Many people casually exploring the range so expertly placed and presented on the shelves in Hotel Chocolat stores may look at these eighteen slithers of 82% dark chocolate with roasted cocoa nibs and think that they’re not too exciting nor worth the £10 price tag. But as is the case with so many of life’s little hidden gems – you need to think ‘outside of the box’ to truly enjoy them.
Of course these dark chocolate canapés are packaged with sophistication oozing from every line, shade and fold. But you expect that. And that’s the problem that Hotel Chocolat now faces – I expect it’s becoming increasingly difficult to wow their customers. Hotel Chocolat’s chocolate making has now turned into a partnership with their customers. Before they created elegant and imaginative chocolates, but now they give you the opportunity to stamp your own personality on gift giving or home entertaining.
On their own these 82% dark chocolate squares that come laced with home roasted Kallari coco nibs are incredibly addictive. There’s the powerful bitterness that should push the boundaries for some of their customers which has shots of caramel acidity from the cocoa nibs. That’s fine, and for many chocolate lovers they’ll greatly appreciate them. But if you look at the shape of them. They’re perfectly created to adorn with extras. And here’s where you can express your personality and use to carry a theme for a dinner party. Personally, and I have to thank Hotel Chocolat for this, they’re incredibly nice with blue cheese on top.
I had a lump of Tuxford and Tebbutt Stilton left hanging around in the fridge, so I sliced it up and decorated the dark chocolate. To be quite honest, it’s probably one of the most delightful culinary experiences I’ve had in my own home.
The dark chocolate, although intense, plays a relative understudy to the Stilton, but it actually makes the cheese more palatable. There’s sharpness, roundness, creaminess, crunchiness, smoothness. It’s operatic. It’s confusing. It’s delicious.