Writing for Londonist is not without its perks. A perfect example of such perkiness is an unsolicitated email we recently received enquiring where to send some sample products from Hotel Chocolat, a self-described “British-owned phenomenon brazenly committed to real, authentic chocolate.” An eager response resulted in finding a huge box of chocolate arriving in the next day’s post. As doggedly difficult as writing an unbiased review of free chocolate may be, we’re determined to give it our best shot.
Despite being securely packed, it was incredibly easygoing to open the understated box (it could have been a delivery of office paper) and to access the bounty inside. The contents, which were elegantly packaged as if primed for placement on the retail shelf, consisted of a “Goody Bag for Every Season” and a “Rocky Road Slab of Chocolate”.
The aptly titled “Goody Bag for Every Season”, which Hotel Chocolat suggests is a good idea if “you really want to know the way to a girl’s heart” was filled with an assortment of six creamy truffles, two mellow milk chocolate dippers “to stir in hot drinks and nibble,” a 100g chunky slab of milk chocolate with cookie pieces, a sample of hot chocolate flakes, and 180g of caramel drops. Nice. All items were at the very least worth tasting, but some bits outshined the others. In particular, the 100g slab of chunkiness was especially wonderful. The best way to describe it might be to put forward the image of a standard chocolate chip cookie with the cookie-to-chip ratio inverted.
With respect to slabs of chocolate, too much of a good thing is divine. The “Rocky Road Slab of Chocolate” with its bits of cookie, white chocolate chunks, and puffed rice “all stirred into a silky smooth Belgium 70:30 milk and dark chocolate fusion” was appreciatively yummy. Hotel Chocolat portrays this 500g mass of yum as a “journey of textures to complete satisfaction.” That’s a rather rich depiction but still, we would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't find eating a piece of slab a gratifying experience.
On flavour and quality alone, other upscale and gourmet chocolatiers, namely Green & Blacks, give Hotel Chocolat a run for its money. But, Hotel Chocolat seems to have its logistics down pat and to offer a decent range of admirably edible products. With three retail outlets in London (Kensington, Knightsbridge, and Moorgate) and a wide selection of reasonably priced treats on its easy to navigate website, Hotel Chocolat is worth keeping in mind next time you can’t think of anything to give.
Blokes, consider this our early 2008 Valentine’s gift warning to you.
Photograph courtesy of AngelChildVikki’s Flickr photostream.