May 12th: Hotel Chocolat Puddles Rhubarb & Custard / Raspberry Ripple

It has been a while since I last reviewed something from Hotel Chocolat (well a month or so!) but last week brought one of those awesome days when the postmen struggles to my door holding another box of samples. The latest batch of goodies contained Hotel Chocolat's new summer product lines, included in which were four new flavours of their infamous 'Puddles' aka Chocolate Buttons.

As you will see below they came in nice looking plastic packages which held 140.0g of chocolate (plenty!!), although simplistic in looks they did the job nicely and kept the product in a fresh state. The two I chose to review today were of a white chocolate variety and were based on some of my favourite desserts when I was a kid. Hopes were indeed high and this what I thought of both of them:

Hotel Chocolat Puddles Rhubarb & Custard:
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Described as 'rhubarb swirled in custard flavoured white chocolate' this particular variety had me foaming at the mouth Homer Simpson style. They say a way to a mans heart is through his stomach - sure, I think even Ann Widdecombe would have a good chance getting into my pants if she served me up Rhubarb Crumble and Custard ... I simply love it!

Opening up the packet I was met with a rather mild custard like aroma that neither struck me as amazing or unsatisfactory. Mind you, due to my incredible anticipation it wasn't as if I hung around smelling them long as I immediately dove straight in. Unfortunately I was met with a feeling of disappointment and I thought there were a few glaringly obvious things wrong. Firstly I couldn't detect the rhubarb in any shape or form - it was as if they forgot to put the 'rhubarb crisps' promised on the back of the pack actually in the product. Secondly the white chocolate was nothing like the creamy heaven sent vanilla tastiness of usual but was actually comparable to the truly detestable Cadbury Dream chocolate. Ok ok maybe it wasn't that bad, but the taste was so sugar rooted I got that awful throat burning sensation.

Overall I am left asking the question ... what happened here!? These were hardly inedible but these were truly so far off the usual Hotel Chocolat standard it seemed implausible. I honestly wouldn't recommend these to buy but on the same note I would like to hear from other people who have tried them ... is this me going bonkers!?? The disappointing 140.0g of these I consumed suggests not!

6.2 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Puddles Raspberry Ripple:
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Having ranted and raved my way through the first section of this double review I thankfully get to be a lot nicer here. Described as 'nibbles of raspberries in white vanilla chocolate' these were the least I was looking forward to out of the two but were actually far superior.

Unlike with the Rhubarb variant the fruit content of these was made evident from the outset and the sweet wildberry smell was extremely enticing. The all important factor of course was whether this was going to be back up in the taste and I was not left disappointed. Placing the 'Puddles' on the tongue the initial flavours were the strong raspberry tones that were delivered with a wonderful fresh zingy emphasis. As the melt developed the cream based flavours of the chocolate came through and just as the description suggested had some pleasant vanilla notes that made for a multi-dimensional taste. In the later stages of the melt the berry flavours were further enhanced with the small specs of raspberry bringing some added flavour hits to make for a well rounded but emphatic overall taste.

Overall ... PHEW :) I don't like being down on products so I am glad to be able to report that these get a double thumbs up. They were truly delicious and were fruity, creamy and wonderfully moreish with a thick longing melt. Unlike the Rhubarb variant I would really suggest you try these if you like the sound of them. They are truly splendid straight from the fridge or served with vanilla ice cream.

8.5 out of 10