November 2nd: Hotel Chocolat Christmas Chocolate Enrobed Fruits 2010

With Halloween out the way it's now time for the long build up to Christmas and what better way to get things started this year by scratching the surface of what Hotel Chocolat have to offer. If you have been visiting the site for a while you will have seen several reviews this year looking at Hotel Chocolat's chocolate enrobed fruit range. From Kirsch Cherries to Rum soaked Sultanas I have tried them all - I suggest you look back in the archives if you managed to let them pass you by (See HERE).

I'm going to kick of my Christmas 2010 Hotel Chocolat reviews this year by looking at two of their seasonal themed fruit offerings. With the help of my ever willing family, I have been photographing and sampling Christmas products for the last few weeks - Christmas has indeed come early in the ChocolateMission household.

Hotel Chocolat Cinnamon Rum Sultanas

'sultanas soaked in golden rum with a pinch of cinnamon, enrobed in white chocolate'

Both of these products today came in the tub packaging format and with 150.0g of produce inside. I normally dread the thought of having to photograph plain white chocolate items but the amazing sweet and and spicy smells emanating from the packaging were enough to distract me from my tough task at hand.

To sum these sultanas up in a load of random words I would have to choose creamy, fruity, boozie spiced deliciousness. Indeed these sultanas were fantastic and got gobbled by my tasting panel within minutes of them being opened. The white chocolate that surrounded the plump fruit centres was thick across all of the pieces, whilst the sultanas inside were juicy and fresh. Taste wise everything was so wonderfully progressive, with the flavour journey starting with a firm set of sweet cream based flavours before evolving into an array of cinnamon, rum and sweet fruit. The culmination of these different elements created quite the flavour party in the mouth and had us all reaching back for more time and time again until the whole lot was gone.

8.1 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Mulled Wine Cherries

'cherries soaked in fortified wine spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, then enrobed in thick dark chocolate.'

I have to fess up right away here - I think we all know I'm not the greatest love of cherries, but if there is one thing I'm certainly not, it's a wine drinker! With that in mind I wasn't particularly looking forward to these, so it was lucky I had did indeed have my family taste panel involved here.

Similarly to the sultanas above, these cherries displayed the most delightful of fruity scents when I opened the tub for the first time. You might not be able to gauge from the photo, but these were significantly bigger in size compared to the sultanas, this was helped largely by the fact that the dark chocolate was still very thickly coated despite the larger fruit size. I needn't say much about the outer chocolate - it established rich cocoa flavours from the outset and the additional fragments of almond nut created an undercurrent of delicious savoury butter flavours. As good as the chocolate was, the cherries were equally as flavoursome. They were everybit as fresh and juicy as came described, and the sweet red fruit flavours were enhanced magnificently by several spiced elements, most notably nutmeg and cinnamon. This combination was nothing other than utterly delicious - I was surprised by how much I liked these.

8.5 out of 10

Overall these were some of the best chocolate covered fruits I have ever tried and I loved the seasonal flavour sensation brought to the party with the spiced elements in both. The look, feel and taste of Christmas has been encapsulated in these fruits perfectly - even as a non-wine drink I couldn't help but love the Mulled Wine Cherries, they were really very tasty. I would recommend both of these products as worthy of trying out and buying this year if they tickle your fancy. I would love to say stick them top of your Christmas list but there are way too many Christmas themed chocolate reviews to come :D make sure you stick around for the best coverage of the Hotel Chocolat range this year.