Thursday, 30 July 2009

July 30th: Hotel Chocolat Mango Strips

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

With the help of the kind marketing guys at Hotel Chocolat I am slowly but surely making my way through their range. One of my favourite snacks that I often nibble on during the day is dried fruit, which almost always happens to be dried mango. Normally I just grab a bag from Tesco (the M&S stuff isn't great!) but today I got a whole new preserved mango experience thanks to these Hotel Chocolat Mango Strips. They came described as 'real mango pieces preserved and softened in mango liqueur, sealed in dark chocolate' which really sounded good to me.

These Mango Strips came in the same type of 150.0g cylinder container as the Ginger Strips I reviewed a few months ago. Presentation on the whole was pretty good - nothing about the exterior packaging really struck me as that special but I liked the photos of the mango fruits on the back and thought the photos of the actual product gave a reasonably accurate indication of the product. Opening the top and then the foil seal that lay below I was immediately struck by a waft of fruity, boozie scents that really set the mood for the taste to come. The chocolate covered fruit pieces varied in size considerably but this didn't bother me as it made the product feel altogether more authentic.

I must admit that at first taste I felt slightly let down by the outer chocolate. I am a huge fan of Hotel Chocolat's 72% & 85% recipes and I was disappointed to find that the dark chocolate implemented here was 50% cocoa. Don't get me wrong the chocolate was still very enjoyable; the melt was still absolutely divine and the taste was still impeccably smooth and rich with its cocoa flavours. The melt from the outer chocolate to the solid fruit that lay below was simply out of this world and the softness of the chocolate complimented the denser fruit superbly. The first thing that struck me about the mango below was that the really boozie smell didn't translate into the taste. Personally I thought this was a good thing as the citrusy, juicy flavours of the mango fruit came through superbly with the moist, fleshy texture. My only small gripe with the mango fruit itself was that at times some of the pieces were a little stringy which didn't feel at that great in the mouth. Just a few pieces of this chocolate drenched fruit complimented an after dinner coffee superbly - they possibly aren't the sort of thing you would want to snack on when on the move but for an after dinner occasion they seriously fit the bill.

Overall these Mango Strips get a big thumbs up from me aswell as the rest of my family who also thought they were absolutely delicious. Knowing the quality of Hotel Chocolat's stronger chocolates as I do, a little part of me was yearning for the outer dark chocolate to be of a greater strength. This though has to be a very minor criticism as the combination of the bitter chocolate and sweet fruity mango was simply luxurious and was one that I enjoyed each and every time I reach into the small tub. You can almost always determine whether a product was any good judging by the level of disappointment when its finished. Suffice to say there was mass disappointment when my families stock of Mango Strips ran out. The only question now is whether these count as part of your 'five-a-day?' :) I think probably not but I still whole heartily recommend them.

8.5 out of 10

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