March 23rd: Hotel Chocolat Rocky Road To Caramellow

As you can see I have let the pictures doing the talking a bit for this review. Wrapping up my Hotel Chocolat Easter 2009 reviews I today bring you the Hotel Chocolat Rocky Road To Caramellow; a product formed of a thick shelled halved egg and a selection of different filling chocolates. As you may have gathered from the name of the product half the egg had a 'Rocky Road' theme, whilst the other was formed of Hotel Chocolat Caramellow chocolate.

In regards to presentation everything was presented beautifully - I hope my pictures have done it all the justice it deserves. The whole product came in a lovely black box that had some subtle patterns printed into the surface. In the box the two egg halves were sealed within branded foil wraps that kept both freshness and appearance to a great standard throughout the week or so it took me to consume. Sitting inside the egg halves were two additional foil packets that contained the selection chocolates. I will let you judge for yourselves how appetising the pieces looked, but to me I thought it all looked wonderful.

Extra Thick Egg Halves:

As I have mentioned above the two egg halves had Rocky Road and Caramellow themes.

The Rocky Road half was formed of milk chocolate with white chocolate chunks, rice crispies and cookie pieces. Out of the two halves this one looked the best, though I must say just like the Rocky Road slab it looked a little better than it actually tasted. The milk chocolate was still absolutely divine - the 40% recipe never fails to deliver a creamy but full on chocolaty taste. The ever so slight disappointment came in the additional pieces that really just failed to deliver the excitement in the taste that there appearance suggested. The small cookie and rice crispies added a degree of interest to the texture, though couldn't really influence the cream based milk chocolate to any significant degree. Much like I concluded with the slab, the Rocky Road is an exciting looking chocolate but could just do with having more of a distinct impact flavourwise. Good.

The Caramellow slab sits at number in the ChocolateMission leader board - yet again it didn't fail to impress. This half of the egg was formed of two layers of chocolate with the inner layer formed of the 40% recipe, and the outer layer caramel chocolate. The exterior layer retained the same creamy taste as the 40% though had a strong toffee edge to its cocoa flavours. It had elements of honey, salt and butter that made for a truly magnificent, moreish taste. Despite the sweetness it was a wonderfully balanced taste, which combined with the thick melt made for a truly luxurious, satisfying chocolate. Superb.

As if all this wasn't brilliant enough ... as aforementioned contained within these egg halves were some stunning selection chocolates! Below are my brief thoughts on each:

Easter Chick:
This was one of the more puzzling inclusions for me as it was formed of Caramel Chocolate ... just like the Caramellow half of the egg. What more can I say about Hotel Chocolat's Caramel Chocolate? Wonderfully creamy with a strong toffee flavour edge. Superb.

Pod Bunny:

I thought I would get the two 'boring' pieces out the way :) This piece was simply 40% milk chocolate. I would have preferred another double up of one of the other more unique pieces in the selection, but still who's complaining!? A creamy, strong yet delicately flavoured milk chocolate. Very Good.

Pecan Praline:

This was one of my favourite pieces in the selection. Placed on top of the outer milk chocolate was a nice biscuit piece, though sitting below was were the real treat was. Sitting under a very thin wafer layer was a truly wonderful pecan like butter truffle. Despite the praline name the filling was lighter and more buttery than it was nut based. The taste was long and very lasting. Superb.

Fruit & Nut:
I noticed that this chocolate had a slight greasy feel when I handled it. Indeed the dark chocolate was a little fast in its melt, though what lay below truly made up for this. As you can see above the filling constituted of a peanut butter like filling that encapsulated the word dreamy in every sense. Unfortunately I couldn't quite tell where the fruit element was supposed to figure in things, however the peanut butter filling and almond piece on top made this every nut fans dream. Very Good.

Gianduja Diamond:

This was a pretty simple praline chocolate that was formed of an outer layer of 40% milk chocolate and an inner hazelnut praline centre. The flavour development was truly superb with the milk chocolate establishing a thick, cream based taste before the delicious hazelnut flavours were delivered by the praline. Very enjoyable indeed and left a longing nut flavour in the mouth. Very Good.

Macadamia Bite:
This piece had a thick dark chocolate outer layer that substantiated a rich flavour base before the truly wonderful centre. The light filling was very cream based, though had an earthy, nutty hint. The macadamia flavours were really left to linger in the mouth by a truly superb additional macadamia nut that sat on top of the filling. The nut not only delivered flavour but also a wonderful crunch that contrasted well with the smooth filling. Superb.

Caramel Canape:
This was the only piece that I received two of, though I am not complaining whatsoever. Formed of milk chocolate with a caramel chocolate button and florentine piece sat in the middle it truly delivered a wonderful array on flavours. The creamy flavours of the chocolate wonderfully contrasted with the crunchy, sugar based florentine piece - it not only looked great but delivered in terms of taste. Very Good.

Overall this was a truly fantastic product in pretty much every sense. The Rocky Road half of the egg could have done with an ingredient to really give that extra impetuous in its flavours, though that criticism is very minor given the array of different flavoures that this product included. The selection chocolates were both varied and tasty ... you can't really ask for more. If your gifting chocolate this Easter, and want to give a product that really stands out as something special I honestly think that this is the way to go. Hotel Chocolat deliver excellence once again.

9.2 out of 10