Do you know what I love about Christmas?
It’s not just the roaring fires, the family games or the fact that indulging in a massive amount of food and booze is suddenly socially acceptable.
It’s not even the gift giving – and receiving. And I do love presents.
Nope – the other thing I love about Christmas is the chocolate.
Now, I consider myself something of a chocolate gourmet based on my years of experience in tasting, testing and scoffing chocolate. I even went on a chocolate tasting course – well, a truffle making course, but I did a fair amount of testing the products.
I recently got sent a box of the Sleekster Classic Christmas Selection from British Chocolatiers Hotel Chocolat. This was one job that I felt I should take on alone, without burdening the rest of the Test Team. Unfortunately, my mum was here and felt she had to help!
First of all, can we all say ‘wow’. I have never seen such a pretty box of chocolates. Beautiful, bright Christmas colours, all nestled together in an eye catching display. Seriously, I was impressed with how lovely they looked. Each chocolate looks like care and attention has been given to it, personally sculpting every scrumptious millimetre into a art form of chocolate heaven. I could hang them on the tree and they would look perfect!
On to the testing. So, we all have our own method for picking out a chocolate.
The brave might delve in blind, randomly picking out the morsel that looks most tempting.
The more intense might read carefully each description of Champagne truffles blended with raspberry liqueur and of White Chocolate and Vanilla Bells, before picking out the perfectly shaped Cranberry Cup.
The more cautious might pick out their own favourites, leaving the lesser loved to last, be they the Nutmeg and Almond Praline or the Rum Punch.
But no matter. However you choose to eat yours, in the end I knew I had to try them all. So I forced myself to get on with the job! Eat them all I did (well, I did let the others have one!).
I have no regrets.
Chocolate is a very personal thing – we all have our favourite manufacturers and we all have different opinions on what makes a good treat, be it with nuts or without, soft or hard centres, dark or creamy white.
The Hotel Chocolat experience is no different, in that there are some that were not to my tastes. The liqueur based chocolates had a rather intense flavour, a little too much for me.
On the other hand I didn’t expect to like the Pistachio Praline Crunch, not enjoying nuts in my chocolate box, but I was proven pleasantly wrong. Creamy and delicious. My biggest surprise and favourite chocolate of all was the Christmas Mess, a “Fabulously fruity cranberry ganache and strawberry mousse with meringue sprinkles.”
So, how to end this post. The box was delightful, deliciousness, scrumdidlyumptious and splendiferous. On looks alone, I would buy this box as a gift. Add on the taste test and certainly it’s ranking up there with my preferred chocolate manufacturers. It’s a little pricey to treat myself regularly, but if you ever feel the urge to get me a little something – this would be a good starting place.
No payment was received for this post, although I did receive the chocolates to test. However all of the opinions are my own!