June 3rd: Hotel Chocolat The H-Box Just Desserts

Rounding off my summer sesaon of Hotel Chocolat reviews this year, I bring you my thoughts and photos of their 'The H-Box Just Desserts' selection. Hotel Chocolat describe this box of chocolates as a 'heavenly collection of classic summer desserts - perfect for a touch of summer hedonism' .... riiiight!

This selection box comprised of 8 different varieties, which you can see in my top-down photograph above. What you will also notice is that some of the pieces were portioned three times, whilst others only once - it didn't make much sense to me either!? That aside the packaging and presentation was first class as ever. The outer box was bright and vibrant, which was in keeping with the summer theme, whilst the inner menu was accurate and described each of the chocolate accurately.

The chocolate pieces on the whole looked very well crafted - I hope my cross-sections do them justice. On that note lets get down to business ... same scale as usual from Terrible to Superb.

Eton Mess - Need I say anything more about this chocolate than what I have done already HERE? No probably not. Yet again it was a deliciously creamy, fruity chocolate that was bursting with genuine red berry flavours. It is probably Hotel Chocolat's finest individual chocolate that they make - for that reason I can excuse it for being the piece portioned three times. Superb.

Key Lime Pie - The lime fruit delivery wasn't quite as strong as some of the other fruit influences in the other chocolates, however it was still very flavoursome and the the combination of the crunchy base and creamy ganache topping was delightful texture wise. If the citrus flavours were dialled up a bit more this could be a really special chocolate. Good.

Summer Pudding - This piece looked beautiful when bitten in to, and it was very nice to see all the different wildberry bits amongst the inner cream filling. With the outer white chocolate being as thick as it was, the main stay of the taste was cream based, but as the filling melted on the tongue there were strong red fruit influences in the form of some very refreshing raspberry, strawberry and blueberry notes. Very Good.

Mango & Peach Cheesecake - If the Eton Mess chocolate is the best individual chocolate Hotel Chocolat do, then this piece seriously isn't far off. This was an absolutely delicious chocolate, which dealt out lashings of peach and cream flavours as soon as it was bit in to. The crunchy caramel base provided a delightful sweetness with its delicate crisp crunchiness, whilst the dried mango on top provided a fitting sweet fruity finish ... very, very good ... Superb even :D

Banana Creme Caramel - I have reviewed this piece in previous reviews, and my thoughts were very similar in regards to it's plus points and it's limitations. The milk chocolate and inner sticky toffee were nothing less than first class. The sticky toffee filling was especially delicious with its buttery, burnt sugar flavours. Unfortunately the strength of the banana influence still wasn't as strong as I desired it to be, which just stops it being in the same league as the likes of the Eton Mess. Very Good.

Orange Torte - This piece comprised of a classic combination, with orange hinted praline coated with a dark chocolate shell. As I was expecting the dark chocolate was fuller flavoured and richer than some of the white chocolates, and set the tone nicely for the sweeter innards which was similarly full of flavour. The praline filling was lacking in nutty flavours, however the grittier texture meant the orange flavours had greater longevity in the mouth, which made for a very refreshing finish. Very Good.

Chocolate Brownie - This was probably the least exciting looking piece on the menu, but it was actually one of the richest chocolates in the box. The outer chocolate layer was extremely thick, though it held a very viscous filling within. The reason for the dense filling was that it contained cocoa nibs and small bits of pecan nuts, both of which didn't add much to the rich chocolatey taste, but spruced up the feel of the filling no end. Very Good.

Chocolate Mousse - The inclusion of this piece was a little puzzling to me as it quite simply tasted liked a toned down version of the above chocolate brownie. The 40% milk chocolate shell was obviosuly pleasant enough, but the promised hazelnut influence in the inner filling (as billed in the menu!) just didn't come through in the taste which was somewhat disappointing. Standard.

Overall this selection box wasn't quite as perfect as some of the other Hotel Chocolat collections I have reviewed in the past, but there were still some stand out pieces. I probably needn't tell you about how amazing the Eton Mess chocolate is again - I have lauded about it many a time in reviews in the past, but it is so good that I think it deserves to be heralded once more. The Peach & Mango Cheesecake was another delicious chocolate that can at least claim to be in the same league as the Eton. The combination of the fruit and cream flavours and contrasting textures are really out of this world - you have to taste one to understand how great they are. As for some of the others, the only truly disappointing piece was the Chocolate Mousse, which I personally feel could have been left out altogether. Hotel Chocolat put together a fine mixture of different fruit flavoured dessert chocolate to capture the summer vibe nicely here, but I think they should possibly have gone for another solely nut based chocolate to add just a little bit more variety. Minor nit-picking aside this was another accomplished collection of chocolates - just make sure you get to the Eton Mess and Cheesecake pieces before others realise how amazing they are.

8.1 out of 10