Archive for February, 2012

Chocolate Review: Hotel Chocolat – Hacienda Lara, Extreme Pralines 90% Dark

Another selection from the Hotel Chocolat Purist range. This small box of chocolates was described as ‘rare and vintage’. Something a little bit special from an already excellent chocolatier. Labelled as ‘Extreme pralines’, they live up to their name being made with an unusually high 90% dark chocolate (cocoa from St Lucia), which is then mixed with Piedmont hazelnut.

The dark chocolate actually contains a drop of butter oil, which isn’t something I’ve noticed before in chocolate of this cocoa percentage.

What hits me first is a smell of full-bodied red wine followed by the taste of red fruits. The chocolate is indeed dark and intense, and as it melts, a pleasant taste of burnt caramel comes through, followed by the first hint of hazelnut. The praline is very smooth, wonderfully nutty and not too sweet.

Perfect. A rare and special treat.

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Chocolate Review: Hotel Chocolat, Santo Domingo 70%

One hundred grams of dark, fruity Santo Domingo 70% dark chocolate. Full of flavour, smooth but not over-powering. I don’t really taste the bitterness mentioned on the packet, but I did notice and appreciate the ‘fruity and wine-like notes’.

More depth than their house chocolate and not as more-ish. Definitely one to savour slowly.

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Chocolate Review – Hotel Chocolat, 70% House Dark Chocolate

Hotel Chocolat sell a variety of gourmet chocolates at a number of price points to suit every pocket. Their house chocolate is their standard and probably most popular chocolate. It is used in their lollies, slabs and special shapes, as well as many of their selectors.

The house dark chocolate is very accessible and additive. It is 70% cocoa and delivers a strong hit of flavour, while still remaining smooth and without being over-powering. It’s very more-ish and a good introduction to fine chocolate. Yet, it’s not their best dark chocolate and I find myself gravitating more towards their single-origin bars.

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Chocolate Review – HC, Rabot Estate 66% Dark Chocolate Baubles

The Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia is what makes Hotel Chocolat the largest bean-to-bar producer in the country. It’s also rather sought after and only finds its way into selected HC chocolates in their premium ‘Rabot Estate’ brand.

I’m generally not a fan of HC’s seasonal offerings. They tend to be much more expensive than the rest of their selection. And while they do have quirky and fun concepts, I prefer just a plain ol’ bar of good quality chocolate. I thought I’d give these chocolate baubles a go though, not least because they were 50% of in the post-Christmas sale..

For chocolate that’s less than 70%, it’s certainly very powerful, with flavours of figs and red fruits coming through strongly (it was described as such on the back-packet and I happen to agree, haven’t tasted the liquorice flavour that was also supposed to be there though).

Overall, excellent taste. As usual, it’s something to savour and certainly memorable. Perhaps my new year’s resolution should be to hunt out some more of the Rabot Estate offerings.

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