Given that oysters have long been considered to a great aphrodisiac, it is no surprise that oyster bars are a popular venue of choice for Valentine’s Day. It is a time to splash out, and indulge by popping open the champagne. Personally, I cannot see the romance in gulping back raw shellfish and I never have liked champagne, but fortunately Hotel Chocolat have come up with an alternative: Oysters and Champagne in chocolate form. Chocolate is of course another aphrodisiac, and one I think many would consider a lot more appealing.
Since this gift box of Oysters and Champagne is making a return appearance from previous years, they must be a success. They certainly are from a visual point of view at the very least. The 145g gift box contains six stunningly glossy milk chocolate oysters filled with hazelnut praline, which are accompanied by six sugar dusted milk chocolate pearls with a champagne ganache.
The champagne emanates a strong aroma and an even stronger flavour. The pearl’s sweet surface then makes way for a heady ganache, which although delicious, I found too powerful. If you like strong liqueurs it will suit you down to a tee, but if you prefer gentle more subtle flavours, then it could be a bit overwhelming. One pearl was enough to satisfy me, as its rich creamy texture was very filling; any more and it would have become sickly.
The oysters may not have had the same alluring smell, but their creamy innards stole the show. The chocolate’s luxuriously smooth texture is a joy and instantly melts in the mouth. In fact, the oyster is so creamy that it began to soften the moment it touched my fingers. The praline is of usual high standard; Hotel Chocolat has clearly been generous with the ratio between hazelnuts and sugar. The savoury nutty tones are the most prominent aspect; it is not sweet, but very mellow.
No one who comes bearing Hotel Chocolat’s Oysters and Champagne on Valentine’s Day is likely to face rejection. Not only do they look and taste extravagant, but their melting centre will melt also hearts.