Let's see, would I like to be sent free chocolate, on the grounds that I'd then have to write about it? Yes. Yes please. Send it to me!
And so it came to pass that the good people at Hotel Chocolat sent me their Goody Bag, and it arrived today!
Now I have a confession to make. I was of the opinion that although I do love chocolate (I really do), I wouldn't really be bothered to buy expensive chocolate. Because how different can it be?
Well, I take it back.
The chocolate itself in the goody bag was darker than your average, hard to break, but when it did it gave a satisfying snap, and the way it melts in your mouth is just lovely.
The children really liked it (they preferred the wreath to the chocolate santas). They loved that it was darker than they usually get, and really liked the snappy texture.
My husband said that he liked it, he especially liked the recipe for the treacle tarts (with molasses, giving a slightly bitter taste a little reminiscent of salted caramel), although he wasn't keen on the 'mouthfeel'. He said 'mouthfeel', not me, I'm still not convinced that texture isn't sufficient. Anyway, he is a skinny man, so as far as I'm concerned his judgement on food is iffy. Personally I loved the texture.
The best thing was that after you had eaten a chocolate, your mouth didn't feel sticky, and the taste didn't remain - you knew it was delicious, but you didn't have the urge to eat the rest of the packet straight away. This is chocolate I wouldn't mind spending a lot on, because I would hide it away, and savour a bit at a time.
My husband reckoned the chocolate would be good with red wine. I can now confirm that he was right.
What you get in this goody bag is:
- three chocolate Santas,
- a mini wreath, which was very nice, and definitely the children's favourite. They also do a big version (pictured).
- six treacle tarts, which are absolutely to die for - described above
- six Christmas mess's - I didn't think I'd like these - they're a bit pink and white, but do you know what? They are fruity, and oh-so-creamy. My father in law agreed that they were surprisingly good, and if you like fruity things they'd be perfect for you.
For all of the chocolates in the goody bag, there is so much attention to detail - the texture, the combinations of flavours. These chocolates are sublime, and luxurious. They'll be in my Mum's hamper next year.
Now I've told you how good the chocolates are, I can tell you something about Hotel Chocolat themselves. Hotel Chocolat grow their own cocoa on their cocoa plantation, the Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia. They are very concerned about ethical farming, and paying a fair rate for the cocoa, and they've done a lot of work to improve things for the farmers to make sure we get the best cocoa.
The Hotel is in Saint Lucia, but there is also a restaurant in London (Rabot 1745). The rest of us can buy the chocolate on mail order. Here's the website. They even have a tasting club you can join.
Thank you Hotel Chocolat, for the gorgeous chocs you sent me. I would heartily recommend them.
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