I love the changing of the seasons especially due to all of the the new products that come into stores as businesses start to revamp their range for the cooler Autumn weather. I was extremely excited about these Banana Bread chocolates coming into Hotel Chocolat, I had read a month or so ago that they had won an Academy of Chocolate award but I wasn't completely aware of what the actual 'Banana Bread' chocolate would be. Would it be a slab? Filled chocolates?
My questions were answered when I popped into Hotel Chocolat a couple of days ago and there they were sitting in store. Described as 'a chocolatier's take on the baked banana loaf, with nibbed walnuts' they consist of 'banana flavoured praline with walnuts and dried banana flakes covered in milk chocolate'. Wow. Can we just take a moment to realise how epic they sound?! Banana flavoured praline!! I really hoped that they were going to be good - surely if they won an award they should be.
The chocolates themselves had a lovely strong banana aroma, which really did remind me of the smell of banana bread baking in the oven! This aroma came through in heaps full of banana flavour on actually biting into the chocolate. It is absolutely spot on!! The banana flavour is present in abundance, along with a subtle spiced flavour reminiscent of banana bread, but despite other chocolates which often try to pull the banana flavour off it is not artificial whatsoever and tastes absolutely AMAZING!
This combined with the nutty undertones of the hazelnut praline just make this one incredible tasting chocolate. The textures are spot on too, smooth creamy praline, nibbly, crunchy walnuts and banana flakes which not only add a slight crispy texture but also inject further banana flavour into the chocolate.
After years of searching I have eventually found a banana chocolate that lives up to my expectations. It's probably one of the best Hotel Chocolat chocolates I've tried in a long time and if you're a banana fan then I urge you to try these! (Although be warned they also do contain spices such as cinnamon etc - one of my family members who is really averse to cinnamon didn't like them because of this). I really hope they'll make them a regular part of their range and they won't just be a quick Autumn flash in the pan, if so I think I'll have to go and stock up now!
Taste - 9.4/10 - Really good, absolutely spot on in terms of emulating the banana bread flavour in chocolate form.
Texture - 9.2/10 - Smooth praline, textural contrast from the walnuts and banana flakes.
Appearance - 9.0/10 - Simplistically sleek.
Price - 9.0/10 - £3.85 per selector or £3.15 if you buy 3+. Considering I've paid more for much worst tasting banana chocolates then I think this is an absolute bargain.
Overall - 9.2/10 - Incredible.
WHERE TO BUY?
Hotel Chocolat in-store or online here.