I am a massive fan of the Hotel Chocolat slabs having previously reviewed the Tutti Frutti and the Mini Rocky Road Slab as you can get half a kilo of fantastic chocolate for a reasonable price – and it should last a great while.
For me, chocolate gifts are about the “wow factor” and these slabs definitely give that. If you’re buying a chocolate gift for a loved one and you know what they like the most then why not get them 500g of it? You can not only get this dark chocolate fruit and nut slab, but also the same one in milk chocolate, a dark on dark slab, a milk on milk one, a chilli and orange slab, a large Rocky Road (mmmmmm!), a caramel slab, an Eton Mess Slab (please sir, can I have one of these?), a white chocolate and caramel cookies slab and various other mini ones! I’d say everyone is covered!
Another thing I like is that you get a massive window into the bar, you can see virtually every square centimetre of the front of it. This allows you to inspect the texture and how liberal the supply of fruit and nuts is. And you do get a good quantity.
On opening, which was a bit of fiddle with my heat-induced slippery fingers, but when you’re in then there’s half a kilo of chocolaty delight to explore. And you won’t be disappointed. The slab is almost a centimetre thick which is just about enough to cover the thickness of the roasted hazelnuts which you’ll find, together with some almonds, premium sultanas and cranberries within their usual 70% dark chocolate.
I do prefer their purist dark chocolate, but this chocolate is still very nice indeed and works well in complimenting the nuts whilst the fruits add a touch of piquancy that does push the flavours beyond the mild range offered by the nuts and the chocolate.
Currently it’s about 20c in the office and the chocolate is melting everywhere. I know you’re supposed to have chocolate between 16c and 18c but sod it. It’s more fun this way. At the moment its breaking fairly easily, but I can imagine that at the right temperature there’d be a wonderful, crisp, ‘snap’ to it. The upside of the heat is that the aroma is more prominent than I would normally expect and has a wonderful earthy nature to it.
I’d expect this bar to be more of a winter chocolate gift as it the aroma and taste just reminded me of the run up to Christmas. But if you’re buying for a fruit and nut fan, then it doesn’t matter when they have it.
My only concern is that you’d only want a few bites every now and then as it can get a bit repetitive as you work through it. I once ate a bar like this over a weekend – and regretted it. I’d suggest taking it easy, keeping it in a cool place, and having it as a quick “pick me up” like when you get home from work and the dinner is in the oven!