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It is only 2 weeks until the big day and the time for getting your Hotel Chocolat Christmas orders in is drawing near. Having taken you through two of the four limited edition slabs already I today have the pleasure of showcasing you the third variant from the Hotel Chocolat festive range. With the Orange Nice Spice and Cinnamon Crunch slabs setting the standard pretty high, this Nutty Noel slab had a lot to live up to but I was quietly confident it could do. Now I am aware it is quite traditional for families to have bowls of nuts lieing around the house at Christmas but I wasn't completely sold by the Christmas credentials of a slab formed of 'milk chocolate with almonds, pecans and hazelnuts'. I am not saying it sounded bad, but at the same time I don't think it could it had the same Christmassy appeal as say the Cinnamon Crunch.
This variant came in a 100.0g format in one single thick stubby slab. The packaging was in line with the rest of the other mini slabs from the range and looked very pleasing on the eye with the silver fonts and snowflakes patterns again communicating the Christmas theme in a stylish manner. Inside the slab was kept within a thick foil wrapper which not only maintained the flawless surface conditioning but also the wonderful smelling chocolate and nut scents fantastically. Breaking the slab into pieces was no easy task but it was nice to see that it was filled with a large variety of nut pieces that were pretty evenly dispersed.
Given that the majority of Hotel Chocolat milk chocolate products use their 40% recipe I was surprised when I tasted my first piece from this bar as it tasted just a touch stronger. Indeed looking at the packaging the ingredients list stated that the min cocoa solids in this slab was 50% which on reflection I have to say was a good decision as it made for something a little different from the normal 40% experience. With just a little touch more emphasis on the cocoa in the taste the chocolate substantiated a relatively rich set of flavours in the mouth which only got stronger as the melt developed. As I have described above the nuts were nicely dispersed and figured in almost every single bite size piece that I broke away. Although all of the nuts had relative appeal my order of preference in terms of taste would be hazelnuts first, pecans next and lastly the almonds. The nuts benefited greatly from being implemented whole as it allowed the full on woody effects of the hazelnuts, the buttery flavours of the almonds and the more savoury notes of the pecans to shine through with greater, longer lasting effect. This was a slab that I ate over the course of two days with me breaking bits off every now and again for a treat.
Overall this was one of the better whole nut chocolates I have had recently and it is definitely up there with the best of them when it comes to this particular combination. I am perhaps still a little sceptical about the Christmas theme being tagged on to this chocolate because I think Hotel Chocolat could probably have been a bit more adventurous (like with the Cinnamon Crunch!) and at the end of the day I don't think it would have surprised anyone to see this variant as part of their standard mini slab line up. Still though this doesn't stop this from being a really high quality chocolate nut offering and it was one that I savoured with every bite. What I especially liked about this chocolate was it was nice to see Hotel Chocolat vary a little from the standard 40% chocolate recipe and the nuts were also of a very high standard tasting full flavoured and fresh. This is a chocolate I would certainly recommend for you Hotel Chocolat nutters!!
8.5 out of 10