For the last two weeks I have been sampling various parts of the Hotel Chocolat Christmas range, mostly in the form of some of their smaller offerings (Kissing Mistletoe / Little Angels etc!). Well included in my Christmas sampling package was this 'Cool Yule' 500.0g slab - which took the form of 'a background swirl of 30% and 40% milk chocolate, pressed with a white chocolate snowman and sugar snowflakes'.
This 500.0g slab took me well over a week of constant nibbling (and some sharing!!) to completely finish. The presentation was fantastic, the slab came in a nice looking paper, plastic wrapper that although wasn't the most protective type of packaging still did a relatively good job, and even included a handy resealable flap. As you can see above the slab also looked superb. The swirl effect of the chocolate and the white studded snowflake pieces gave the background an interesting look, whilst the snowman was crafted with a great amount of detail. The slab smelt very enticing with some very familiar Hotel Chocolat dairy, cocoa smells all very evident and forthcoming. What was more impressive was that the smell was still just as strong when opening the packet on the fourth day of nibbling away - it was very impressive how it kept such a fresh appeal.
Obviously with the slab being so large, different parts of the slab offered varying tastes. Apart from having a slightly milkier taste I couldn't detect too much of a difference between the 30% milk chocolate and the 40%. Both had wonderfully creamy, heavily cocoa rooted tastes that were very enjoyable and devilishly moreish. The white chocolate snowman was a splendid addition, I must admit I was sad enough to break off all the chocolate around it before devouring it. As the snowman was printed onto the milk chocolate background, I largely ate the white chocolate in tandem with the base. The white chocolate gave the milk chocolate an even creamier context and noted the aftertaste with a nice vanilla element - it brought back some good memories of the Milk & White Fusion slab. Another little touch I really enjoyed was that the snowman's scarf had an additional cherry flavouring added to it. The fruity flavour addition was mild, though it gave the slab a little something extra. I enjoyed this slab immensely, however there was one element I think could do with some revision. As I mentioned above the milk chocolate was studded with some white sugary pieces (to give the snowfall effect!!). Personally I would rather these had been left out, as in my opinion they broke up the smoothness of the chocolate and the extra sugar burst they released I felt wasn't all that necessary. I must reiterate this was only the most minor of observations, and it didn't affect my overall high satisfaction with the product whatsoever.
Overall this was a typical high standard, highly enjoyable Hotel Chocolat product that I enjoyed immensely. This was the first Hotel Chocolat product I have had to consume over more than a few days, and I was quite simply amazed at how fresh the bar kept over the course of a week. The slab maintained all its creamy, cocoa rich flavours, which were delivered with some wonderfully thick, but smooth melt in the mouth textures. Personally I would prefer a few mini slabs like in the Peepster Boxs, rather than a huge 500.0g one, as there is potential for more variety. Despite this, there is no doubting that this is one high quality product that is ideal for gifting this Christmas.
8.7 out of 10