Over the past few weeks I've had a number of readers requesting that I review some of the new summer themed flavoured slabs that Hotel Chocolat have produced for 2011. Having been kept busy by the Hotel Chocolat Summer Dessert Peepster Slection for the last couple of Monday's, I thought it best to give you my full run down of the larger slabs in a 3-in-1 special.
All of these chocolates came in 200.0g sizes and in the traditional single piece thick slab Hotel Chocolat form. Just so no one complains about me leaving off the prices (Richard haha!), these are currently priced at £7.00 on the Hotel Chocolat website. Here's what myself and my family thought of them:
Hotel Chocolat Neapolitan Nibble - 'Stripes of milk chocolate, white chocolate and strawberry flavoured white chocolate studded with cookies'. Expectations are normally sky high when Hotel Chocolat chocolate is about our household, but after trying the Hotel Chocolat Neapolitan truffles to big success earlier in the year (HERE), hopes were really quite high. On the face of things the slab looked nice with the clearly defined chocolate types nice and evenly distributed which we all thought was pretty cool. This design not only brought variety to the party, but also a good bit of fun breaking it apart (which has to be said was a whole lot easier thanks to the cookies bit in the bottom!). Speaking of the cookie pieces, we also all thought these were a clever addition to the chocolates, as they created an 'ice cream cone' like effect once the chocolate had melted. With the variety of the 40% milk chocolate, vanilla toned white chocolate and wonderfully real tasting strawberry this was a slab that was given a big thumbs up by one and all. It was certainly a great product for sharing with people what with the fun there was to be had with it's separation.
8.6 out of 10
Hotel Chocolat Fizzy Lemonade - 'A milk chocolate slab fused with lemon flavoured white chocolate and cracking sherbet. Decorated with solid lemon flavoured white chocolate drops'. This was certainly a very good looking slab on the eye and the fragrant lemon scents that wandered out the packet when opened were a pleasant reminder of the flavour theme at hand. Any reader who has been reading this site for any long duration of time will know that I have a severe dislike for anything along the lines of 'popping candy' or 'cracking sherbet' as Hotel Chocolat so elegantly put it. Well what can I say!? The lemon sherbet didn't do anything for me here! The usual thick melting luxury mouth feel and progressive cream based cocoa tones were all made negligible by the one dimensional, placid lemon flavours, and the horrid fizzing sensation going on at the back of my throat. It was commented on by other family members that the lemon influx was not as suited to the milk chocolate as it has proven to be in similar white chocolate alternatives. This was a fair opinion from my perspective, and was a point I thought best underlined by purely decorative lemon pieces, which were non-enhancing of the taste apart from the most subtle of lemon volume. I'm sure some of you are thinking this slab was in for a tough review before I even tasted it, though I can assure you it got a fair ride thanks to it be test driven by the rest of my family. Certainly not a bad chocolate, but nowhere near one of their best.
7.2 out of 10
Hotel Chocolat Cherry Pop - 'Solid milk chocolate and cherry flavoured white chocolate slab, with popping candy and naturally coloured white chocolate swirls'. In a change up from the norm, I've saved the WORST until last :D Indeed the worst scoring slab has the job of going last today and this honour falls to the Hotel Chocolat Cherry Pop chocolate. I'm sure all your eyes are being drawn to the rather poor presentation score this slab has scored (see graph below!). It looked beautiful with it's swirled chocolate design and smelt wonderfully fruity when the pack was unsealed! ... so what was the problem? Well my hatred of 'Popping Candy' got taken to new levels today. The ghastly stuff not only ruined the perfectly melting mouth feel textures of the chocolate, but it also caused the slab to have the most annoying and disgusting sticky layer on it's outer sides. This made it nigh on impossible to handle without creating a mess, which came at great frustration to everyone that tried it. This was such a shame as the chocolates were as usual fantastic and the cherry influence was real tasting and nicely implemented. The inclusion of the 'Popping Candy' was understandable given the flavour theme they were going for, though part of me thinks it would have been much more wise to implement it in a far smaller volume. I wouldn't buy this one again - Hotel Chocolat have such far greater things to offer.
6.8 out of 10
Overall the scores pretty much tell the story here. If you want my recommendations then I say the Neapolitan Nibble is your best bet. Personally I would be more inclined to buy the Hotel Chocolat Summer Peepster Collection what with it offering the glorious Eton Mess, Tiramisu and Mississippi chocolates. I hope you enjoyed the reviews today - let me know what you think of these yourselves.