Who here likes Chocolate? Who here gets sick of the sight of the same mundane Chocolate we see every year? Who here loves that as soon as we Step Into Christmas the Gourmet Chocolate companies release their fancy festive ranges too? I know I certainly do to all 3 of those which brings us to today.. Hotel Chocolat LE Selectors!
I had a bit of a splurge and ended up spending £21 in Store.. But its ok because that included a present for someone and a free sample! After some debating, I went for the Mince Pie Brownie, Caramel Chocolate Pot, Christmas Mess and Caramelised Orange at £3.15 a pop - A good selection of Selectors, I reckoned!
Mince Pie Brownie
Mince Pie Brownie
First came mince pies, then came brownies, then came mince pie brownies - Spiced pecan praline with raisins and wafer pieces in a milk chocolate shell, decorated with naturally coloured white chocolate and vanilla seeds.
I couldn't wait to try these little parcels of mince pie goodness and excitedly took a bite through the truffle like brownie, expecting to be in heaven. Heaven it certainly was not as I proceeded to spit it back out - They were disgusting! The spice element was ridiculously strong and mainly of what I think was ginger which completely overpowered the nuts and wafer pieces that ran throughout as well as any potential of the chocolate being rich or creamy. I couldn't distinguish any raisins either.. Not that it would've made a blind bit of difference to the over flavour, I'm sure! Not mince pie in the slightest and virtually inedible to my palate - Its a 0.5 out of 5!
Chocolate Caramel Pot
A modern twist on a classic pudding, fine grey sea salt adds depth to the velvety caramel ganache - Salted caramel ganache sealed in a high cocoa caramel chocolate shell, decorated with naturally coloured white chocolate.
Next up was the Chocolate Caramel Pot. Surely they must be delicious.. How can chocolate and caramel ever be wrong? Well I have no idea what they've done here but the dark chocolate had little flavour to it and was very solid making for a rubbish melt. Inside was a blob of thick caramel ganache which was smooth and silky but again, no flavour - Not a hint of salt or even buttery caramel! I really don't know how thats possible but the thing was just completely tasteless. As it wasn't totally repulsive as seen above, its a slighter higher, 1 out of 5 from me.
It doesn't get much more British than Eton Mess! Traditionally served at summer cricket matches, we've transported it to a different season - Cranberry and cinnamon mousse sealed in a white chocolate shell, decorated with meringue and cranberry pieces.
These smelt deliciously sweet with a cranberry edge so even after the 2 previous disastrous chocolates, I had high hopes for these. Thankfully, they were as good as they smelt! The dusky pink light textured mousse tasted exactly how described - Cranberry balanced with a subtle cinnamon. The creamy white chocolate was the perfect accompaniment in sweetening the slightly tart berry and having a lovely melt. On top was a crunchy sprinkle of light merignue and a further pop of flavour from what I think were dried cranberry pieces - A fab contrast in texture! Its a well done twist on a classic and a 4 out of 5 from me!
Our version of the traditional orange in your Christmas stocking - Orange flavoured caramel layered with a dark chocolate ganache. Sealed in a milk chocolate shell, decorated in naturally coloured white chocolate.
Chocolate Orange, now we're talking - It ain't Christmas without one! I gave them a sniff and expected citrus and yet there was none.. A great start. The chocolate casing was pleasant enough but was ruined by the dark ganache beneath which was very rich and meant that the caramel centre although runny and smooth, was only slightly orangey - Not all that surprising considering the lack of scent! It got quite sickly after only haven eaten half so I decided it was best to quit whilst I was ahead and haven't touched them since. Not enough tang and questionable chocolate, its a 1.5 out of 5.
Good grief. Apart from the Christmas Mess, these Hotel Chocolat LE Selectors certainly didn't make me, Jingle Bell Rock. Perhaps I was wrong in being bored with the mundane stuff that fills our shelves every year.. I'll never touch a Mince Pie Chocolate again but give me any other Caramel jobby (It may as well not be salted as todays wasn't) and a Terrys Choc Orange, any day! Boo!