Thursday, 28 October 2010
As soon as Christmas time rolls around it seems like the market suddenly gets flooded with countless numbers of chocolate mint products. Nestle After Eights, Mingles, Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisp etc are just a few of the more popular options I can name off the top of my head. What about the fancier market offerings I hear you ask? Well today I got to try this rather classy looking Midnight Mint Selection from my favourite people at Hotel Chocolat.
This selection came described as 'recipes celebrating that most British preoccupation: mint and chocolate' and contained 'four classic mint chocolates in dark and white chocolate'. The entire box weighed in at 230.0g and contained two trays with the 26 individual chocolates within. The presentation of the product was fully what you would expect from Hotel Chocolat with the outer box well designed and premium looking, and the inner chocolates nicely crafted and decorated. As impressive as this all was, what was most notable about this Midnight Mint Selection were the minty aromas that sprung across my senses as soon as soon as the plastic packet film wrap was stripped away from the box - boy did they smell gorgeous.
Below are my thoughts on each of the different pieces. Ratings from Abysmal to Superb.
Mint Fondants - This was a piece that was formed of a firm mint fondant centre which was coated in a very thin layer of dark chocolate. Having tasted a great deal of sugary fondants in my life time I was surprised by the creamyness of the delicious peppermint flavours generated by the centre, though I would have liked the dark chocolate coating could have been just a touch thicker. My parents said these tasted like 'posh Fry's mint fondants'. Good.
Mint Batons - As you can see these batons came in two different varieties, one with 72% dark chocolate and the other 28% white chocolate. On the whole both were pretty nice, however I more enjoyed the dark chocolate as I thought the balance between the non-sweet chocolate and the sweet 'essence of Tasmanian peppermint' (no seriously not a joke!!) was just a bit better. My white chocolate loving sister thought exactly the opposite :D Very Good.
Mint Cremes - Although these turned out to be my favourites from the selection I did have some minor worries before tasting them as they looked exactly like the awful Parma Violet Hotel Chocolat chocolates I once tried. These pieces had gorgeous tasting softer peppermint fondant centres,which were cased in thick layers of dark chocolate. The combination of these both made for a refreshing, rich tasting chocolate that was really in a class of it's own. Superb.
Peppermint Crisps - At first I was very surprised that these were the same type of chocolate, as the white variation was nearly twice the thickness of the dark one. These pieces included praline centres with small pieces of peppermint crystals and puffed rice, which together all made for a very interesting textured chocolate. Taste wise, again the dark chocolate variation was more to my liking, the white chocolate piece was just a little on the sweet side in my opinion. I'm being overly critical again - the rest of my family were more inclined to the white chocolate ones :D Very Good.
Overall this was yet another superb collection of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat and I'm sure they would go down a storm with anyone looking for an extra special collection of mint chocolates this Christmas period. As you can tell by my ratings above the real standout chocolates for me personally were the Mint Cremes. I honestly think they are one of the best mint chocolates I have ever tasted and that is no small claim. For a brief time I was struggling with the score I was going this product for the 'selection' crtieria. At first I thought only having four different pieces was pretty limited, but on reflection I struggled to think of any other type of mint chocolate they could have included, so I think an average score of 7.0 is more than justified. As for the rest of the product everything else was very much better than average which isn't exactly a surprise when it comes to Hotel Chocolat. If you are a chocolate mint fan then I suggest you treat yourself to one of these Midnight Mint Selections - I can promise you wont regret it.
8.4 out of 10