August 6th: Hotel Chocolat H-Box Taste of Summer 2012 Selection

Whilst some chocolate companies 'shut up shop' during the summer months and go quiet on the new product front, Hotel Chocolat have never been one to conform. Yes the HC think tank has been working in over drive again this year and they have updated their Summer selection boxes with several innovative chocolate truffle flavours.

This Hotel Chocolat H-Box Taste of Summer 2012 Selection is a 160.0g pack that contains 12 ... yes ... 12 different chocolates inside. The poor 'Old Man' was working overtime snapping all of these. Suffice to say he was rewarded with many a chocolate so please look out for some extra input from the rest of my family who were more than happy to lend me their tasting palettes. Passing comment on the packaging and presentation of the product almost seems pointless - I'm sure you can all see it was all up to the usual HC standards. Here are our thoughts on the chocolates:

Bucks Fizz - I think this chocolate would have been better with a milder chocolate type as the dark outer shell and stronger orange influence dominated the lighter champagne lick. It was unsual to come across an HC alcohol infused chocolate that didn't have a strong enough boozie kick. Standard.

Mocha Frappe - We all know I like my coffee strong so the promise of a 'light airy coffee' centre didn't fill me with the greatest of confidence. Unfortunately it was indeed a little on the non-substantial side and though the coffee element was detectable it wasn't one that left a lasting impression. Standard.

Berry Mousse - Previously reviewed. Good. See HERE

Blackberry Mousse - This was a really tremendous chocolate that combined an outer shell of white chocolate with a blackberry infused soft center. The mixture of the two was spot on for me with the sweet white chocolate beautifully mellowing the sharper, tartier flavours of the blackberry. Very Good.

Orange Praline - Previously reviewed. Very Good. See HERE

Lemon Curd Truffles - These were cute mini chocolates that were about half the size of the others in the selection. These were especially enjoyable when they had been chilled and the creamy, sweet white chocolate perfectly balanced the cool, silky smooth lemon centres. Very Good.

Chocolate Ice Cream - Previously reviewed  Good. See HERE

Chocolate & Orange Pot - This chocolate was essentially the same as the orange praline but sans the hazelnut. Personally I preferred the chocolate with the nut element, however my mother was more enthusiastic about this one where the orange just had a little more longevity and prominence. Very Good.

Mango Creme Brulee - This was one of the stand out pieces in the selection for me. This milk chocolate had the fruitiest, real tasting mango infused cream centre and it was topped off by a lovely trickle of buttery caramel. It was a amazing how the cream, fruit and sweet caramel flavours all came to the fore in such a small bite-size piece. Superb.

Summer Pudding - Previously reviewed. Very Good. See HERE.

Prosecco & Raspberry - Well this one woke me up :-D This truffle had a real boozie kick and that added to the sharper raspberry fruit made for a very strong flavoured chocolate. Personally it wasn't one of my favorites but this might of been my under prepared taste buds for the alcohol lick. My mother liked the one she tried! Good.  

Eton Mess - Previously reviewed (Yes still as amazing as ever!!). Superb. See HERE

Overall I thought this was a good selection of truffles from Hotel Chocolat and I have to compliment them on their willingness to shake things up on the variety front every year. Changing up the flavours not only creates an element of excitement, but when they are as good as say the Mango Creme Brulee it also shows they are also committed to keeping the quality high. After full consultation of my tasting panel I would present the Eton Mess, Blackberry Mousse and aforementioned Mango Creme Brulee as the stand out pieces. Though I'm more of a guy that prefers the dark chocolates, pralines and caramels, my Mother is rather partial to Hotel Chocolat's fruit flavours so this selection was got a big thumbs up from her.

8.4 out of 10