tiny little massive box of chocolates was a small part of the goody bag we received at the Hotel Chocolat Christmas launch back in July, but has only just gone on sale. It looks like there have been a couple of minor alterations to the final product, but nothing too extensive.
This 570g box contains 15 different kinds of chocolates (46 chocolates in all), and it’s my sworn duty to eat every one in order to give you a full and balanced opinion.
Dark Liquid Caramel
A small lightly salted caramel dome with a nice, thin liquid caramel. Not bad, but slightly too sweet for my liking. Not a patch on the handmade offerings of Paul A. Young or William Curley.
Rum Liquid Caramel
Similar to the salted caramel above, but with St. Lucian rum folded into the caramel. Again, not bad, but the sweetness of the caramel combined with the alcohol end up tasting a little too much like cough medicine to be great.
5 Second Chilli
A large dark chocolate square filled with soft praline and chilli. This is more interesting, but if anything suffers from the opposite problem from the rum caramel – a lack of dominant flavours means this chocolate is mainly about the texture and subtle heat. Interesting though, as I think this is the first time I’ve had praline and chilli together.
We’ve talked bout Hotel Chocolat Gianduja before. This time it’s covered in dark chocolate and rolled in brown sugar, makes it even better. Delicious.
Gin ‘n Tonic
This was probably the first time I’ve had a ganache with gin in it, and I liked it very much. The juniper flavours are very evident, without being overpowering. Didn’t taste much tonic though…
A dark chocolate ganache with Marc de Champagne. Subtle flavours and not too sweet or alcoholic make this one of the nicer Marc de Champagne truffles I’ve tried lately.
Saint Lucian Rum Ganache
I’m not the biggest fan of rum in chocolate, but this is done in quite a subtle way and I ended up enjoying it a lot. As with the other alcoholic chocolates in this collection, it’s never overpowering and more about the subtle flavours than the alcohol hit.
The same praline as the 5 Second Chilli chocolate above. Nice enough, but a little bland.
Single Malt Smoothie
A ganache made with single malt whiskey – apparently. It tastes more of tobacco and leather than whiskey though. It’s certainly interesting, but definitely not for me. Easily my least favourite of the collection.
A praline square topped with honey and almond florentine. That makes all the difference to this praline, adding both flavour and texture. I enjoyed this one.
Almond and Orange Crunch
A large square of solid dark chocolate with whole almonds and crystallised orange. Nice, but not really my thing. A little too many nuts for me.
Dark Chocolate Brownie
Another praline here, but this one has a little bit of a crunch to add interest to the texture. Again, nice, but not spectacular, and it doesn’t really compare to a real brownie!
Similar to the almond & orange crunch – a solid block of chocolate with whole nuts in it. Quality ingredients, but it’s not really my thing.
65% Dark Intense Praline
Made with cocoa from Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot Estate and Piedmont hazelnuts, this is a more interesting praline that the others. The chocolate is sweeter and fruitier and has much more depth than the standard dark praline. Very nice.
90% Extreme Praline
The final praline is another step up, going all the way to a 90% Hacienda Iara chocolate shell. This is particularly interesting when compared directly to the 65% version. It has a drier finish, and isn’t as sweet as the 65% praline, but the fruitiness is still there. Probably not a chocolate I’d want to eat a lot of, but there’s only two in this box, and it’s a great way to finish the collection.
And there you have it – a quality collection of dark chocolates, although I’m sure that not all of them will appeal to everyone. But with a box this size, you’re never going to eat it alone, so there should be something for everyone here.