Wednesday, 19 May 2010

May 19th: Hotel Chocolat Eton Mess Slab



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The summer sun may not be shining quite yet, but Hotel Chocolat have already launched their seasonal range. To celebrate my 1000th product review on this site, a few weeks ago I asked you guys the question 'what four slabs comprise the Hotel Chocolat Summer Peepster Selection Box'. Just as so many of you answered, the correct answer was of course 'Tutti Fruitti, Eton Mess, Cookie Creme & Banoffee', and it has now come round to the time that they all have a crack at the ChocolateMission rating system. ChocolateMission addicts will know that last year I reviewed the Tutti Fruitti Giant Slab - to read that review See HERE. Today it was the turn of the Eton Mess Slab, which came described as 'a timeless summer favourite, with strawberry and vanilla chocolate, cookies, meringue and strawberry pieces'.

This slab came portioned in a 100.0g single piece that I shared amongst a few willing taste testers aka my family. It has been a while since I had one of Hotel Chocolat's Peepster Selections but the presentation was every bit as good as I could remember, and the exterior cream and lime coloured cardboard packaging cut a fitting fresh and summery look. Additionally I thought the Eton Mess slab looked every bit as wonderful - with the two tone white and red colour chocolates magnificently decorated by the pieces of meringue, dried strawberries and cookies that lined the surface. Whilst looking the part, the slab also smelt gorgeous, with a waft of fruit and cream rooted scents emerging once the plastic packet was opened.

My expectations of this slab were sky high given the quality of the presentation and the evident smell, but I was most hopeful due to my previous experiences with Hotel Chocolat's Eton Mess truffles (See HERE). Transferring the elegance of those individual chocolates, to this slab was going to be no easy task, but I am glad to say Hotel Chocolat did a cracking job. Hearing the words strawberry white chocolate always gets the alarm bells ringing in my head, as it is very common that the mixture of the sugary chocolate and sweet fruit and can prove to be a little too much. This consequence was nicely avoided here, as the vanilla flavoured white chocolate had a fluent, cream based taste that had just a touch of a yoghurty tang to it. This yoghurt like influence nicely contrasted with the red berry sweetness of the strawberries, which came through in the taste as a very genuine fruity influence. The realness of the strawberry flavours were of course helped no end by the pieces of frozen dried fruit placed on the top of the slab, which alongside the meringue and cookie pieces created a pleasant crunchy element within the smooth, thick melting chocolate base. Shared amongst three other family members, a third of a slab in a sitting was just about the right amount to provide what I felt was a plentiful serving.

Overall this was a product that not only encapsulated that summer feeling perfectly, but also proved to be a great tasting chocolate. During the summer I like my chocolates on the lighter side (i.e. not heavy dark chocolates!), so nicely balanced fruity, white chocolates are very much the thing that are in order. In terms of meeting this criteria Hotel Chocolat are completely on the money with this Eton Mess Slab. The white base was devilishly creamy and not too sweet, whilst the strawberry element was incorporated well, and in a non-artificial tasting manner. In terms of the meringue and the chocolate cookie pieces, neither created a great impression on the taste, however they did bring enjoyable variances texture wise, and they certainly added colour and intrigue when it came to visual impact. I probably needn't say this as it must be blindingly obvious, but I would very much recommend this slab for white chocolate and strawberry lovers - the summer has arrived!

8.7 out of 10


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