December 7th: Hotel Chocolat Christmas 2012 Bits n Bobs Part #2

You must know the score by now ... Hotel Chocolat's Christmas range 2012 ... the good and the great ....

Hotel Chocolat Chocs to Chill Christmas 2012 Ice Cream Flavours - Sticky Toffee and Rum & Raisin

Hotel Chocolat have seemingly taken the best of their Summer chocs and have given them a Christmas makeover. Cast your minds back to the glorious British summer time and you may recall me reviewing these Hotel Chocolat Chocs to Chill - See HERE. The three flavours in June didn't quite light up the ChocolateMission scoring charts, but the sound of these two new flavours gave me hope we might be in for better this time around - Sticky Toffee and Rum & Raisin. Here are my thoughts on them:
Hotel Chocolat Chocs to Chill Rum & Raisin Ice Cream
If there was a criticism to be made of the Summer Chocs to Chill it was that the alcohol theme came over way too powerfully so the rum inclusive proposition was one I approached with caution. Thankfully fears were laid to rest from the very first few I popped in my mouth. The outer milk chocolate melted with a lovely smoothness that was only superseded by the softer truffle that lay inside. The filling was laced with both cream and sweet fruit flavours - no whole raisins to be found but the flavours most definitely there.The rum element was subdued by Hotel Chocolat standards but that worked perfectly for me. The hint of golden rum added both flavour and warmth to the cool feeling creme. Thumbs up.

8.1 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Chocs to Chill Sticky Toffee Ice Cream 
In a moment of madness I decided to share these among colleagues at work - I should learn huh!? Quelle surprise the combination of milk chocolate outer shells and sticky toffee fillings were given a seal of approval by one and all. Texturally these were a dream with the chocolate melting with it's usual smooth,thickness to reveal a looser, liquid filling inside. When properly chilled the sticky toffee did genuinely create a liquid ice cream type effect and was fast at establishing some incredibly moreish butterscotch caramel flavours. As I said my only regret with these was being the decent guy I am and sharing them out :-)

8.2 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Hazelnut Buche Dark & Nutty
I think we almost accuse these guys of cheating now! After seeing how much I enjoyed their Mini Hazelnut Buche last month, the guys at Hotel Chocolat HQ went one stage further and sent across across a full 160.0g version of their Dark & Nutty Buche. This one comprised of dark chocolate gianduja chocolate that was studded with a wealth of whole pistachio and hazelnut pieces - boy was it lovely. The dark chocolate ginaduja melted liked butter in the mouth and was brimming with rich cocoa and nutty flavours - one word - sinful!! Dont think for one minute the nuts were to be lost in the midst of chocolatey goodness now! They were crunchy and fresh as could be and established delicious savoury, woody, salty flavours that took the taste to whole new levels of brilliance. I needn't say more - Hotel Chocolat gianduja plus some serious nut content was always going to be a winner. Highly recommended for enjoying alongisde a nice coffee/hot chocolate on those cold Christmas nights.

9.0 out of 10

Hotel Chocolat Dasher's Dream
Rounding us off today we have something for those with plainer tastes! This Hotel Chocolat Dasher's Dream is a fun looking chocolate mini slab that simply combines both milk and white chocolate. Placed in the centre, Dasher the reindeer and the surrounding snowflake meringue pieces create a very friendly looking chocolate that is just perfect for kiddie gifting. Though highly suitable for kids, the quality of the chocolate makes this a product that I think would be warmly received all round. The 40.0% milk chocolate is laden with cream and sweet cocoa, whilst the white chocolate offers much the same but with stronger vanilla milk tones. Simple but recommended.

8.0 out of 10