Hotel Chocolat has never been featured on this blog mainly because I've always been slightly disappointed with their truffles. I was unlucky enough to taste some of their truffles a couple of years ago when a friend gave us one of their big boxes. But I thought I would take a quick look round their Moorgate shop to see what was on offer. What harm could it do? Their shops are elegant and all the assistants seem as though they've just been weened off Mars bars they look so young! In their defense I have to say they are actually very good and are keen to offer you free samples of chocolate at every opportunity. Hotel Chocolat certainly know how to play the retail game with posh packaging, Vogue style assistants and freebies. I was hooked, there was no hope I wasn't going to escape without making a purchase. Having avoided all the Halloween offerings and what seemed like a never ending selection of bars I found the PURIST section. I was immediately taken in by the packaging and the fantastic selection on view. Well I came away with three PURIST bars and parted with my money. The assistant wished me Happy Halloween which has to be a first! Maybe they're trying a little too hard...
The Packaging: The bar is simply packaged for Hotel Chocolat standards in a clear cellophane bag with a paper label providing information and tasting notes on the bar which is very helpful. The bar is clearly identified as being organic and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The Chocolate: The PURIST range includes rare and vintage chocolate sourced from the finest cocoa in the world. Apparently only 5% of the world's chocolate production is considered to be in this category. To quote from their website, "Grown only on the coast and in the rainforest's of Ecuador, Nacional Arriba cocoa is unique for many reasons – not least its floral notes and fruity flavours. This well-balanced recipe brings out the best from the Nacional Arriba bean – naturally mellow, with a deep intensity and layered flavours of dried fruits, roasted nuts, hints of jasmine and a long finish".
I have to say that the presentation of this chocolate bar is excellent they remind me of huge lolling tongues and I love the grooves, very organic feel to it. Once the packaging is opened the first aroma to hit you is that of tobacco and dark, dark cocoa. I've not tasted many 80% chocolates before so I'm expecting this to be bitter. Yes, it's slightly bitter as you'd expect but it is not making my mouth dry. Fruity notes are coming through and yes this chocolate is long in flavour. I'm not getting the nuts or jasmine but it certainly has a kick to it that just fills your mouth with woody flavours! Even after finishing this piece of chocolate some 5 minutes ago I'm still picking up the flavour. A 35g bar is all you'll need as it will last for ages.
Overall I give this bar 9/10 for great flavour and outstanding presentation. The attention to detail is excellent and I can't find much to fault it. For a 35g bar I paid £3.00 but as I purchased three I took advantage of their deal and saved £1.50.
If you'd like to buy this bar visit Hotel Chocolat now.
This post was by Richard....