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Two Hotel Chocolat reviews in two days - surely this must be a mistake!? In actual fact not! With only a few working days left until Christmas I still have one or two Hotel Chocolat Christmas products to get up on the site but fear not I will endeavour to do so before they stop taking orders that they can't deliver in time for gifting on the 25th! The product grabbing the limelight today is a totally new development from Hotel Chocolat this year - the 'Chocolate Log'. Formed of a 'blend of chocolate, hazelnut paste and chopped nuts' this was going to be my first ever taste of Hotel Chocolat's attempts at a solus gianduja type product. Having had tasters of what they could do from some of their recent selection boxes I was expecting great things.
These Chocolate Logs come in two formats - the first being six smaller 'Logs' and the other this 190.0g format that me and my family have been feasting on for the past few days. Aesthetically speaking this bigger 'Log' wont be the prettiest thing you will ever have seen pictured on this site but it was nicely packaged in a splendid silver box and the concept of cutting bits off like a cake was something a little different from the norm. Indeed slicing through the first thing I noticed was the wonderful scents of cocoa and nut that emerged when blade cut through the soft yielding surface. The log was a little messy to eat due to it's crumbly nature, however I guess this isn't the sort of product you would consider eating out of the home anyway.
The packaging suggested that this was not a chocolate for dessert but rather shared over a coffee so it made for a suitable accompaniment to my normal 'pick me up' mid morning/afternoon cuppa. As you can imagine this was not your everyday sort of chocolate and this was immediately established as soon as I tasted the first piece. In comparison to the usual Hotel Chocolat chocolates the texture was drier and had a slightly grittier feel in the mouth. This may sound bad but to be honest this was very much in line with expectations and totally what you would expect from a gianduja product. In terms of taste each and every piece literally exploded with flavours as soon they entered the mouth with strong influences of cocoa and hazelnut prominent throughout the duration of the soft, quick melt. Despite the cocoa coming through aggressively the taste was very finely balanced and never verged on any sort of bitterness and had a smooth flowing taste. If I was to have a criticism it would have to be in the direction of the chopped pistachios and hazelnuts that were present throughout. With the chocolate taste so strong the pistachios in particular had a hard time cutting through in their chopped nature and it was only very sporadically that they became evident.
Overall I would give Hotel Chocolat ten out of ten here for concept and ingredients but more of an eight out of ten for final execution. In terms of the quality of the chocolate on offer here the 72% recipe was once again outstanding with it's finely balanced cocoa rich taste wonderfully complimented by the superb hazelnut paste and chopped nut ingredients. If I was to change one thing I personally would have cut down on the chopped nuts and would rather have gone for fewer whole nut pistachio and hazelnut pieces. I not only think this would have made the 'Log' look even more exciting but I think it would have helped the pistachios in particular come through greater in the taste, as in their chopped nature they did fail to cut through the richness of the cocoa flavours. This minor criticism aside I would say that Hotel Chocolat have managed to craft yet another innovative and exciting product to add to their vast collection. This product isn't perhaps for everyone but if you enjoy your dark chocolate and nut combinations I would certainly recommend you take a look at grabbing one of these this Christmas.
8.6 out of 10