December 11th: Hotel Chocolat Sleekster The Classic Christmas Selection

Us reviewing Hotel Chocolat's Christmas selection boxes is about as inevitable as the big day itself landing on December 25th :-) Yes indeed we have been taste testing our way through many a Hotel Chocolat Christmas sampling package and today we bring you our thoughts on the 'Classic Christmas Selection'. Remember all ChocolateMission can get 10% off their online orders by inputting the discount code CMISSIONHCWIN10 at the checkout.

This box came billed as "The essential collection of our finest Christmas chocolates - just perfect for sharing and mingling". The 300.0g box contains offering 28 chocolates comprised of 12 different festive varieties. The presentation and packaging as you would expect is top notch. The outer cardboard box was deemed both eye-catching and festive with the bright use of colours and gold and silver decorative pattern work. As you will see below the chocolates were also suitably crafted with some real standout pieces. Onto the taste test....

In the photo above you see the Marzipan & Amaretto, Christmas Mess and Cranberry Cup. The all new Marzipan & Amaretto was well received by the taste test team with the combination of dark chocolate and boozie nutty almond an instant hit. The Christmas Mess whilst not as spectacular visually as the usual Eton Mess was a very similar offering combining a delightful fruity cranberry ganache and strawberry mousse with crunchy meringue sprinkles. The Cranberry Cup was a little sharper with a more everlasting tang.

The next few we tried were the solid chocolate options - The Dark Chocolate Christmas Tree, the Milk Chocolate Christmas Bauble and the White Chocolate Christmas Bell. As you can imagine the taste testing of all three of these were very positive with each of the team opting for their preferred chocolate type. The white chocolate bell had it's usual plethora of vanilla tones, whilst the dark chocolate offered a less sweet, cocoa rich option to the cream laden milk chocolate - top quality all round.

The three above are the Rum Punch, Nutmeg & Almond Praline and Mulled Port options. The Mulled Port was a piece we very recently tried in the Autumn Sleekster and was welcomed for it's return with it's creamy outer milk chocolate and spiced fruit cream centre. The Rum Punch wasn't too far departed with it's strong orangey tones however the aftertaste featured a hefty rum kick to ensure it was differentiated enough to warrant inclusion. The Nutmeg & Almond was one of the larger pieces in the selection and was lauded for having a very Christmassy taste with it's dark chocolate confines and creamy, nutty inner nutmeg centre - it was a real winner with the team.

The final four we tested were the Pistcahio Praline Crunch, Chambord Royale, Caramel Supernova and Praline Crisp Star. Both the star shaped chocolates were delightful and ever so pretty eye. The Caramel Supernova paired a rich outer 70% dark chocoalte and sinfully sweet gooey caramel center, and the Praline Crisp a textural masterpiece with crunchy bits of feuilletine decorating the epically soft melting praline truffle center. The Pistachio Praline Crunch was consistent in it's high quality from the Autumn selection - a concofony of salty nut cream flavours set among a lovely milk chocolate cup. Last but by no means least the Chambord Royale capped our tasting session and finished things off on a refreshing boozie note with a champagne noted vanilla white chocolate surrounding a tart raspberry liqueur flavoured centre.

Overall in-line with all expectations this Hotel Chocolat The Classic Christmas Selection did exactly what it promised and delivered a fine collection of chocolates that we well matched for the Christmas holiday season. The whole package is well designed with attention to detail shown both on the design of the box and the inner chocolates with some very intricately sculpted truffles. If your preference is to pick and choose certain truffles in their selector format then our suggestions would be to prioritize heading in the direction of the Caramel Supernova, Pistachio Praline Crunch and Nutmeg & Almond truffles. Those are the standouts but to be honest the whole collection is special enough to choose for gifting or treating oneself. ChocolateMission recommended.

8.5 out of 10