September 8th: Hotel Chocolat Milk 52% Salt & Caramel

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

Having polished off Hotel Chocolat's full 'Peepster Box' range , the guys from the HC marketing team were kind enough to send me this 'The Purist Library' collection box.

The collection includes seven single origin variants - todays cocoa bean originating from the Uba Budo Plantation which is in the Agua Grande region of the island nation of Sao Tome; for those that aren't aware ... (lol me included!) this is an island in the Gulf of Guinea off Africa. Todays bar was formed using cocoa beans from this island and had added 'Himalayan Salt & Caramel' ingredients.

Each of the bars come in a 75g serving, as you can probably tell from the above paragraphs the packaging contained a fair amount of blurb. Despite the on-pack information nearly verging on pretentious I must admit it was stunningly presented. The bar came in an outer cardboard sleeve packaging that looked the definition of sleek. As I have said the on-pack information was borderline over-the-top but for those interested it was both informative and appetite whetting. Inside the cardboard box was a bar/slab that was kept amazingly fresh in a foil package. Opening the foil package I could detect an instant cocoa aroma release itself, the strength of the smell was not only enticing but indicated the incredible freshness of the product.

The bar was very easy to split, the thickness of the product was near perfect. The texture of the chocolate was incredibly soft, just handling the bar left firm thumbprints on the service which should give you an indication at the ease of its melt. On the tongue it felt amazingly smooth, this was a chocolate that under no circumstances would need or ever should be chewed.

The initial taste of the bar was quite an concentrated cocoa flavour; its taste was extremely fresh and was not overly dominant or intense. As the melt progressed so did the flavour and the caramel became increasingly
evident as the chocolate started to liquidify. The caramel element was not sweet like most mass confection caramels, but rather provided a more bitter honey flavour, one I would almost describe as burnt sugar - rather creme brulee esc. Occasionally some pieces would release a fantastic subtle salty note that was fantastically balanced with the caramel flavour, giving it a very moreish and refreshing taste. Despite the bar being very full flavoured in it's duration in the mouth, I found the aftertaste slightly underwhelming in that it just didn't last very long, this meant I actually consumed this bar rather sharpish as I was increasingly wanting the delicious flavour hit it provided. This was probably the fastest I have ever eaten 75g of chocolate.

Overall after battling my way through the reams of information the packaging was shouting at me (I loved it really!!), there was really quite a great tasting bar of chocolate. Despite my moaning, the packaging looked fantastic - theres no two ways about it - presentation top notch! As I have said the taste wasn't half bad either ;) It had a deliciously balanced taste; the chocolate was full flavoured but did not overshadow the caramel undertone. The additional salty lick made the bar all the moreish, which was partially unfortunate due to the shortness of the longevity of the taste. If this combination sounds like a proposition you would like, then its a pretty safe bet this is a bar you will immensely enjoy. Me...!?... Reccomending a Hotel Chocolat product!?... Never :)

8.6 out of 10