Review of a whole heap of Hotel Chocolat summer chocolates. Fun bites flavoured with fruit, alcohol and caramel as well as those modelled on classic British summer puddings.
Chocolate is an all year round necessity in this household. We have our favourites of course, but we also like to change things up a bit and try new brands, styles and flavours. We get especially excited by those that reflect the seasons as they pass. Hotel Chocolat’s summer chocolates do just that.
Hotel Chocolat Summer Collection
Thoughts of summer conjure up Wimbledon, garden parties, fetes and weddings. Colourful berries and champagne reign supreme. Hotel Chocolat knows this and their box of delights covers both. You’ll find melt in the mouth champagne truffles, fruity flavours and a lolly. You can’t have summer without a lolly.
The flavours are exquisite and there are a few surprises to be had too. As you’d expect from a collection though, there is more to these summer chocolates than just berries and champagne. You’ll find something here that will appeal to most tastes with a mix of solid chocolate, smooth mousses and sumptuous truffles covered in white, milk or dark chocolate.
The box comes in cool colours to beat off that summer heat. We should be so lucky. It’s tied with a white ribbon and is decorated with a cocoa pod and leaf motif. It’s also sturdy enough to be reused. The chocolates arrived in perfect condition as all are well packaged, with most of the packing material being recylable. The collection retails at £35.
So, what exactly will you find in the Hotel Chocolat Summer Collection? Here goes.
White chocolate is rarely a favourite with me. I generally find it to be just too sweet and sometimes a bit cloying. The six Cherry Jubilee chocolates turned out to be one of my absolute favourites however and poor CT didn’t get a look-in.
The flavours and textures of these chunky squares married together extraordinarily well I found. A layer of sour cherry cream is topped with crispy praline and then covered in smooth white chocolate. White chocolate pairs well with fruit and the sour notes of the cherries offset the sweet creaminess of the chocolate very nicely.
A pack of eight pretty pink, yellow and dark chocolate domes. The secret raspberry here is pure genius. It’s not, as I’d assumed inside the chocolate, no that is reserved for the passionfruit cream, which tastes of actual passionfruit – hooray!
The raspberry is in the 70% dark chocolate shell. These are a taste sensation made for people like me who adore both raspberries and passionfruit. Tart fruit and rich chocolate combine to make something that is akin to how I imagine chocolate sherbet would be.
These nineteen chocolates are best served chilled, according to the instructions. There was no danger of these being served in any other way as it’s been so grey and chilly here over the last few days.
Thank goodness for a box of chocolates filled with the flavours of summer and a fair bit of alcohol too. There is something in the box to suit different flavour preferences, but given that there is only one of most of the chocolates, you might want to sample them all yourself – in the spirit of experimentation you understand.
You’ll find mostly fruity numbers in this box, including the afore mentioned cherry jubilee and secret raspberry, although the latter is actually called passion fruit and raspberry smoothie this time around. The creaminess of white chocolate can offset the sharpness of some fruits and seven of these chocolates are enrobed with it. Other fruit flavours include: lemon, lime, blackcurrant, strawberry and mango.
Banana is an unusual chocolate filling and I was slightly dubious before I tried the banana smoothie. It turned out, of course, to be a firm favourite. A smooth intense banana cream combines beautifully with the 40% milk chocolate shell.
Not everything in this box is fruity, however, champagne, fudge, ganache and chocolate mousse all make an appearance. As previously mentioned, alcohol plays a starring role. The mojito, for instance, packs a powerful punch. Filled with a smooth rum and mint cream, the lime seems to reside in the white chocolate shell and is thoroughly delicious.
Creamed Caramel Puddles
This 110g bag of puddles consists of bite-sized milk chocolate discs flavoured with caramel that are made to fit perfectly in the roof or your mouth. That’s my favourite way to eat them anyway. Savoured like this, they melt ever so slowly and flood the tastebuds with varying notes of chocolate and mellow caramel. Just wonderful.
Raspberry & Caramel Lolly
A Hotel Chocolat Summer Collection would not be complete without a lolly and a chocolate lolly is my kind of lolly. This two toned 36g flavour bomb on a stick is where zingy raspberry meets creamy milk chocolate flavoured with caramel. What more can I say?
Mini Champagne Truffles
This 85g bag contains fifteen exquisite balls of delight. If you like champagne and chocolate, you will adore these. Milk chocolate shells are dusted with a little icing sugar and filled with milk chocolate ganache flavoured with real champagne. You can taste it too.
Summer Desserts Selection
As you know, I’m never one to say no to chocolate, so when I was given the opportunity to review some more goodies from Hotel Chocolat, I gave a graceful (possibly) assent. I’ve been rather spoilt by artisan chocolates over the past year or so, which means I’m not as enthusiastic about Hotel Chocolat as I once was. But for a high street chain and a large online seller, Hotel Chocolat are probably the best. June 2011.
As summer is reportedly here, I chose the Sleekster Summer Desserts Selection to review. A 300g box of eight assorted flavours, all “inspired by the classic desserts that we all simply adore”. Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So without further ado, here goes.
CT did the honours and went blindfold for the taste testing. Perhaps not surprisingly, given that he’s a super taster, he didn’t do too badly. Overall, we thought this was a very nice box of chocolates to receive. But I do wish they were a little less sweet.
This white chocolate truffle didn’t much resemble the summer pudding I know, very fruity and rather tart. These were creamy rather than fruity and not at all tart, although the berry flavour was there. It reminded CT of that good old 70s favourite raspberry ripple ice-cream, enjoyable but a bit articficial.
This was a rather yummy milk chocolate praline, which is one of my all time favourite chocolates. It was a good chunky one too with a pronounced nutty flavour. It didn’t remind me of a brownie, but who cares. CT tasted hazelnut immediately and was pleased by the rich and creamy flavour.
Meant to be reminiscent of another 70s classic, I thought this was rather nice. CT, however found it a bit cloying. Strangely, he thought it smelt of dark chocolate although it actually tasted of white and had a sweet strawberry flavour.
For me, this is the one that most resembled its name and my favourite. Just like a dish of Eton Mess, it was creamy with a good strawberry flavour and the regulation bits of meringue were present and correct. CT identified this as strawberry meringue and enjoyed the lightness of the truffle.
This reminded me of an upmarket bounty with its milk chocolate and pieces of coconut. It reminded CT of balti houses rather than bounties: that strong flavoured coconut ice-cream that cooled your mouth after an ill chosen searing hot curry – happy days!
Much sweeter than I would have expected for a dark chocolate, this was not as moussey as I would have liked. CT smelt the dark chocolate and enjoyed the cripsness of the shell, but was not enamoured of the liquid filling. Neither of us tasted anything other than chocolate – perhaps that’s the point.
Lemon & Passion Fruit Tart
This was the tartest of the summer chocolates and really quite delicious with its lovely lemon and passion fruit flavours coming through loud and clear. When bitten into, this chocolate looked particularly good: a white chocolate outer shell covering an inner dark chocolate shell, which in turn held a fruity ganache – I meant to take a photo of the inside, but annoyingly forgot. CT was not so impressed; he tasted grapefruit and the flavour persisted rather longer than he cared for.
Red Berry Mouse
This milk chocolate shell with a raspberry and strawberry mouse was quite fragrant. I couldn’t taste the strawberry as the raspberry was quite strong, but I like raspberries so that was fine. CT, whose palate was obviously shot by now, tasted rose mixed with raspberries. Right or wrong he enjoyed it anyway.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try any of these summer chocolates, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
I was sent these Hotel Chocolat summer chocolates for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.