I always love it when I pop into my local Hotel Chocolat store and am greeted with some new limited edition selector packs; having pretty much exhausted all of the regular range that I am interested in, it's always nice to see a few new additions. I'd heard a lot of good things about the Summer Selectors this year, in particular the Choc Fudge Sundae; however it was the Peanut & Bananas that mainly appealed to me...and whilst I was in could I really resist the Summer Cooler!
We'll kick things off with the Choc Fudge Sundae; a toffee fudge sauce topped with a hazelnut milk chocolate praline in a milk chocolate cup. I can certainly see why this has got such rage reviews as it's utterly delicious - the hazelnut praline is smooth and exquisite; as Hotel Chocolat's pralines always are, with the toffee fudge sauce being sweet and sticky. The texture of the chocolate is what completely makes it; it's almost a light fudge like texture contrasting with the smooth thick liquid caramel. My only one qualm - it tastes nothing like a chocolate fudge sundae; it's a beautiful creamy praline/caramel chocolate but of all the ice cream chocolate fudge sundaes I've tried I can't say it tastes like it.
Moving on to the Peanut & Bananas; as I've said numerous times, I love peanut butter chocolates and I always find banana flavours interesting as they are quite hard to carry off well without it becoming too artificial or sickly. This chocolate consists of a peanut praline with a smooth banana ganache underneath; the banana flavour isn't strong whatsoever, quite subtle and just lingers in the background. I debated whilst eating it whether they should have made it a bit stronger but came to the conclusion that I think if they had it would have been too sickly sweet; it's better to let the delicious peanut praline steal the show with its delicious nutty flavours.
Finally finishing on something slightly more unusual; I've noticed this year that cucumber seems to be a frequent addition to many products, drinks, desserts and now in this chocolate, along with apple and mint in a ganache wrapped in vanilla white chocolate. In all honesty the idea of cucumber in a chocolate wasn't one that initially seemed massively appealing to me; but it sounded unusual so I was opening to giving it a go. I'm glad to say that I'm extremely pleased that I did as it was absolutely gorgeous - the apple and cucumber flavours work so well together being light and refreshing but also having a slight sharp tang, whilst I think that the mint white chocolate was certainly the best choice to use for this chocolate as it adds a lovely creamy sweetness with the mint providing an added "zing" to the chocolate.
Overall I would highly recommend all three of these chocolates and I'd be hard pushed to actually choose a favourite; I'd say go for them all!
Taste - 9/10 - All delicious, rich, satisfying and indulgent.
Texture - 9.3/10 - Again all deliver on a great level but I think that the Choc Fudge Sundae pips the other two for its rich, fudgy, almost chewy texture.
Appearance - 8/10 - All look great and I'm glad that Hotel Chocolat have started adding nutritional information onto their packaging.
Price - 7.4/10 - They're priced at £3.85 each or £3.25 for 3+.
Overall - 8.4/10 - One word, amazing.
WHO FOR?I think the Selectors are great to pick up just to have in the house so you can have a couple of chocolates as a treat after your meal on an evening.
WHERE TO BUY?
You'll be able to buy them in Hotel Chocolat stores now, or online here.