So it begins ...!! Yes indeed folks the Hotel Chocolat pack of Easter samples has been with us here in the JCM household for a few weeks now and we've been busy doing our taste testing research - what a hardship eh :D !? As you will see over the coming weeks the 'Old Man' has got all creative with his photography lately. I'm sure he will be welcome of any feedback you wish to send my way on the JCM Twitter feed whether good or bad (See @Chocmission).
Kicking us off this year with the Hotel Chocolat Easter reviews we have one of the totally new products created for 2012. These Hotel Chocolat Choc Cross Buns were one of the products that leapt out at me when I was requesting my samples from the prospective catalog. The sound of 'milk chocolate cups filled with vanilla mousse, cinnamon, ginger and a whole raisin' sounded like an intriguing and innovative idea - certainly not one I had seen attempted before in a chocolate truffle. Thankfully this was a case of ask and you shall recieve, and Hotel Chocolat sent me a pack that contained six truffles.
As aforementioned the JCM tasting panel aka. my family has been in full action and between the four of us there were some interesting opinions on these Choc Cross Buns. One thing we were all aligned on was on the quality of the exterior milk chocolate. There isn't a single one of us who doesn't both like and appreciate the quality of the 40% Hotel Chocolat milk chocolate, it really is one of the finest recipes out there and the full bodied creamy cocoa taste is one that is consistently appreciated by one and all. Opinions however did differ when it came to the hot cross bun filling at the centre of each truffle. Personally I thought the thick textured mousse was very tasty, and I thought it encapsulated all the spice and fruit elements of hot cross buns extremely effectively. On the other side of the fence though, my mother raised the issue that it was too dominant over the chocolate, and that the cinnamon especially was a little strong and controlling of the overall taste. Whilst I disagreed with this I will admit that they weren't the most satisfying of chocolates given that they had light fillings and not so thick milk chocolate.
Overall though these somewhat divided opinion in the JCM household, I should think they will have have far more proponents than not amongst the general public. I think my mother has got a point with the dominance of the filling over the chocolate, but for me it wasn't an issue of great significance since I really enjoy cinnamon flavoured chocolates. I will say that if you are expecting a light flavoured truffle because of the 'mousse' textured centres you are in for somewhat of a surprise. Both the spices and vanilla flavours come through strongly so you should be aware of that if either of those doesn't appeal to you. Personally I liked these and would feel comfortable recommending them on the basis that you like hot cross buns and desire the naturally associated flavours.
8.0 out of 10