June 22nd: Hotel Chocolat Chocs To Chill
If the weather this last week is anything to go by I think we can safely say that Summer has officially arrived here in the UK! With every season that comes and goes we of course get the excitement of some new chocolates from a lot of the different confectionery companies. One of the manufactures who is always keen to match their product offerings to the season at hand is Hotel Chocolat and they haven't let us down for Summer 2012. Last week I was the lucky recipient of a box containing a number of samples from their Summer range for this year. Among some of the familiar looking chocolates and products I reviewed over the last few Summers, there were also a few completely new items that I will be featuring on the site in the coming weeks. With last week being the heatwave it was I thought I better start with the very apt sounding 'Chocs To Chill'.
These new 'Chocs To Chill' came in cute looking 105.0g tubs that included 24 small truffle pieces in each. As you can tell from the photos there were three variants that I got to try - Margarita, Mojito and Ice Cream Scoops. Being fully aware that I was no expert when it comes to cocktails I went about getting some taste assistants to help me out - I didn't have to look far with the rest of the family more than eager to help me out.
Here are our collective thoughts on the three flavours:
It may have been something to do with the weather but these went down extremely well and were the first ones to be polished off. It was a general consensus that the creamy, light flavoured outer chocolate was the perfect chocolate type for the fresh, zingy tasting inner creme. The Mojito centres were nothing short of superb and exactly as described with the lime and mint coming through strongly before a big kick of rum left a long lasting impression. The rum hit may be too strong for some but that wasn't a complaint of the tasting group.
8.4 out of 10
Here's a question - does anyone actually like tequila!? It's not exactly a liqueur that you hear many drink for it's taste ... not where I'm from anyways :-D I'm glad I had my tasting panel at hand for these as I was told I was being a little harsh on them. For me the tequila influence was just way too strong - the 40.0% milk chocolate and other orange fruit flavours became completely obsolete as soon as the truffle center was encountered. As someone who doesn't enjoy tequila this wasn't good news in my book though I'm willing to concede another person with a differing opinion may well think they are excellent. The rest of my panel thought they were 'nice' but certainly preferred the other two flavours.
7.0 out of 10
I thought they missed a trick with these! Within the tub there were two separate flavours with the milk chocolate and strawberry creme combo pieces, and then the dark chocolate with chocolate creme ones. The first of which I've just described were great and got a 360 tumbs up bringing together both creamy chocolate and fruity, real tasting strawberry. The latter variety however weren't met with the same levels of enthusiasm as they simply were as interesting taste wise. They delivered a delicious, powerful chocolatey flavour hit, however the inner chocolate creme failed to build on the dark chocolate outer shells making them a little boring next to some really lively flavoured variants. My mother suggested they could have used white chocolate shells and then dark chocolate inner creme, as that way they would also have got the total Neapolitan effect which would have also been more visually striking. These were well liked but were still a distant second to the Mojito variant.
7.8 out of 10
Overall these were all on the whole well received but there were a few things that they could have done which could have made them even better. As I've made mention to above just a few minor ammends to the Margarita and Ice Cream Scoops could have brought them to the standard of the Mojito flavour which were without doubt utterly superb. I would happily recommend any of these if you like the sound of them and as a range I give them a JCM thumbs up. There's no point telling you which one I ultimately recommend from the three - I think you will have worked that one out already.