July 8th: Hotel Chocolat Praline Fusion

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If your a keen ChocolateMission reader you will be aware that the Hotel Chocolat Praline White sits among my favourite bars of all time and currently occupies third place in the overall ChocolateMission rankings. Given the prestige of that slab I certainly was needing no encouragement from the Hotel Chocolat team when they suggested I try another similar product from their Mini-Slabs range the Hotel Chocolat Praline Fusion. This chocolate was formed of milk chocolate hazelnut praline swirled with white chocolate hazelnut praline ... yep this certainly took my fancy.

Some of the previous Mini-Slabs I tried before came in the form of two 62.5g slabs (125.0g) but these came in 50.0g servings (100.0g). As ever I could not fault the presentation of the product and I even noticed a few improvements from some of the previously reviewed Mini-Slabs with the old style inner plastic packet replaced with a more decadent foil patterned sleeve. The exterior cardboard box looked as sophisticated as ever though I perhaps wouldn't have chosen the yellow colour out of choice. The slabs looked quite frankly wonderful. Although I didn't capture it in the pictures above the other sides of the slabs showed off the lovely swirl pattern of the two toned chocolates which looked incredible. After opening the foil packet I was literally salivating at the prospect of what lay inside - the nutty smells were amazingly tempting.

I am already running out of superlatives and I haven't even got to the taste ... lets start off with the quick headline that 'this chocolate was bloody delicious'. I started off by eating away at the familiar white chocolate praline end and was quickly reminded of the splendor that was the previously reviewed Praline White slab. It was ridiculously creamy with just the finest of woody, nut flavours that lasted in the mouth for what seemed like an age. The milk chocolate praline was a little stronger flavoured though equally as finely balanced as the white chocolate end. The cocoa was more pronounced in the taste though still had a strong milk undertone that provided a fantastic smoothness throughout. In both chocolates the hazelnut flavours were amazingly distinct and seemed to seamlessly combine with both of the different chocolate types. Where the taste was awesome the texture was equally as so. It was unlike your standard chocolate and had more of a softer Gianduja type texture. It melted insanely smoothly in the mouth, though had the slightest chewiness to it which meant that it didn't disintegrate straight away when placed in the mouth. The soft thick melt meant the wonderfully fresh hazelnut flavours could be savoured and lingered long in the mouth after the chocolate had melted away.

Overall I have to say this was undoubtedly one of the finest chocolates I have ever eaten and is one that I would happily eat everyday if given half a chance. Why has it got an ever so slightly lower rating than the Praline White!? Well having thought about it I did marginally (very very marginally!) prefer the white chocolate end to the milk chocolate end, however I must stress this was the smallest of preferences. The texture was luxurious and how Hotel Chocolat quite made the taste so balanced between cream and hazelnut I don't know. If your a praline fan there is simply no excuse to not trying this bar - you owe it to yourself more than anything to experience such a fabulous chocolate. This Praline Fusion slabs gets two thumbs up from me ... if I had ten thumbs I would give it ten thumbs up - highly recommended!

9.2 out of 10