. Sat round the table, chatting in the sunshine, the pack got passed around, small chunks got broken off and the bulk of it soon disappeared.
I think most people were more impressed by the size and presentation of the slab than the product itself. After the initial ‘wow’ factor, it was devoured with little comment. But there was certainly no negative feedback from anyone. The chocolate was smooth and delicious, the nuts were suitably crunchy and the fruit suitably fruity.
Interestingly, Hotel Chocolat also do a 74% dark chocolate version of this particular slab. The purists might prefer that, but I’m quite sure the riff-raff I hang out with at barbecues will be quite happy sticking with the milk chocolate version.