“Save the best for last” they say, so I did.
My final Easter Egg review for this year also happens to be the one I saw and thought to my self “Oooh, I rather fancy one of those” when we were invited down to preview the Hotel Chocolat Easter range. Well lucky old me, I was right!
This is an egg of two distinct halves, because true to for Hotel Chocolat have decided to showcase two different types of cacao here. Side one is a 66% cacao Madagascan Sambirano Valley chocolate, and side two is a darker, beefier, 82% cacao Ecuadorian Hacienda Iara chocolate – a longstanding Hotel Chocolat favourite. Nestled inside these two (as ever remarkably thick and sturdy) shells you will find a selection of dark chocolate egglets (at last!) in four flavours.
Two of the egglets are cast from the same 66% Sambirano chocolate as the egg, while the other two are a Hacienda Iara (again, same as the shell) and a ‘wild card’ egglet made from 70% Venezuela Chuao dark chocolate and filled with a Pecan praline. I say ‘wild card’ because there’s a little note on the menu explaining that it’s a last minute replacement for a Gran Couva Praline.
If you’ve never had a Hotel Chocolat egg before, you may be surprised by the shells. They’re thick. Very thick. Actually breaking a piece off to taste is a bit of a challenge but ultimately very rewarding of course!
First taste was the Hacienda Iara shell. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten any of this cacao and with a cacao content of 82% I was anticipating big flavours. The surprising thing is how light on the palate the chocolate is. It has a delicate, soft mouth feel and a lot of acidity but it never cloys or becomes overpowering. There are subtle floral notes and the finish is long and light, making it dangerously moreish.
By comparison the Sambirano shell has a much fruitier, more floral taste which is almost bursting with fruity, cherry-like notes. It’s totally different but equally wonderful, showcasing just how good this Madagascan cacao can be – so much so that I found myself going back for a little more, then a little more (while making appreciative noises of course!).
It’s a similar story with the egglets. The Sambirano one bursts with light, floral fruity cacao flavours which if anything are more pronounced due to the filling being made from Trinitario & Criollo beans while the chilli egglet teases you with more of that fruitiness before the Habanero chilli spiciness sneaks up and sets your mouth tingling. Be warned – this is not a half-cocked chilli truffle!
The Chuao Pecan Praline egglet was another stunner. A couple of years ago everyone was jumping up and down with excitement about this Venezuelan cacao, and this serves as a timely reminder of just how good this cacao really is. The Hacienda Iara Egglet is further confirmation of how good THOSE flavours are.
It’s not often I say this, but there really isn’t anything disappointing about any of the elements here. It’s an extremely well presented package which does exactly what it sets out to do, showcasing some of the world’s best cacao. It’s unfussy, elegant and oozes understated class, and I liked it so much that I really would be happy to eat one of these every month.
Yes, it’s not cheap at £30.00, but I’m pretty sure you’d be hard pressed to find another egg which offers as much in terms of taste & quality. A winner in anybody’s book.