I’ve heard from a couple of sources about the nature of the Coppeneur factory and how it really doesn’t compare to others, and I’m not sure how that affects the Hotel Chocolat range and whether they still take their chocolate from Coppeneur, but I wanted to give some of their own-brand chocolate a try and see for myself. One of the worst things you can do in the chocolate world is to take other people’s opinions as gospel. Try chocolate yourself and make your own mind up.
I actually paid a lot less than I thought I would do when working out where to buy this brand – I ended up only paying €3.90 from 1a-Versand.de. But what shocked me about the process of receiving it was how much they harp on about “quality” throughout their website and the half a tree which was used to print out their customer service gubbins that arrived with the chocolate, it was actually very poorly packaged. I also ordered some chocolate covered pumpkins which were stroon across the box as there was no internal packaging. That’s more about the retailer than Coppeneur – but just be aware if you’re at all tempted to buy any from them.
I found the packaging very pleasant with a novel seal on the reverse, but I think their Chuao tablets just looks fantastic and wished I’d found somewhere to buy that instead. The bar itself is embossed with a cacao pod motif which doesn’t really compare with the simplicity of the Amano bars, but it still added a bit of interest to the unwrapping process.
Perhaps trying a flavoured bar isn’t the best way of truly gauging the quality of a bar, but seeing as I just love chilli chocolate I just couldn’t resist. The issue here is that the cacao from this bar comes from Trinidad and I absolutely adored the Pralus Trinidad 75% bar. It’d be hard to be more pleasant than that bar, but it actually does a good job.
Having put aside this prejudice, I dove into the bar. The cacao is of the Trinitario variety (obviously as its “birth place” is Trinidad). It offered delightful fruity tone which you can actually pick out behind the chilli and lavender. This red fruit aspect lends itself to a mulled-wine flavour when combined with the spice flavour given by the chilli and a rounded characteristic from the lavender. From that description you may envisage this bar as being complex, but it wasn’t. The three flavours are very well defined but others are seemingly lost behind the strong habanero heat.
Taking a larger piece there were some woodland flavours at the outer edge which gave it some more depth. As you allow your taste buds to experience more then you may even noticed some pomander orange flavours. What’s more the melt is pretty damn good too. It slowly dissolves in your mouth and transports those flavours around your mouth.