You would think I wouldn't be able to review these, assuming that summer has come to a close and that I've retired to my wood-accented dormitory to don my smoking jacket and smoke lugubriously until spring pokes her flowery bosom into my face, but YOU'D BE SO WRONG. God damn it. It's officially what I consider to be mid-September. There is no reason for it to be 86 degrees and sunny. While other kids are frolicking with their shirts off, I'm sweating my loafers off and wiping sweat off my textbooks. In this vein, there is a steaming ray of hope, however, for I deem now to be the perfect time to show you the latest and greatest selection from Hotel Chocolat, courtesy of Cinabar once more...the Summer Dessert Collection.
Hotel Chocolat has been on my bucket list of chocolatiers to try ever since reading about Jim's amazing experiences with things like slabs and sleeksters, all sorts of goodies we don't have here. There is a US branch of Hotel Chocolat, but it has roughly three things, all over $50. It's like going to a Toys 'R' Us as a kid after hearing that the one in the next state over has, I dunno, My First Dinosaur Gun playsets and going to yours for your birthday with the anticipation of shooting up a lot of velociraptors and finding that they only have three goddamned Boobah dolls and they're all $200 apiece. It's like paying for the privilege of being made fun of by your fellow peers. So, needless to say, I was incredibly excited to receive these. With all of the fanciful products Hotel Chocolat makes, this is on par with getting a small piece of magic in the mail, like Willy Wonka's severed pinky toe courtesy of the sugar mafia.
The Hotel Chocolat box is incredibly crisp and summery, with Tiffany blue and Nat Sherman gold accents and a neat little integration of the flavors on the sides of the box. Upon opening, the truffles are very fragrant and have a fruity, intensely perfumed nose. There are four flavors represented in the box. One is a coconut bombe, a spiky confection typically made with ice cream, one is a chocolate mousse, one is a Neapolitan, and the last is a summer pudding. I like that Hotel Chocolat utilized summery dessert ingredients, like berry and ice cream, in their truffles, but would have liked to see a mojito or summer drink flavor, or even one of their Eton Mess truffles to round out the mix in lieu of the quintessential chocolate mousse. I should have expected that omission, though, as the front of the box explicitly states that there is no alcohol in these. Thusly, I'll be bringing them to the Betty Ford clinic next week.
At around $8 for a box of four, it's not a frivolous expenditure on par with Martin Kessman's lawsuit, and is a delicate and unique gift to give as a present topper or along with other treats. And for the quality of its contents, it is worth every penny. These truffles are easily as good as, if not better, than some of the more expensive commercial brands across the pond. For starters, it's worth noting that I take back my errant comment about the chocolate mousse truffle. This truffle was perfectly sweet and creamy, with a not-quite-ganache inside. That contrasted the creaminess of the shell with a perfectly smooth, glossy texture and a dark, rich flavor. Easily the tastiest plain chocolate truffle I've had in a while. The coconut bombe also had a creamy chocolate base, with a soft, grainy texture from being left out at room temperature. Its filling was similar to the mousse, but definitely had some coconut oil. Not enough to make it taste like a spoonful of Coppertone, but a pleasant touch.
Yet another gustatory pleasure was found in the Neapolitan truffle, which was adorably colored like its namesake ice cream and filled with a bright, fruity center. No one flavor dominated the others. The only truffle I wasn't too thrilled with was the summer pudding. It lacked the moist breadiness of its larger counterpart and had an overly tart, medicinal finish. The inclusion of white chocolate was probably the best for blending purposes, but was just too sweet for my palate.
Labels: 8, british, chocolate, dessert