February 8th: Hotel Chocolat The Magnificent Chocolate Heart

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Luxury Valentines chocolates at Hotel Chocolat

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Rounding off the Hotel Chocolat Valentines Day chocolate reviews this year I today bring you my views on their 'Magnificent Heart - Fruit & Nut Bliss' product. This monster chocolate heart was similar in stature to the 'Heart Strings' chocolate that I reviewed last year (See Here) and came described as a 'dark chocolate heart with raisins, cherries, hazelnuts and pecans'. Given that this hefty heart retails for £28 in the Hotel Chocolat store (See HERE) it was going to have to be something pretty special to prove worthy of its price. On that note please remember that all you ChocolateMission readers can get 10% off any Hotel Chocolat order when spending more than £15 by entering the code JIMVAL10 ... reading this site was going to pay off eventually huh!?

With the name 'The Magnificent Heart' this product appeared pretty cocksure of itself but I can do little to dispute that given that it looked fantastic in its 650.0g stature. The packaging and presentation was simply superb and I loved everything from the decorations on the heart itself to the smaller touches like the branded stamp seal which gave a real sense of it being a grand reveal when opened. This Magnificent Heart was yet another one of those chocolates that I felt guilty breaking up into smaller bits - it felt such a shame when I had to snap off a section for the photo above. As mesmerising as the product was aesthetically, what was also striking was the smell that emanated from the box when the seal was first broken. Wafts of coffee, dark chocolate, fruit and nut were all very evident and were highly indicative of the taste that followed.

Lets not kid ourselves, with the sheer volume of products I have to review for this site there was no way I was going to be eat the entire thing myself so not for the first time this year I had some very willing taste assistants in the form of the rest of my family. Now I probably needn't even tell you this but as I am sure you would guessed the dark chocolate that made up the base of this heart was simply fantastic. Hotel Chocolat's 70% recipe is among one of my favourite chocolates ever and this heart delivered exactly the taste I was expecting with it's rich and deep cocoa flavours. With the chocolate aftertaste lined with a friendly note of bourbon vanilla the additional fruit and nut elements were allowed access to the party and both were distributed nicely throughout the entire heart shape. In line with the quality of the chocolate the cherries, raisins, hazelnuts and pecans were of a very high quality and they all tasted fresh and flavour enhancing. The cherries brought a lovely juicy tangyness, whilst the raisins were sweeter which contrasted with the chocolate nicely. Out of the two nuts the hazelnuts were my favourite with their woody flavour influence though the pecans were similarly crunchy and brought a nice savoury, buttery influence where implemented.

Overall I have come to the conclusion that 'The Magnificent Chocolate Heart' is well worthy of it's name as it was a product that was enjoyed by one and all that tried it. To look as visually stunning as it did was exceptional, but to taste just about as impressive was certainly impressive. When it comes to dark chocolate I have come to expect nothing but the highest quality with Hotel Chocolat and this was yet another product that met those standards. With the dark chocolate tasting so good the added fruit and nut pieces had to be equally as good and I am glad to say they most definitely were. Having had previous issues with soured cherries *ahem* Green & Blacks *ahem* I was surprised at how much I appreciated them implemented here and I particularly liked the way they brought a tarty edge to the taste. As I have mentioned the raisins and both types of nuts were similarly impressive and combined they made for a delicious and progressive taste. If I was to have one criticism about the product it was that at times it was awkward to break up and needed a lot of force for that to be achieved. This small gripe aside if price is no issue for you this Valentines Day I would strongly suggest this Magnificent Chocolate Heart as both the presentation and taste bring the sort of WOW factor that I am sure will be appreciated by any lucky recipient.

9.0 out of 10