Hotel Chocolat Christmas 2011

I was lucky enough to attend the Hotel Chocolat Christmas press launch last week and it just proved to solidify my view that there are few companies, let alone chocolate ones, that manage to provide something for everyone. If you want chocolate advent calendars then they have some for your if you’re an adult, a child, love milk chocolate or prefer dark, if you’re part of a couple or if you a truffle lover – they’ve just got chocoholics covered. But what stands out to me as the most exciting chocolate gifts this year?

Selection Boxes
Firstly you’ve got a whole plethora of Christmas-themed selection boxes – some have warming alcohol in them others are full of interesting and others have seasonal flavours such as gingerbread. The problem with selection boxes can often be is that the selection is just far too wide for some palates. My wife, for example, would only ever eat 1/2 of the content of any normal selection box. Buying for her would easy – I’d either choose a selection box with just white chocolates in, or one that just contains milk chocolates or even their Exuberantly Fruity which, obviously contains just fruity chocolates. If you’re buying for people who don’t like alcohol, you can easily find a selection box to suit too.

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Christmas Gifts For Girls
One of the highlights of the event was the Twinkle Toes Manor which is a large, and incredibly gorgeous ‘doll’s house’ full of chocolates. Your daughter or niece will get a bag of chocolate gemstones, a milk chocolate tiddly pot (buttons), a ‘Think Pink’ slab, a ‘flight of twinkle toes’, some caramels and a ‘twinkle toes’ lick.

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Christmas Presents For Boys
Apart from the wide variety of other chocolates on the site, specifically for boys, you’ve got the Mega Nibblatron and for younger boys they have the ‘Christmas at Santa’s House which costs £12 a contains a large number of milk chocolate figures.

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Secret Santa Gifts
But it’s the sort of Secret Santa kind of Christmas gifts that I feel they excel at. You can choose Alternative Mince Pies for £7.50, a beautiful presentation box of Winter Desserts which are in a petit fours size, whilst there are also the little solid chocolates in the shape of Reindeers, Penguins, Angels, Christmas Dinners or Santas in white, caramel, milk or dark chocolate.

They also do small boxes of four chocolates for £5 or eight chocolates for £8.

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Stocking Fillers
You could use some of those Secret Santa Gifts as less expensive stocking fillers. But if you did want to spend a bit more they do have a wonderful Christmas stocking filled to the brim of a variety of different treats. However, if you do have people that don’t like white chocolate or do prefer dark chocolate, then you could make your own.

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Gift Bags
What I do love about Hotel Chocolat is that they also think about the actual process of giving chocolate. they create selections of chocolate treats presented in beautiful gift bags which show off their contents and don’t actually require you to wrap them (which for a man like me can be a bit of a chore!) From the £12 Pick=ME-Up bags which cane a variety of truffles or caramels, a slab and a chocolate lick; to the very large, £38 ‘The Christmas Collection’ which contains a whole host of Christmas themed chocolates and presented in a large, and elegant gift bag.

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Gift Hampers & Baskets
If you’d still like the thought of not having to wrap gifts, but wanted to spend a bit more then Hotel Chocolat do have a selection of gift baskets to buy. The smaller ones are £35 and either contain their classic chocolates or a darker Christmas basket – both being alcohol free. The £50 basket contains a bottle of each Pink Rose and Prosecco wine with a variety of chocolates whilst the £55 is a wonderful “The Christmas Cuisine Basket” which would be great for home chefs or people that just love cooking.

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Really Expensive Gifts
So the most expensive Christmas gift they have is “The Ultimate Christmas Hamper” which costs £200 and contains an absolute cornucopia of sweet delights – not all of them chocolate related. You’ve got a bottle of Port, the Pink rose and Prosecco, Turkish Delight, the alternative mince pies, a couple of selection boxes, Christmas crackers and much, much more. If you wanted to spend less then they also sell a Pamper Hamper for £100 and a Happy Family hamper for £65.

If you’d prefer your very expensive gift not to be alcohol-free then you can buy the 750g Chocolatiers Table which contains over 60 chocolates and costs £58 or the 1.4kg version for £98.

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Christmas Crackers
If you’re a fan of Christmas crackers then they’ve got some small chocolate Christmas crackers that you could place in your Christmas tree or on the dinner table. Or they’ve got an incredibly large Christmas cracker which costs £38 and contains 40 chocolates, some jokes and 12 party hats. That should satisfy even the largest family gathering.

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Brothers and Sisters
For other family members Hotel Chocolat offer giant chocolate slabs which weight 500g each and cost £15. I love the Cool Yule with a milk chocolate slab with crispy white snowflakes and a caramel reindeer. Whilst the Nibbly Noel is a similar slab but with cookie pieces. They do still create other, non-festive slabs with a variety of other flavour combinations so that everyone is catered for.

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Luxury Chocolate Gifts
If you’re looking for a spot of luxury and don’t mind flashing the cash then you should consider their Signature collections which contain their finest bon bons. The largest of which costs £48 and contains 46 chocolates which should still does offer good value for money. You can buy smaller selection boxes with 26 with a bottle of Prosecco or red wine, if you feel that your recipient would like a bit more booze at Christmas.

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Novelty Presents
Hotel Chocolat also excels at creating novelty chocolates. Other than the ones above, you can choose from Oysters and Champagne which contains six milk chocolate oysters with praline inside accompanies by six Champagne truffle truffles.

The Dipping Adventures are also fantastic and would be perfect for a wife or girlfriend that loves playing with the food as well as adoring chocolate.

For Girlfriends
I just love the new way they present the Sparkling Champagne Truffles – which are elegant and wouldn’t look out of place in a high fashion boutique. However, Hotel Chocolat creates so many wonderful gift bags that you could probably get away with anything in the collection of Hotel Chocolat treats.

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For Christmas Parties
Cadbury’s Roses are so last century. This year Hotel Chocolat offer a luxurious take on the tin of chocolates in the form of a square tin containing sixty truffles, ganaches and chocolate pieces. But at £50 I expect only the most exclusive of households will be purchasing them. They also create a special chocolate box for entertaining and would be great for a dinner party. Here you’ll get 80 pieces of chocolate and tasting notes and guides to how to pair chocolate like the experts do. I just love this idea.

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For Fussy People
If you know people that only like certain types of chocolate with a small list of flavours they’ll enjoy then Hotel Chocolat have a huge range of single flavour boxes so I’d probably say that everyone is covered with these. They cost £14 each and you’ll get between 14 and 21 chocolates in each box.

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Fine Chocolate Lovers
If you’re buying for people that just love fine, unflavoured chocolate then you’ve really got to take a look at The Purist range of chocolate which is either Single Origin (using cacao from a single country) or Single Estate (cacao from a single plantation or growing locale).

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Lee McCoy

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