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According to Hotel Chocolat 'Christmas simply wouldn't be complete without the gorgeously traditional pleasure - authentic marzipan'. Up until last year I would have begged to differ as I simply loathed it as a child and would have almost certainly put it amongst my selection of despised foodstuffs had I been asked to make a list. This was of course until I tried Niederegger marzipan from Germany, at which time I realised that when made correctly marzipan can be really rather good. Since then having sampled many a marzipan product I have tried a few other good brands (Zentis etc) as well as some not so good. The question at hand today was whether Hotel Chocolat could take their prestige in chocolate production and keep in the same quality in a marzipan based product.
This Marzipan Ingot came packaged the same as one of the Hotel Chocolat's mini-slabs in a single piece 100.0g serving size. As you will be able to see from the photo above the outer box was decorated the same as the other festive slabs I have been reviewing for the last few weeks and incorporated the same Christmas decor with the dark red and gold colours complimenting the white glossy background superbly. Inside the the slab of marzipan was thick and heavy in hand but perhaps lacked the sparkle or ooze the same level of appeal that many other Hotel Chocolat do with its no frills looks. When cut in to the marzipan looked an appetising golden colour on the eye and released an enticing set of sweet almond scents that only made my anticipation greater.
One of the minor failings of the Niederegger range is that the quality of the chocolate that coats the marzipan is often poor and not always portioned as generously as one might hope. This being a Hotel Chocolat product this wasn't going to be any issue whatsoever as the thick slab of marzipan was coated in a thick shell of Hotel Chocolat's 40% house milk chocolate. Just as always the milk chocolate was of a great quality and I especially enjoyed the fresh crisp feeling of it against the softer yielding marzipan below. Where as I knew the cream based cocoa flavours of the chocolate were going to be outstanding what I was not to sure of was what sort of quality the marzipan was going to be. In all I wouldn't say it was quite the quality of Niederegger but it was definitely pretty close with the same amount of moistness in texture and same degree of almond flavours coming through the sugary taste. If it lacked one thing it was that it didn't have the same impetuous on it's doughy flavours which would have just taken the edge off the sweetness a touch which is something the Niederegger brand does expertly. Although it wasn't a product that was best eaten in large quantities it took only two days for my father and I to consume with us both frequently breaking off small pieces to nibble away on.
Overall it is again applause all round for Hotel Chocolat today as they have managed to craft yet another product of great quality despite the key constituent not falling directly within their remit. Before I tried this Marzipan Ingot slab I was pretty comfortable with the quality of the 40% milk chocolate however with it only compromising 25% of the total bar this was always going to be a product defined by the quality of the marzipan that lay below. As I have concluded above the marzipan didn't hit the heights of the Niederegger brand but for a manufacture whos core competency is chocolate it was an exceptional standard. The marzipan avoided the dry, gritty texture that is so often a pitfall for many other alternatives and offered up a strong almondy taste that was delicious and at the same time satisfying. If you are UK based and don't have the Niederegger products at hand this Marzipan Ingot is a wonderful option for you this Christmas. I hope this isn't the last time that Hotel Chocolat experiment with marzipan in their range.
8.6 out of 10
8.6 out of 10