Monday, 5 July 2010

July 5rd: Hotel Chocolat House Praline

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

On one of my Hotel Chocolat posts a few weeks ago it was mentioned that I had reviewed over 80 ... yes 80 ... different Hotel Chocolat products. As amazing as that sounds, there is going to be little let up for the time being as it was only a few days ago that I received my latest lot of samples. In my latest package, these Hotel Chocolat House Praline were nestled in and amongst some of the more summery offerings (reviews coming soon!), and were described on the packaging as 'hazelnut praline in a milk chocolate shells'. In a way I thought this was a bit of a cheeky product to include in my latest selection, as these were nothing to do with the latest summer collection, but I bet HC knew they were almost guaranteed a positive write up. Hey, who am I to complain!? It wasn't as if they were wrong!

If you have read some of my previous Hotel Chocolat selection box posts you will have seen me review some very similar chocolates before, but these came in a 75.0g pack of six. I have commented before on my feelings towards this style of plastic film packaging so I will spare you all my long winded thoughts on that again - long story cut short I feel it does a job but I think there is room for the brand to progress beyond this simplistic design now. Eagle-eyed ChocolateMission readers will have noticed the British flag pattern work decorating the upper portion of each truffle. My best guess is that this was Hotel Chocolat's subtle way of supporting England's world cup bid!? Or perhaps even Andy Murray's attempt at a Wimbledon title this year ... by the time this review has been published I'm pretty sure both will be out of their respective competitions :D Regardless I thought the patriotism was a nice touch, and they further added interest to the already tempting looking dual layered outer shell and truffle centres.

As I said in my opening paragraph Hotel Chocolat must have been pretty damn confident about getting some positive PR from this review given that I have lauded over their praline chocolates on many a previous occasion. Although the wrapper stated that there was some dark chocolate constituents this was merely used to decorate the outer portion of each piece (the flag pattern!), so the main constituent was Hotel Chocolat's 40% milk chocolate. I needn't repeat myself for the hundredth (more accurately fiftieth) time but the milk chocolate was it's ever delightful self and fast established a creamy cocoa flavour base as it melted with it's divine smoothness. Sat below the shell of milk chocolate, the praline had a rougher, drier texture which was beneficial as it gave it a bit of differentiation in terms of feel from the outer chocolate. Fully in line with expectations the roasted woody flavours of the hazelnuts were delivered precisely, and the praline left a delicious set of flavours in the mouth for a long duration after. Being the ever so kind family man that I am, I shared these amongst my family to get some second, third and fourth opinions. Having witnessed the subsequent fight for the final two pieces I think it is pretty safe to conclude that these were loved by all - the arguing was so intense we had to bring split the remaining two in half to make sure we all got our fair share :D

Overall like we all knew they were going to be, these were wonderful! Like Hotel Chocolat probably were themselves, I was 99% confident I was going to love these before eating them - what with them being just milk chocolates with a praline filling it was hardly like there was ever going to be anything to dislike. What with the sheer amount of terrific Hotel Chocolat products I have tried over the past few years I constantly have to keep reminding myself how good these products are compared to the average market offering. To be honest even comparing these to other Hotel Chocolat products, I would have to say that they rank up there as one of my favourite chocolates that they make. If you are a fan of pralines like I know many of you are, then I can't recommend these chocolates enough. Whether you buy them as a gift or for your own consumption, the only advice I can give you is to buy a few more than you initially intend to - trust me it will save the sake of an argument if you have to share :D

8.8 out of 10

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