December 19th: Hotel Chocolat The Dark Christmas Collection

Another day and another Hotel Chocolat Christmas selection box has been devoured here at ChocolateMission HQ. The box on show today is the Hotel Chocolat The Dark Christmas Collection. This collection came billed as 'A selection of 19 of our finest festive dark chocolate truffles, pralines, caramels and more, all beautifully finished and ready to wow'. That my friends is certainly confidence for you but I wasn't doubting them given my past experience with Hotel Chocolat's previous dark chocolate expertise.

This 19 strong collection of chocolates weighed in at 185.0g and came presented in a very stylish looking 'hat box'. I'm not too sure what makes this a 'hat box' (perhaps the shape!??), but I thought it looked very classy nonetheless and the gold and white colour scheme gave it both a festive and prestigious feel. The selection contained ten different chocolates - some I've reviewed before and some that were all new to me. Here is what I made of them.

The first one is see above is a dark chocolate variation of the Christmas Mess and included the usual berry mousse centre and dried strawberry and meringue piece decorations. Impressions were this was still a lovely looking and tasting chocolate, however the creamier white chocolate used on the originals was to the preference of the tasting panel.

The next two you see are the Salted Soft Caramels and 70% Dark Chocolate Tree. Little needs saying about the tree piece - delicious, rich dark chocolate in a fun Christmas shape. The caramels as expected were one of our favourites in the box. The buttery, salted soft centres were tremendously complimentary of the outer chocolate and unsurprisingly these were gone withing minutes of the box being opened.

On the left you have the Vanilla Dream and on the right the Snowball. The vanilla truffle had a subtle boozie taste to it and left a lovely sweet, warm sensation in the mouth once the soft centre had melted away. The Snowball chocolate was very similar, though the alcohol of the advocaat flavours came through a bit stronger and had more of an impact on the overall taste. My personal preference was with the less boozier of the two, though there were mixed opinions on the taste panel.

It wouldn't be a Hotel Chocolat box without a Rum Truffle and that is exactly what you see on the left above. For me the rum hit was a little too strong but I did enjoy the lovely warming alcohol sensation brought on by the revelation of the centre melt. The piece on the right there is the Christmas Cake. I remarked upon this piece in earlier reviews, though I'm happy to reiterate that it was a very competent chocolate with lovely notes of nutmeg, cinammon spices and fruity cranberry and orange. A real winner trust me!!

The Old Man was delighted to see these make an appearance - The Whisky Truffle! Again I wasn't too much enamored by the uber strong whisky flavours that had a fierce impact upon filling revelation, but I did again very much love the warming mouth feel. I did leave most of these for the OM to enjoy!

These final two are the Clementine Truffle and Rum & Raisin Truffle chocolates. The Clementine Truffle felt very suitable for the festive nature of the box and gave a tremendous rich dark chocolate orange experience that felt very appropriate and Christmassy. The Rum & Raisin Truffle also felt suitably matched for the theme of the box and though the alcohol flavours were again strong, the creamy fruit sweetness of the centre tempered them to enjoyable levels.

Overall if you are after a Christmas themed box of chocolate suitable for a dark chocolate lover then you need look little further than this Hotel Chocolat The Dark Christmas Collection. The box contains a lovely array of different flavours, fruits, spices and liqueurs and they all come coated in Hotel Chocolat's amazing 70% dark chocolate. Something Hotel Chocolat also always take pride in is their attention to detail and both the box and truffles inside make this a fantastically presented, classy looking selection that anyone should feel proud to either gift or receive (my preference with the latter!!). Does it get a ChocolateMission recommendation? You bet it does!

8.8 out of 10