We are huge fans of Hotel Chocolat and always look forward to their new ranges, especially for Christmas and Easter. They have perfected the knack of both making great chocolate, and producing a wide range with items to appeal to everyone, young to old, all tastes and all budgets. New packaging this year is both elegant and fun with two main themes – a circus theme – with bold primary colours and shapes, and a more elegant one; with drawings of couples under ornate chandeliers at seeming glamorous parties wearing designer evening wear. It is enough to make me want to slip on a dress and heels and find the nearest party!
This year we especially love the Truffle for Two Advent calendar (£26) with two truffles behind each window – ensuring that the sleepyhead and last out of bed doesn’t lose out and not get a look in at the morning open-the-door treat. For children there is the Ultimate Advent calendar in plain, milk or white chocolate (£12.50) containing 24 Christmas shapes of reindeer, Santas and angels.
There are some seasonal additions to the boxed chocolate range, as well as all the usual favourites. We particularly enjoyed:
Pistachio Praline Crunch – a chocolate basket filled with pistachio praline, cherry pieces and a hint of rose. Delicious, especially when washed down with some champagne!
Cranberry Cup – a very seasonal white chocolate, its sweetness perfectly cut by tangy cranberries.
Chambord Royale – Champagne truffle with Chambord (the sponsors of Revenge) black raspberry liqueur – again very good.
Caramel Supernova – A 70% dark chocolate star filled with delicious caramel and decorated with silver, gold and bronze spinkles.
Also in the Christmas chocolates range are a fruity Christmas Mess, Mulled Port truffle and a nutmeg and almond praline, so something that everyone should enjoy.
As always the children’s range is excellent, beautiful whimsical products that adults will enjoying as much as the children will enjoy consuming. We loved the Magical Christmas Collection Stocking (£10) filled with milk, white and caramel chocolate shapes, a gently spiced milk chocolate Gingerbread Crew (£7), 8 dark chocolate Tiddly Penguins (£5.50) and a Santa Mini Slab (£3.75). For stocking fillers we adore the milk chocolate Dasher lolly (£1.95) and the Ho Ho Ho Pillow Pack (£2.50) containing 3 chocolate Santas.
For a party we love the Rather Large Christmas Cracker (£40) with 40 wrapped chocolates, as well as party hats and jokes. Ever popular are the Sleekster boxes and designed to fit most letter boxes making them perfect presents – the Christmas one pictured is £23. We were impressed with our sample Rabot Wreath (£26 large / £9.50 small) quality single origin chocolate studded with hazel nuts, almonds and raisins, it can be hard to find seasonal gifts in single origin chocolate so this one is a must look at. Also recommended are the tree decorations (£1.95), the triple layered coffee bûche with layers of latte, cappuccino and espresso (£9) – the best coffee chocolate I have had for a long time and if you cannot make up your mind the Chocolatier’s Table (£65/£100) features every chocolate that Hotel Chocolate make and makes for a very special treat.
My wish list contains anything from the new Cocoa Juvente range– delicious new cocoa based beauty products. They all smell amazing and are luxurously thick and creamy (£7 – £25), Cocoa Gin (£15 / 250ml) infused with flavours from the company’s Santa Lucia Estate including some roasted cocoa shells, and a selection of bars from the Rabot 1745 range of fine single origin chocolate bars (from £7.50) – all excellent and a very good starting point to learn more about bean to bar chocolate.
All images in this post are from Hotel Chocolat. Many thanks for invitations to press shows and for samples.