One of the many tempting offerings from Hotel Chocolat this Easter, the Serious Dark Fix Egg is, as one might expect, aimed at those who prefer their cocoa content in the 70th percentile. The shells (extra thick as always) are HCs 72% dark chocolate blend, and unlike the egg I tried last year, there are only six different types of chocolates inside the egg, this time packaged in little black paper bags.
The outer packaging has moved on from last year as well – a luxurious looking black box with HCs cocoa pod graphic printed onto the cardboard in a raised, shiny covering, topped off with a highlighter green card band which details the contents. Inside the box, the egg is concealed by another piece of the same lurid green card, this time with a keyhole cutout. I’m not sure what the thinking behind this was – either it’s another piece of HC humour or maybe somebody in their packaging design department is still feeling a little kinky after designing the Secrets and Desires box. Anyway, I found it a little superfluous myself.
The egg itself is cast from deliciously smooth 72% chocolate, with notes of citrus giving way to a smooth, dark cocoa flavours. Any lover of dark chocolate should treat themselves to some of this – whether it’s in the form of an egg, a slab, or some of their chocolates. It really is a wonderful thing.
Among the six different chocolates contained within the bags, you will find a quintet of ‘nutty’ pralines and chocs, each of which is a mini masterpiece. There’s a Noisette praline which has been reinforced with extra cocoa solids, giving it an amazing melt-in-the-mouth feel, and a smoothness that’s hard to believe. The Délice de Chocolat has Sicilian pistachios and Italian hazelnuts blended in a praline filling, and delivers a complex flavour combination with the pistachios providing a superb top note over the smooth, buttery praline and crisp roasted hazelnut flavours. The Trois Noisettes is perhaps the simplest of the six – three hazelnuts bound together in caramel and coated in 70% dark chocolate, but the combination of crisp, tasty hazelnuts, dark cocoa and the burnt sugar taste of the caramel make it a surprisingly complex blend. A Gianduja which promises butter-soft texture and delivers just that, and a Badgi praline topped with a single Italian Hazelnut make up the quintet, which leaves the sixth, and perhaps the most interesting treat in the egg.
The Cocoa Pod Bunny and Easter Chick chocolates give you the opportunity to sample rare single estate cocoa from Papua New Guinea, and at 72%, these two chocs pack a lot of flavour. As you pop a piece into your mouth, the initial flavour of the melting chocolate is a much lighter citrussy note than the HC house blend, melting away into a delicate, bittersweet high note with an incredibly smooth mouth feel. The final taste is light, fresh, and fragrant. Quite different from the other chocolate use in the egg and its contents.
By now we all know that Hotel Chocolat have established themselves as purveyors of some of the finest cocoa-based products in the world. What they continue to do is to come up with new and interesting blends and flavours for us to enjoy. This egg in some ways reduces the number of options for teasing the palate with a variety of flavours. Where something like the Seasons Collection gives you a wide range of tastes, blends and looks for the product, this collection of deeply dark, delicious delights is centred round the cocoa itself, and so the chocolatiers have had to be somewhat more exact in their choices of complementary flavours. Of course, they’re equal to the challenge and have created some more stunning works of art for the lovers of all things dark to enjoy.