The evidence suggests that this is an awesome Halloween treat – the reason being that Hotel Chocolat have sold out and loads of people have shared it on Facebook. So do you really need me to review it? Of course I do – I’ve got a box of one of my favourite British high-volume chocolatiers in front of me so I don’t really need an excuse. In the past I’ve been critical of their pricing, but when this Halloween Bites H-Box was in stock it sold for just £12 for which you’d get, by my calculations 168g of seasonal chocolate.
Hotel Chocolat is expert at this sort of stuff – chocolate that they can get their collective creative juices flowing and be imaginative. To me there is no better time of year to unleash oneself from the design restraints that seem to typify Christmas and Valentine’s Day than Halloween. The New Product Development department can go wild. Of course, for something at this price point, they had to come up with chocolates that were relatively easy to make, hence, you’d find in your H-Box (if they come back into stock) a collection of 16 Zingy Zombie Eyes raspberry truffles; Soft Caramels; Gianduja Bombes; Praline Pumpkins; and a caramel chocolate Crystal Skull – which should be good enough for any family Halloween party.
I do think there were some freakish goings on in my chocolate store room as a couple of days ago the box looked fine, but on inspection today it looked like a spectre had shaken the box around – perhaps in frustration that I hadn’t reviewed them sooner. Nonetheless, they do look great. The fairly large caramel chocolate skull stands out, but you’re left, like any selection box, with the task of which to try first. I knew what I wanted to try the Gianduja Bombes first because I haven’t had any in ages and I love the bitterness and the fairly stiff texture. It’s a shame you only get the two in the box.
The praline pumpkins are well balanced, perhaps just a touch too sweet and not enough of the nutty praline coming through, but still well made given the difficult shape. Whilst I’ll always have a soft-spot for the occasional raspberry truffle, even though they are considerably tart when compared against the bombes.
Selection boxes are all about balance across the whole experience. There’s certainly something for everyone here. You’ve got some bitterness, high sweetness, tartness and the very pleasant and mellow caramel chocolate skull that you just can’t go wrong with. For £12 it was an absolute bargain. Even though they’re out of stock, you can still choose from a variety of other Halloween-themed chocolates, it’s just down to you to mix and match as you require.