So Halloween is over and done with; which can only mean one thing - roll on Christmas and all its festivities; although Christmas products have been in the shops for over a month now I think things always step up a gear once all of the Halloween stock has been cleared out.
I always love the seasonal ranges that Hotel Chocolat produce, I find that they're that perfect mix between quality but also affordability; yes they are a tad more expensive than the chocolates you are going to find gracing the supermarket shelves but they're not unaccesible in terms of price for most people, especially for a treat/gifting occasion.
The Christmas H-Box contains 14 chocolates, 13 different varieties, with seasonal inspired flavours/shapes.
Caramel Christmas Tree - cast in Hotel Chocolat's classic caramel chocolate; this seasonal shape is delicious, light chocolate flavours with sweet caramel and toffee undertones with a gorgeous smooth texture. I adore Hotel Chocolat's caramel chocolate.
Marzipan Merry - A marzipan chocolate isn't one I would normally choose; despite being a big fan of nuts in chocolates in terms of pralines, marzipan isn't something that I am particularly fond of, but Hotel Chocolat do it so well. No gritty overly sweet marzipan here; just light almond flavoured smooth goodness, coated in dark chocolate, this was a pleasant surprise.
Champagne Truffle - Alcohol + chocolate + I, we don't really get on that well to be honest, so again I feel like I can't fully judge this chocolate properly as I never particularly enjoy alcoholic chocolates. This does have a good boozy kick so for those of you that do enjoy a good dash of alcohol in your chocolates then you are going to love this. Of course the texture of the truffle is sublime, melt in the mouth smooth.
Bauble Truffle - A simple milk chocolate truffle can be a fine thing when executed well and this is gorgeous; smooth melt in the mouth truffle centre that is perfect to just pop into your mouth and let melt to realease all of the wonderful rich chocolate notes. Like a Lindor, but better.
Caramel Supernova - If you're a fan of Hotel Chocolat's liquid caramels then you are going to love this; in my opinion it was even better than their usual due to the thick exterior of the supernova shape; not only does it look good, but it eats brilliantly and there's 2 of these in the box. Sweet, sticky caramel goodness.
Mulled Wine - As stated above, I'm not big on alcoholic chocolates so I don't feel that I can judge this fairly; all I'll say is that you certainly get a good kick of alcohol with fruity notes from the pimento orange. I'm sure if you love mulled wine then you'll adore this.
Nutty Caramel - I've had this chocolate a few times now and still haven't got sick of it; it appeals to everything I love in a chocolate, smooth sweet rich caramel, delicious hazelnut praline, a whole hazelnut, sitting in a milk chocolate shell. Utterly delicious.
Praline Supernova - I love Hotel Chocolat's pralines and this is no exception; the chocolate exterior on this seemed a lot thicker compared to their standard pralines due to the shape of it which meant the ratio of praline:chocolate seemed a bit lower. Either way it was still delicious, with the classic nutty sweet flavours that Hotel Chocolat does so well.
Gingerbread Truffle - A lovely smooth truffle complete with gingerbread spices; a warming chocolate perfect for those winter evenings. The texture, as usual, is spot on, smooth, creamy and delicious to just pop into your mouth and let melt.
Christmas Eton Mess - A cranberry and raspberry filling coated in white chocolate and topped with meringue and dried raspberry pieces. I was a bit disappointed with this one in terms of texture; I've had Hotel Chocolat's Eton Mess/Christmas Eton Mess before and the centre is normally quite smooth and mousse like. However in this chocolate it had gone quite dry and seemed to form a complete mass with the white chocolate exterior. I'm hoping that this was just a bad batch and they haven't changed the recipe.
Almond & Nutmeg - One of my favourite chocolates in the box; I haven't seen this chocolate in store before so not sure whether it is just a winter special but it was utterly delicious. A smooth almond praline spiced with nutmeg; it evoked everything that a winter praline should. Creamy, nutty, smooth with that perfect hint of spice.
Berry Christmas - A white chocolate ganache centre with a tart berry swirl; I like that they had incorporated the 2 flavours separately as opposed to blending the berry flavour into the ganache. I felt that it gave it a creamier eat and a better overall contrast to the dark chocolate. Yum.
Christmas Gianduja - I was a tad disappointed when I found out that this gianduja was made with dark chocolate; milk would always be my preference. However that's not to say its not good; possessing rich hazelnut flavours and speckled with dried berry pieces its still a nice chocolate, I was just hoping for something a bit sweeter. Maybe next year they could offer a milk/dark variety.
Taste - 7.7/10 - A good mixed box with something that everyone should enjoy; I think despite it having alcohollic chocolates in I would still purchase it for myself as the rest of the chocolates in it are so good...I would just find another member of family/friends to give my unwanted alcoholic ones too. Again this is only down to personal preference as opposed to there being anything wrong with the chocolates.
Texture - 7.9/10 - The truffles are easily the best textured products in the whole of this box, they are sublime, I was disappointed with the Christmas Eton Mess though as I'm unsure what had happened to it as it isn't how I had experienced in the past and was far too dry.
Apperance - 9/10 - Look beautiful and come complete with a good detailed menu.
Price - 7.5/10 - £12.00 for 14 chocolates puts them under the £1 a chocolate mark; affordable and would make a lovely Christmas gift.
Overall - 8/10 - A nice selection, I'd make a couple of tweaks and am curious as to whether the Christmas Eton Mess texture is meant to be like that, but overall I can't complain and would definitely buy these as a gift for anyone that enjoys a good box of quality chocolates at Christmas.
Definitely more suited to adults as opposed to children and would make a great Christmas gift.
WHERE TO BUY?
Online here, Hotel Chocolat stores or concession in John Lewis.