November 16th: Hotel Chocolat Orange Nice Spice

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

I am pleased to announce that from now until Christmas you will get no fewer than one Hotel Chocolat review a week thanks largely to the fact they sent me a big box full of festive samples to get stuck into. It has been a fair while since I last reviewed a Hotel Chocolat slab product so it was nice to see that the chaps in the HC innovation department come up with no less than four new flavours for Christmas this year. Starting off in no particular order I first decided to try out this Orange Nice Spice flavour which consisted of '70% dark chocolate with orange and a dash of chilli'. As I have said I was not particularly drawn to this slab over the others or anything but it sounded like quite a nice one to start this years Hotel Chocolat Christmas reviews off with.

Out of the four slabs this was the only one to come in the conventional 100.0g size and was split into two smaller 50.0g slabs. Aesthetically speaking Hotel Chocolat have done well with the outer packaging of the slab products this year and I thought that the box for this Orange Nice Spice variant looked clean in design whilst bringing a nice bit of glamour with some sparkling red and silver snowflake patterns. Inside the slabs were protected by a thick foil wrapping which further maintained the outer sophistication with another sleeking looking pattern. The slabs themselves looked and smelt as if they were fresh out the factory with some dark smelling cocoa scents that had hints of spicy fruit emanating whilst the surfaces gleamed, sharply reflecting the light with the sugar coated orange pieces also catching the eye.

As good as this chocolate looked and smelt it tasted absolutely abysmal .... only joking ;) haha it tasted delightful! The dark chocolate base incorporated everything that usually makes Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate so great and its clean tasting earthy cocoa flavours established themselves as soon as the chocolate hit my tongue. Having reviewed so many other products aside from Hotel Chocolat recently it was wonderful being reunited with the rich taste of their dark chocolate and the flavours of the ebbed and flowed with the thick, longing melt as it developed on my tongue. If I have heard one criticism of Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate before it is that it is a little on the strong side for some people but I think the critics would be hard pushed to apply generalisation here as there was ever present sweet, juicy orange undertone throughout the taste. In addition to the orange oil present in the chocolate the sugar coated orange peel pieces further brought an added fruity sweetness to the taste and were best enjoyed once the hint of chilli had developed in the mouth which unsurprisingly in the latter stages of the melt. With the orange pieces bringing a minor note of coolness to the feel in the mouth this did slightly offset the heat brought to the party by the chilli, however this would be the smallest of small criticisms and was not something that bothered me in the slightest at the time.

Overall this was a splendid way to kick off my Hotel Chocolat reviews this year and the guys there have done themselves proud once again formulating yet another delicious tasting chocolate combination. One of things I was most pleased to see when I first opened my box of goodies this year was that Hotel Chocolat have done a great job with the packaging and presentation which immediately gives their range huge gifting potential. What makes this gifting potential even grander is that fact that you get chocolates likes this one on display today. With the dark chocolate at its usual high quality and the orange and chilli flavours added in correct proportions this was always going to be a chocolate I was going to savour from beginning to end. If your a dark chocolate orange fan I can assure you that this is one you won't feel let down by if you invest in it. Cracking start ...bring on the next slab!

9.1 out of 10