If you were reading ChocolateMission over Christmas you would have seen that I reviewed my first ever marzipan product from those lovely people at Hotel Chocolat in the form of their lovely Marizpan Ignot slab (See HERE). To be honest I was surprised at the standard of the marzipan involved, though admittedly less so when one my readers informed me that they actually used to be in cahoots with the masters of marzipan Niederegger.
After reading my review of their Ignot slab the chaps at Hotel Chocolat sent me along this 'Ultimate Marzipan Selection' - a box consisting of six different flavoured almond marzipan chocolates, all of which were portioned three times.
As ever with Hotel Chocolat products the presentation was wonderful - some might think the double box packaging is excessive but I was more of the thinking that it looked swish. Another touch I liked was the inner menu which distinguished the flavours nicely and thankfully quite accurate in the description of each of the six flavours.
Below are my brief thoughts on each flavour - working from left to right and using the usual Awful-to-Superb rating system ....
Rum & Raisin - This piece actually had the thickest chocolate of the selection but I still thought it was disappointingly thin. The inner almond marzipan was tasty as expected but I think the rum and raisin influences were both minimal and I was especially expecting more of an intensive rum heat to the texture. Standard.
Walnut - This was without doubt the best in the selection. Despite being very thinly portioned the blend of the dark and white chocolate was superb but that said the walnut element was what took centre stage. The added chopped walnut to the inner almond marzipan was delightful and enjoyed the extra buttery flavours it brought to the party. The walnut on top was fresh tasting and very crunchy. Superb.
Amaretto - Personally I think Hotel Chocolat struggle a bit when it comes to adding liqueurs to their chocolates. Sometimes they are overpowering and sometimes they are non-existent ... this belonged in the latter group. The white chocolate coating was wonderfully creamy but again under portioned. The marzipan was again very tasty but lacked the telling amaretto flavours I thought it would have. Standard.
Pistachio - This was the one I was most looking forward to with its dark chocolate coating and pistachio flavoured marzipan. As you can see by the picture the dark chocolate was criminally thin which disappointing. Despite it's green coloured appearance the pistachio didn't come through strong enough to displace the almond dominant flavours in the marzipan. The pistachio on top brought a nice salty element but this could have been much better. Standard.
Orange - The menu here promised a tangy orange almond marzipan but again I thought the enhancing flavour was lacking in cut through. The milk chocolate outer coating was again very tasty but very thin in portioning. By far and away the dominating flavours from the centre were the almond influences ... hey not a bad thing but not what I expected either. Standard.
Classic Almond - I guess you would have to class this chocolate as the plain one in the selection but it was also one of the best. I understand I have stressed the point already but the chocolate was again too thin and I would have preferred it to be thicker. I have no complaints whatsoever about the almond marzipan filling though, just like it was across all the other chocolates it was extremely tasty and the almond piece on top further compounded the nutty flavours with a delightful crisp freshness. Very Good.
Overall I think a great way of describing this Ultimate Marzipan Selection would be to say that it had was 'Snap, Crackle ... but no Pop'. Everything was in place here for a fantastic product - the presentation was very good, the selection of flavours was sound and the actual base almond marzipan was of a high standard. Unfortunately I didn't think the execution was up to Hotel Chocolat's very high standards as the chocolate was too thinly implemented throughout and I felt the majority were under powered in terms of their enhancing flavours. The real stick out chocolate for me was the walnut though the Classic Almond is also very much worthy of a mention. To be honest I probably would recommend to anyone apart from a real marzipan lover - even then I would probably point you the direction of the remaining Marzipan Ignot slabs which they are selling at 50% off in their sale. Some great idea here but they could have been done much better.
7.8 out of 10