July 6th: Hotel Chocolat 72% Chilli & Orange

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Today im reviewing the first of four flavoured bars from current Chocolate Mission leading manufacturer Hotel Chocolat. I must once again express my thanks to Maxine who was kind of to send me the 'Peepster Box' which contained the four different flavoured slabs - today I sampled the Chilli & Orange flavour.

The Peepster Box includes 4 different flavoured offerings all of which are indivdually cellophane wapped. The presentation of the box is nice though I couldnt help but feel the plastic wrappers were a bit of a step down from the boxed presentation of the house slabs I had previously reviewed. The chocolate once again came in the famous Hotel Chocolat presentation of slabs...again no doubting their chicness but they seriously arent the most practical way of eating chocolate. This particular flavour came split into two 62.5g slabs - for reasons I will go into they wernt quite the fully satisfying offering of the house slabs but eaten individually they were still extremely fulfilling.

The Chilli & Orange flavour was contained within 72% dark chocolate. Opening the wrapper the strength of the chocolate was quite evident, the slabs had a strong cocoa aroma that smelt delicious....what was slightly puzzling was the lack of orange or chilli....if it was a blind test based on smell I wouldnt of said the bar was enhanced by any flavours.

Though slightly weaker in cocoa than the 85% bar the dark chocolate retained much of the richness of flavour. It wasnt quite as strong and the aftertaste was slightly weaker, though it retained a very similar deep but slightly sweet vanilla noted taste. The chocolate had an extremely smooth texture much like the 85% and literally melted on the tongue into a thick but silky syrup like form. The texture of the bar was further enhanced by the chilli element which added an interesting warmth to the aftertaste - the chilli didnt seem to add anything of note to the taste but it certainly provided an distinct aspect to the texture. Like many of the other chocolate orange bars I have reviewed the flavour of the orange in this offering was achieved using orange oil and not orange pieces. The orange flavour itself was suprisingly anonymous in this bar which initially suprised me...I thought that maybe the flavour would develop as I ate more of the bar but unfortunately this was not the case - I even double checked the wrapper to make sure I had picked the right slabs out the box...to be honest I was disappointed.

Overall its hard scoring this bar as although its a great tasting chocolate offering it just fails to deliver the flavour it promises. The dark chocolate is glorious in its own right but if your paying up to £3.50 for a particular flavour you expect it to really be quite evident...the orange flavour in this bar was hardly detectable. As I have said its hard criticising this bar as the dark chocolate although not quite as rich and flavoursome as the 85% was still divine and the chilli certainly added a nice warmth to the texture...unfortunately the lack of orange really held back the score of this bar. If your a fan of dark chocolate and chilli this will float your boat - but if your looking for a chocolate orange flavour hit theres genuinely better there...to be honest your better off buying a Terry's Chocolate Orange and still having £3.10 in your pocket. Delicious yet disappointing.

7.9 out of 10