December 7th: Hotel Chocolat Milk Chocolate Cookies & Caramel Festive Wreath

Kcal ...loads Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

If you have a great memory you may remember all the way back last year (Christmas 2008) that I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to review one of Hotel Chocolat's famous Chocolate Wreaths ... SEE HERE. Indeed that Fruit & Nut Wreath was absolutely fantastic and earned a coveted 9.1 rating on the ChocolateMission rating system - making it one of the highest scoring products for 2008. Given this history you can imagine that I was pretty delighted to see this Hotel Chocolat Milk Chocolate Cookies & Caramel Wreath pop through the door in my Christmas 2009 sampling package and the description of '40% milk chocolate with caramel Florentine, cookie pieces and white chocolate chunks' did very little to temper my enthusiasm.

It is good to see that at least one manufacture this year has not been sneaky by reducing the size of their chocolates and just as last year this Cookies & Caramel Wreath weighed in at a mighty 450.0g. Back up was going to be needed in order for this to be consumed and as always my family were more than happy to 'help me out' as best they could :) ... I tell you they get the best deal out of this website (all the eating none of the writing!). If you have cheated and already peaked at the scoring chart you will see that like last years Wreath a magic 10.0 has been awarded for presentation and I think their can be little argument. Simply put this Wreath look amazing - the outer cardboard box was a wonderful golden colour and decorated with smart silver snowflake patterns but even this paled in comparison to the beauty (yes I really have just used that word!) of the inner chocolate Wreath which truly was a sight to behold. It was wonderfully crafted with intricate patterns etched into the surface and with visible chunks of caramel Florentines and biscuit dispersed evenly throughout. As much as we loved admiring the Wreath's aesthetic prestige the chocolaty caramel scents were just to appealing, thus it didn't last long in its unbroken state.

In totality this Wreath lasted about a week in our household with us all helping ourselves to generous chunks after meals, coffees etc. Now having reviewed probably over 30+ products that contain Hotel Chocolat's 40% milk chocolate you are all probably pretty bored of me describing it but I think it is worth mentioning the broad appeal that it obviously has. This can be no better exemplified than by the approval it gets from the older generation of my family who adore the creamy, cocoa rich taste. Whilst we all very enjoyed the base milk chocolate and added pieces of white chocolate which further reaffirmed the cream flavours what was very noticeable was that the areas that contained the Florentine caramel were the first to go. The pieces of Florentine were frankly superb and offered a little differentiation to the smooth melting, thick chocolate with light crispy bits added to the texture and delightful flavour hits of toffee and butterscotch. Whilst the caramel element was very much enjoyed the cookie pieces weren't quite so impactful on the overall taste and though they also add nice bits of crunch texture wise they did lack a little in terms of flavour offering only mild, sugared wheat suggestions to the taste. As I have said above the Wreath lasted about a week which I felt was a decent amount of time between the 3/4 of us.

Overall Hotel Chocolat have come up trumps again with yet another Christmas offering that I would strongly suggest you take a look at if it is chocolate you are planning on gifting this Christmas. One thing that you can almost guarantee with Hotel Chocolat is that if the product is mainly compromised of their 40% house milk chocolate you are going to be on to a winner but for me this wasn't what made this Wreath so special. What I think makes this product stand out from other gifting options this Christmas is the overall look and presentation of the product which I think is altogether is really special. In terms of practicality for consuming this Wreath wont be winning any prizes but in terms of aesthetic looks it is in a class of its own. I may have preferred the dark chocolate Wreath last year in terms of taste but with this Cookies & Caramel variant I was similarly impressed by the care that had gone into crafting it. If you are after a fabulous tasting chocolate product that has a real wow factor as a present I think you need look no further than Hotel Chocolat's Wreath collection this Christmas.

8.9 out of 10

Luxurious Christmas Gifts from Hotel Chocolat