June 17th: Hotel Chocolat Lemon Meringue Pie Giant Slab

Our latest sampling package from our friends at Hotel Chocolat contained several of their latest Summer 2013 range additions. One of the products that got our attention straight away was this Hotel Chocolat Lemon Meringue Giant Slab which aesthetically immediately stood out amongst the more classical packaged Rabot Estate chocolates which were also included. The 500.0g Giant Slab was certainly imposing visually and wrapped in its thick cardboard sleeve it further tempted us promising 'A summer-season special slab of mellow milk chocolate fused with shots of zesty lemon-flavoured white chocolate and a sprinkling of meringue pieces'.

This Lemon Meringue Pie offering sounded similar to the Lemon Cheesecake summer slab we reviewed last year (See HERE) - long story cut short that slab got a pretty mediocre review comparing it to Hotel Chocolat's usual impeccable standards. The Lemon Cheesecake was summised by Jim as 'lacking the crispness or milky freshness of other Hotel Chocolat white chocolates tried previously. The lemon influence, although real tasting in it's fruity delivery, somewhat muffled the white chocolate'. In response to this it seems Hotel Chocolat decided to replace the white chocolate with a base of 40% milk chocolate - did it fair any better!?

If you have already peeked to the score chart below you will have seen the answer to our question above was indeed - Yes it did. The substitution of the white chocolate for the milk chocolate was received warmly and it was felt that the stronger tasting base was a better foil for the sharp citrus flavour injection. The lemon influence was still a dominant aspect of the overall taste, though the creamy cocoa deliciousness of the chocolate was in most instances established well before the lemon infused white chocolate came to fruition in the latter stages of the dense melting chocolate. The meringue pieces sprinkled on top were there more for decorative purposes than flavour enhancement, though the biscuit pieces were a very welcome addition with their textural crunchyness and shortbread like influence. It was all round deemed a more satisfying chocolate to the Lemon Cheesecake of 2012.

Overall its great to see when brands listen to consumers and make product adaptations off the back of their recommendations. Whether or not Hotel Chocolat made the changes to this years Lemon themed summer offering after reading our feedback we don't know but we would like to think we had a minor influence in the changes made to what is a superior chocolate offering this year. The combination of the milk chocolate base and smaller lemon white chocolate injections ultimately made for a better tasting chocolate - we don't think that can be disputed. Add in the additional biscuit pieces to this and you end up with a really pleasant summer chocolate with a taste that is both refreshing and unique. We wouldn't consider it an all time Hotel Chocolat favourite but its one we did very much enjoy and would buy again for gifting or our own consumption.

8.2 out of 10