Like it or not, Christmas will soon be upon us. Time to start looking at what special treats are available for chocolate lovers, starting with this rather lovely looking selection from Hotel Chocolat.
The Signature Christmas Collection is Hotel Chocolat’s “grandest selection of exceptional Christmas chocolates”. Nineteen (yes, I’m afraid there’s at least one argument in there!) very festive looking, seasonally themed chocolates which are (as one might expect) in turn boozy, spicy, fruity and indulgent.
The majority of the chocolates are duplicated but there are three that only appear once, including the ‘centrepiece’ which is a Praline Pistachio Crunch. I’m happy to report that it tastes as good (if not better) than it looks. The addition of cherry pieces and a hint of rose to the praline really does take this up to the next level. Creamy, rich praline which exudes light, sweet fruit and rose flavours, sat in a rich milk chocolate cup. It’s a bit like the best Turkish delight you’ve ever had, only better.
Also worth a mention is the Christmas Mess (Dark). Ordinarily a Cranberry Ganache with Strawberry Mousse wouldn’t really arouse my interest but the balance of flavours between the sweet strawberry and sharper Cranberry is superb, and putting the whole thing into a (surprisingly deep) dark chocolate cup makes the whole taste experience very grown up and very enjoyable.
The other two ‘single’ chocolates are a Hacienda Iara Dark Salted Caramel (get in there quick!) and a 63% Milk Ganache. The rest of the box contains some very imaginative combinations which make great use of ‘Christmassy’ flavours. Ports, marzipans, spices and fruits are all used to great effect. The only chocolate I had any sort of problem with was the Nutmeg & Almond Praline. The filling seemed to be somewhat at odds with the chocolate, but I am not a fan of nutmeg at the best of times so that is obviously just a personal thing.
It’s also worth noting that these are not small chocolates. The two star shaped chocolates are particularly impressive but none of them could be described as a ‘quick mouthful’. They’re designed to be enjoyed slowly and savoured, like all premium chocolate.
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone looking for something seasonal and indulgent. It might not be the cheapest box of chocolates you’ll find but I believe it represents good value considering the quality of the ingredients (and the size of each piece!). I wouldn’t expect the box to last too long though!