Thursday, 16 September 2010

September 16th: Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Brazils / Macadamias

You may have noticed recently that I have been reviewing some of Hotel Chocolat's more obscure products (covered fruit offerings - Sultanas, Mango Strips etc) and have been experimenting with parts of their range other than their standard chocolate offerings. Two more products sent my way recently by Hotel Chocolate HQ were these Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Brazils & Chocolate Macadamias. Had you asked me a few years or so ago whether I would be that keen on trying these, I would have probably declined as nuts were never something that stirred great excitement inside of me. Having tasted just how tasty some chocolate nut products can be over the past three years, my views have of course changed somewhat so I was of course very keen to give them both a try.

Both of these variants came in 125.0g bags that contained around 20 or so nut pieces in each. I have commented at length previously about the plastic bag presentation before so I needn't probably go in to much detail again - suffice to say I think it is an area that Hotel Chocolat could improve in presenting some of their products, I don't think it quite meets the premium brand perception that their products command. With the said the both the types of nuts looked fantastically authentic when bitten in to. My photos probably wont do them justice, but both the brazils and the macadamias looked terrifically golden and ripe in colour sat below the thick outer shells of milk chocolate. The cocoa powder dusted on each nut type was a nice touch, however it did take away some degree of practicality to eating them outside the home.

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Brazils - 'Whole roasted Brazil nuts panned in milk chocolate and cocoa powder'. These nuts were slightly longer in shape compared to the fatter macadamias though the chocolate was still equally as thick. The 40% milk chocolate delivered it's usual cream rooted sweet cocoa flavours, though it was of course the nuts which mostly dictated the taste. The Brazils broke with a delightful crisp freshness and with a nice crunch in the mouth. The flavours generated by the nuts weren't the strongest but there were tones of butter and nice earthyness which established a pleasant savoury flavour contrast to the sweeter chocolate.

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Macadamias - 'Whole roasted macadamia nuts panned in milk chocolate and cocoa powder'. I could literally cut and paste my thoughts on the impression created by the milk chocolate from above - it did exactly the same job here. The differentiation was obviously bought about by the nuts at the heart of each piece. In contrast to the Brazils, the macadamias were sweeter in taste and had a fuller bodied, richer butteryness then left a slightly longer lasting flavour impression in the mouth. Like the Brazils these broke with a very fresh crunchy sensation - the textures of both nuts were fantastic.

Overall both these Chocolate Brazil and Macadamia products proved themselves to be decent offerings without ever providing the wow factor that comes with so many other Hotel Chocolat products. Everything from the packaging, presentation and subsequent taste of both varieties was decent enough and on the whole up to standard, but given some of the other really special things that Hotel Chocolat offer they understandably didn't prove themselves to be anything out of this world. If you were to ask me which of the two nut types I prefer I would probably settle for the macadamias as I found them to be the richer tasting out of the two. With that said I would be more than happy to settle for the Brazils, as they were equally as tasty, just not perhaps as fulfilling. Whilst I wont be recommending these as a 'must try' Hotel Chocolat product I would feel more than happy gifting them or picking them up myself for a tasty daily grazing snack.

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Brazils - 7.3 out of 10
Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Macadamias - 7.5 out of 10

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