Christmas is a time to indulge. And what can be more indulgent than chocolate? Everyone adores Hotel Chocolat Christmas chocolates, so take a look and you’re bound to get excited. The collections may change, but the chocolates remain interesting, flavoursome and fun to look at.
Hotel Chocolat Christmas Chocolates: The Signature Collection
Now there isn’t much that is more likely to get me into the festive spirit than some decadent Christmas chocolates. So when The Signature Christmas Collection from Hotel Chocolat arrived on my doorstep, a rendition of Jingle Bells involuntarily emerged from my throat.
The design of the box is elegant; this immediately sets you up for an expectation of nights of sophistication and indulgence. The box wouldn’t look out of place in a milliners piled on top of all the other hat boxes. However, when I opened it, I was not met by a fascinator but concentric rings of chocolates laid out like gems in a display cabinet.
The collection consists of nineteen chocolates with eleven different flavours, which as you might expect are full of spices, nuts and alcohol. The very flavours of Christmas. It’s a diverse mix with something for everyone: dark, white and milk with centres including truffles, pralines, marzipan and caramel.
As already mentioned, alcohol features too. I’m not much of a drinker, but I do find a drop of something strong combines well with chocolate and adds a pleasant warmth as well as a feeling of decadence.
There are some unusual flavours as well, which for me adds to the excitement and allure. If you can no longer fit into your sparkly ball gown, don’t worry, a box of these by the fire, alone (or with friends) will provide ample solace.
What Chocolates Are Included?
For the purposes of review, ahem, it was encumbent that I sampled every one. So, in the order in which I tried them:
A truffle containing Hotel Chocolat’s own ruby port and spiced with pimento leaf and bitter orange was the first to catch my eye. Not only did I like the sound of it, but with my love of warm colours, the bright orange and ruby top drew me in.
The inside of the truffle caught me by surprise; I was expecting a dark ganache, but the colour is lilac, which doesn’t really make me think of mulled wine. The flavours are all present and correct however and the chocolate leaves a warmth in the back of the throat and a spiciness on the tongue. CT particularly liked this one.
Hacienda lara Dark Salted Caramel 90%
Ooh my, this chocolate is amazing. For such a dark chocolate, it’s rich like I’d expected, but also smooth and not at all bitter. It melts beautifully in the mouth releases a sumptuous salted caramel as it does so. Made with organic beans from Ecuador, this one got an extra seal of approval from me. Sadly, there was only one of these in the box. Poor CT.
Pistachio Praline Crunch
There is something so exotic about pistachios, I just can’t resist them; I find their green colour fascinating. They have such a delicate flavour, it’s easy to overwhelm them and I do feel the addition of cherry pieces and rose here is a little heavy handed.
This is marzipan flavoured with orange liqueur and wrapped in dark chocolate. I adore marzipan, so I was not going to miss out on this one. I enjoyed it, but feel the dark chocolate shell is too thick and rather overwhelms the marzipan. However, it does leave a lovely warm taste in the mouth from the orange liqueur which is particularly pleasing.
White Caramel Pralines
An unusual mix of praline and caramel that work surprisingly well together. Both layers are delicious in their own right, but mixed together they’re more than the sum of their parts. The heavenly flavour of hazelnut permeates the palate. Nice.
Filled with four layers of different shades of pink fruitiness and creamy white chocolate ganache in a dark chocolate cup, these are a lovely mouthful and pretty to boot. They’re flavoured with strawberries and meringue sprinkles for authenticity but with tart cranberries too for that touch of Christmas.
I just can’t resist a caramel. Salted ones are my absolute favourite, but any liquid caramel is likely to do it for me at some level. This one is delicious despite the lack of salt, with the caramel notes coming out loud and strong. I often find caramel far too sweet. But the sugar in this ones doesn’t overpower. And in any case, the 70% dark chocolate shell counterbalances it perfectly.
Rum & Raisin Truffle
Now this took me right back to my favourite bar of Old Jamaica when I was young only this really did taste of rum. My mouth not only filled up with nostalgia, but also with a warming melange of alcohol, nutmeg and orange. If you fancy something similar in cake form, try baking these rum and raisin cupcakes.
Hacienda lara 63% Ganache Milk
A sophisticated and not too sweet truffle this was one of my favourites. Like the first Hacienda, this chocolate is made with organic beans from Ecuador and it leaves a rich chocolate taste in the mouth.
I often find white chocolate a bit too sweet and cloying to eat on its own. Luckily, this one is filled with a tart cranberry ganache that brings out the creaminess of the chocolate rather than its sweetness.
Nutmeg & Almond Pralines
Pralines used to be my favourite chocolate. If ever I was offered a chocolate from a box, it was always the pralines I went far. These days, I generally find them too sweet, which is a real shame. Less sugar and more nuts wouldn’t go amiss.
This one, however, is a delight. The chocolate on the outside is sweeter than the almond praline and it tastes nutty. It’s also surprisingly smooth and the hint of nutmeg gives it a sophisticated air. You never know, it might rub off on me.
Hotel Chocolat Christmas Chocolates: Mini Crackers
To my delight, a box of ten mini crackers from Hotel Chocolat arrived in the post recently. All dolled up in one of my favourite colours, gold, these would certainly grace my Christmas table and indeed, I hope they will.
Each cracker contains a filled chocolate covered with the classic Hotel Chocolat 40% milk chocolate and they all sound scrumptious:
- Rhubarb Fool – rhubarb and white chocolate mousse
- Billionaire Shortbread – caramel, cookies and praline
- Berry Mousse – raspberry and strawberry mousse
- Cinnamon Praline – hazelnut praline spiced with cinnamon
- Milk Truffle – as described by the title, a milk chocolate truffle
As I’d really like to keep these for Christmas, I haven’t actually opened any of the crackers. Not even to try one chocolate. Once started I’d find it too hard to resist eating the lot.
But I have been wondering how to use them when the time comes. They would make luxurious place name tags for a festive dinner setting or would even look good decoratively scattered around the Christmas table. Stocking fillers are another thought, or how about a Christmas gift tag? You could even hang them on the Christmas tree. I’m a big fan of edible decorations.
What would you do with them?
Hotel Chocolat Christmas Chocolates: Giant Christmas Cracker
Well, how fantastic is a giant Christmas cracker stuffed full of Christmas cheer from Hotel Chocolat? I’d say fantastic indeed and I’m really looking forward to cracking it open on Christmas Day this year.
I shall be ensconced at the ancestral pile with the extended family and this super sized 64 cm long cracker will certainly come in handy. Last year the mini crackers went down well, but I think this is likely to really wow the gathered clan.
The cracker has the cool mid-winter colours of silver and white but with icy blue highlights. It captures the season well and depicts a wintery scene with spare drawings of trees and deer. The sparsity of the outside belies the abundance within. Because it’s packed to the gunwales with chocolates – 40 to be precise.
Inside, you’ll find 22 individual white and silver wrapped packages. Because yes, most of them contain two chocolates. Everyone should find something they like as there are various types and flavours, including dark, milk and white. The identity of each is thoughtfully provided on the wrappers.
The flavours of Christmas are well represented, including: Christmas Mess, Gianduja & Clementine, Gingerbread Truffle, Mulled Wine Truffles, Champagne Truffles and even a Pink Champagne Truffle. I was pleased to discover my favourite Sea Salt & Caramel, but as there is only one I might have to:
- Hide it
- Eat it now
- Get first dibs on the day
- Engage in some wrapper swapping
- Relax, be generous, it’s Christmas
The cracker, which retails at £38, also comes with 12 silver hats and a silver envelope containing jokes which apparently “may not contain humour”. Some traditions will never die, no matter how much we wish them to. It comes in a sturdy box with a carry handle, useful should you need to accompany Good King Wenceslas through the snow. Knowing our luck, it won’t be deep and crisp and even.
Hotel Chocolat Box of Delights
Check this video out to see what’s hiding in the Hotel Chocolat box of delights. All I can say is, I wish I’d been there.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try any of these Hotel Chocolates Christmas chocolates, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Hotel Chocolat sent these Christmas chocolates to try. I’m not expected 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.