No Christmas Day morning would be complete without unwrapping a box of chocolates, and that goes for men, women, old and young alike. The issue for Father Christmas is whether he visits many different chocolate shops and buy something to please the individual recipient, or does he just pop online and find everything in one place such as John Lewis, which doesn’t stock the full, or should he just visit the one store that does have everything and also offers discounts for the more you buy – as Hotel Chocolat does.
If he popped into Hotel Chocolat he’d probably choose this Sleekster Christmas Desserts Selection – not least because it has a decent selection of interesting chocolates, but also because they have that air of sophistication lacking from many alternative shops.
Of course they’re not handmade – there’s no way they could serve all their customers with handmade chocolates, but despite the large scale nature of their processes they do make some very interesting chocolates. Take the Christmas Mess for instance. It may have been very sweet and made with white chocolate, but all three disappeared very quickly. It must have been the balance of its inherent creaminess with the sharp fructose acidity of the berries and the crunch of the meringue. Seeing as I frequently make Eton Mess for myself I was bound to like it.
The Zesty Christmas Caramel, as the name suggests, also combined fruit with a very sweet centre – this time in the form of a caramel. I did find this one too sweet for my liking. But as it’s obviously going to be consumed over Christmas, if it wasn’t this sweet most people would be disappointed.
The Christmas Cake was far more my thing. It contained a very smooth walnut praline and mixed with the required raisins, raisins, cranberries, cinnamon, orange and nutmeg. These flavours were so typically ‘Christmassy” that it would feel unnatural to eat one at any other time of the year. I don’t think the guys at Hotel Chocolat could have got closer to the true flavour of Christmas.
I then finished off with the Baked Alaska which has an explosively sharp Raspberry flavour. If you were falling asleep after a huge Christmas dinner and watching yet another episode of the Royal Family, this one should have no problem waking you up – not only for the intense flavour but from the very audible sound of the meringue pieces crunching in your mouth. It’s has a lovely raspberry flavour that does linger which makes me believe that you should finish off your chocolate session with this one.
I know it must be difficult for Hotel Chocolat to keep re-inventing what they do every season, and although I do prefer handmade chocolates, I realise that others don’t and it’s just a physical impossibility to produce, by hand, enough chocolate to satisfy everyone at Christmas. Hotel Chocolat do a very good job adding a bit more ‘Christmas Spirit’ to proceedings that I doubt there’ll be many households without something of theirs being opened on the 25th.