Is there any chance you are looking at getting somebody on your Christmas list a small add-on gift of chocolate? In general, the goods from Hotel Chocolat seem to get great reviews. But what about their Christmas Selection in particular?
The most notable thing about this petite box of four chocolates is that the chocolates are so clearly labeled by compartment – no more hunting and hoping.
I started off with the cinnamon praline, as its milk chocolate exterior looked quite smooth and appealing.
It certainly was smooth, and seemed to have a hint of ginger flavor in it, which was a nice touch to enhance the chocolate shell.
Inside, the praline is also soft and smooth. The hazelnut taste is evident immediately, and is enhanced by cinnamon and just a bit of salt. The cinnamon flavor lingers longer than the chocolate, but is not overwhelming against the creamy milk chocolate center. In general, the flavor is well-balanced, and the spice is evident but doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate and hazelnut flavor. I’m most impressed with the perfect matching of textures of the shell and filling, as this allowed me to enjoy small bites of this praline without catching stray broken shell pieces or oozing filling. I must find more of these.
I also checked out another milk-chocolate-covered chocolate from this cute little box: the starberry.
The milk chocolate is again creamy and smooth, with what seems to be a hint of a strawberry flavor infusion. This shell is sufficiently soft and thin to give way to the filling inside – a feature that I’m beginning to think this is a Hotel Chocolat signature.
The filling itself is smooth and creamy, like a high-quality mousse or buttercream. It has a strong, tart berry flavor that contrasts well with the sweet milk chocolate. The flavor combination, and the fact that the texture matches to allow for an easy bite, makes this a chocolate that I would certainly want to get more of the next time I get to Hotel Chocolat.
Which unfortunately might not be for a while. Drats.
Do you like fruity pralines/truffles or spicy pralines/truffles better?