The lovely people at Hotel Chocolat were kind enough to offer me the chance to review one of the products from their Christmas range – and this us what I chose.
I picked the ‘Classic Christmas H-Box Selection’ partly because it meant getting to try 13 different little chocolates rather than one large one, and also because the description of the festive flavours sounds rather appealing.
“Brimming with sparkling seasonal cheer and the gorgeous flavours of the season – in melt-away pralines and soft caramels, creamy truffles with warming mulled wine, chilli and rum, cherry florentines, gingerbread, cinnamon and more. There’s something inside to make everyone feel Christmassy all over.”
Doesn’t that sound tempting? So when the box arrived I was pretty excited.
The friendly pony and I conducted a very methodical tasting, over the course of 2 weeks – it took quite a lot of willpower not to scoff them all in one sitting!
Each chocolate was cut in half so we could both sample them all, then we made notes on what we thought of each one.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with that much detail, but here’s a rundown of the best and worst.
I found it quite hard to choose a favourite – I really liked both the gingerbread truffle and gingerbread cheesecake, the mulled wine and the zesty marzipan star – which as well as being the tastiest are probably the most festive. The gingerbread cheesecake, although nothing like cheesecake, was actually the best ginger flavoured chocolate I think I’ve tasted.
The pony like the zesty marzipan star the best, describing it as “fresh and indulgent”. I’m not a huge lover of marzipan, but I thought the orange flavour came through more strongly, which is probably why I liked it.
I had two definite least favourites, but in both cases they were flavours that I never like, rather than actually being bad chocolates. The star anise truffle was definitely not my favourite, and I couldn’t even finish my half of the rum truffle as it was so strong – but I’ve always disliked liquor chocolates so that wasn’t really a surprise.
The pony’s least favourite was the sea salt and caramel bauble – which he said tasted like it had come straight out of the sea. I imagine for someone who likes the salt and chocolate combination that would probably be a good thing, but neither of us are huge lovers (although I was pleasantly surprised by the crunchiness rather than containing a liquid caramel).
Overall, I think the H-Box has a really nice selection of festive flavours, with a little more originality than a lot of the chocolate boxes you see at this time of year.
On the downside, I think the packaging doesn’t match up to the ‘luxury’ style of the brand – when you walk into a Hotel Chocolat shop it feels a lot more upmarket than say Thorntons, but I don’t think that really translates to the H-Box. (I should add that the friendly pony doesn’t agree with this at all, so maybe it’s just me!)
Would I buy the H-Box for myself? At just under £1 per chocolate I doubt I would, but it would definitely make a nice gift if you’re stuck for ideas this Christmas.
You can buy the Classic Christmas H-Box Selection from the Hotel Chocolat website.