Hotel Chocolat Christmas Range
It’s that time of the year when everyone’s Christmas ranges hit the shelves with new and untried (by some of us at least) products. From mulled wine chocolates to new advent calendars, the range seems to be constantly changing.
One of the things I enjoy about Hotel Chocolate (more than people reading what I type over my shoulder on the train, where I often write reviews) is that they have a consistent level of quality. You can depend on them to have a mass appeal with quality and taste targeted at the widest market segment.
While I do admire Thorntons and think their head chocolatier is working extremely hard to deliver some amazing tastes, I keep going back to Hotel Chocolat for my mass market quality chocolates. I know that no matter what I choose, it is going to be good quality, well presented and delicious. Even if I haven’t personally reviewed them 😉
This year we’re known the colours would be silver, blue and white since February when the Christmas collections were launched by most larger wholesalers. Hotel Chocolat originally premiered their Christmas range at the (now traditional) Christmas in July launch event for long-lead press. I saw them at the short-lead press event and it was pointed out that beyond going with this year’s colours, they had Rudolph on every package (very cute) and had hired a former Vogue graphic designer (very cool).
The Hotel Chocolate Giant Christmas Cracker is one of those things I have enjoyed for a few years now. While I am a huge fan of the individual Christmas crackers placed at each individual space on the table, sometimes a more piñata-like experience is called for. Last year I did cover the small crackers and they have them again for this year but the giant cracker still has to be one of my favourites. More for an informal party than sit-down leanl, it has enough hats and bad jokes for 12 people, lots of chocolates both filled and solid and a single case to dispose of (rather than 12).
The Round Christmas Chocolate Box is a more traditional mix of seasonal chocolates. With <CHECK> in the box, there is a single central chocolate Christmas tree with seasonal choccies all around like port, mulled wine, Christmas cake, gingerbread and more. This is a totally ganache box so of course, it gets my seal of I-am-not-a-fan-of-praline approval. Praline is that nut-based filling that some chocolates are filled with and ganache is just chocolate and usually cream. There are some like the port marked as “may knock your socks off” but I wasn’t feeling the least bit squiffy after eating one 😀
The tiddly solid chocolate figures like reindeer and Christmas dinner are always fun. They are the reliable chocolate that Hotel Chocolat use in their main filled chocolates (bars are often specialist origins) and batons so you know what you’re going to get. I’m a fan of the milk chocolate shapes as I find the dark chocolate shapes just slightly less enjoyable but some of you reading this I am sure will opt for the lower sugar in dark chocolate.
This year’s advent calendar is an interesting take on the traditional favourite. While there is still a chocolate treat behind each of the doors (I still maintain these aren’t calendars but ways to mark the hours in a day – 24 doors, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not…) but the calendar is folded in half, making it easier to store, easier to transport and easier to keep on one piece both on shelves and in the home. Brilliant piece of design there by Hotel Chocolat.
So of what I got to try, there is some deliciousness. You pretty much can’t go wrong. The cracker has both nuts and no plus you can get an alcohol-free version. The gift boxes are tons of fun and if you’re looking for a show-stopping centrepiece there is the chocolate sculpture you assemble, place a tea light inside of and has a drawer of chocolates. An absolute wow piece for your Christmas table. Place that on a short box, surround with some branches painted white with silver glitter and place blue and silver baubles amongst the branches for a really outstanding Christmas table.
Go on – do what I do and shop at Hotel Chocolat this holiday. If you go to Roast & Conch you’ll likely see me there shopping or eating this holiday season!