September 22nd: Hotel Chocolat Milk 52% Vanilla & Cocoa Nibs

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

My exploration of the 'Purist Range' continued this week with me sampling the 'Milk 52% with Vanilla & Cocoa Nibs'. The pack informed me that this bar combined a 'unique fresh tasting milk chocolate with less sugar, more cocoa and sufficient milkiness'. The bar was farmed from the Menavava Plantation in Madagascar and contained added vanilla pod and cocoa nibs in its ingredients.

If you have been reading my reviews from this 'Purist Range' you will know that the presentation is absolutely incredible. Once again this bar contained interesting on-pack blurb about how the product was produced from bean to bar ... some may find it pretentious but personally I find it all quite interesting - its nice knowing where your chocolate comes from. I'm not to sure this type of approach would go down to well on some Nestle bars ... lol ok lets leave that issue well alone. Contained within the inner foil packet, the slab had a nice smell, it smelt very dairy based with a undertone of vanilla. It was unspectacular but pretty appetising nonetheless. 

Tastewise this was one of the milkier tasting Hotel Chocolat products I have tried. Despite the far heavier weighting of ingredients on the cocoa solids (52% cocoa solids & 22% milk solids), the taste was remarkably light and clean in comparison to many Hotel Chocolat products like the '52% Himalayan Salt/Caramel' and less surprisingly the '72% Dark'. The taste was more milky that I would say cream like, and this was true of it's texture aswell. The melt was typically super smooth and well paced but was less viscous than other Hotel Chocolat offerings. Though the thinner density wasn't entirely preferable, the added crunch factor from the cocoa nibs was pleasant and brought an extra dimension to the bar in this regard. The cocoa nibs also added an extra chocolaty burst when chewed, though the overriding aftertaste of the bar was an overarching milky flavour that had the slightest of vanilla notes. The lightness of the taste meant this wasn't the richest of chocolates - I easily ate the 75g over one sitting.

Overall this was one of the more subtly flavoured bars I have tried from Hotel Chocolat. The dominant milky flavour was a kind pleasant one, that although wasn't the most fulfilling, was still of a very high quality and very moreish. The added vanilla and cocoa nib elements had fairly minor roles in regards of being flavour incremental, though they were still very much detectable, just less flavour enhancing than say the 'Caramel/Himalayan Salt' and 'Orange & Chilli' ingredients in those bars. Some readers have said to me they find the intensity of flavour concentration in some Hotel Chocolat slabs too much - to be honest this offering seems to cover all bases for those people. For a light, clean and crisp milk chocolate I would really say this is a good choice; its not the most characteristic of chocolates from the Hotel Chocolat range, but yet another tasty offering.

8.4 out of 10