Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s Heart
After weeks of expecting an exciting parcel of chocolate to arrive through the post, I’d pretty much given up on receiving it in time to review for Valentine’s Day. This chocolate heart from Hotel Chocolat only made it to my door with hours to spare so hasn’t left me time to give it a thorough review. I did, however, give it a thorough chewing over; in fact I managed to demolish the entire lot within two days and CT didn’t get a look in!
Hotel Chocolat have a lot of fun when it comes to naming their products and this one goes under the name of Open Your Heart To Me or as CT quipped “this is the kind of open heart surgery I thoroughly approve of”. I was very much taken by the chunky heart shell which coyly hid the chocolates within. A good milk chocolate is always a joy to eat and although I would prefer a higher percentage of cocoa, the 40% contained in this milk chocolate was high enough to deliver a genuinely pleasurable experience. It was sweet and milky without being sickly and it had the toffee notes I associate with Hotel Chocolat’s house milk. Parts of the shell were good and thick which is how I remember my Easter eggs being when I was a child – and Wagon Wheels were enormous back then too!
Intrigued by the thought of Strawberry & Black Pepper as well as the Chilli Caramel, I was really looking forward to trying these particular chocolates. My disappointment would have been obvious to any onlookers when I found there was only one of each inside the heart. In fact there were only eight chocolates all together. I did know this before it arrived, but still managed to feel crestfallen.
Strawberry & Black Pepper – distinctive black pepper, covered in dark chocolate, but I didn’t really pick up the flavour of strawberry although the filling itself was tart. This wasn’t as delicious as I thought it was going to be, in fact it was my least favourite and after all that anticipation too!
Soft Chilli Caramel – lovely liquid caramel that had the kick to it that I was hoping for. There was no doubting that the back of my throat recognised chilli. The caramel was delicious and contrasted well with the dark chocolate, although more caramel and slightly less chocolate would have improved it further.
Vanilla Truffle – biting through the milk chocolate shell, I tasted vanilla custard and it was totally delicious. Vanilla bean seeds were liberally distributed throughout this white chocolate ganache.
Raspberry Rapture – tart flavoursome raspberries in a white chocolate ganache wrapped up in a milk chocolate shell – also delicious.
Smooth Praline – it’s hard to beat a good hazelnut praline and I was not disappointed by this one. Smooth, creamy and flavoursome, wrapped in a milk chocolate shell, this was, if my repetition may be excused, delicious.