22 October 2012

Witches Warts and Halloween Bites Selection (Hotel Chocolat @HotelChocolat) [By @Cinabar]

One of the good things about Halloween is that in recent years confectionary companies are making quite an effort to launch new goodies. It is gaining in popularity here and even posh chocolatiers like Hotel Chocolat launch an exciting range of chocolates in the autumn. This year two of their products caught my eye, the Halloween Bites Selection and the bag of Witches Warts.

Halloween Bites

This selection box of chocolates has been introduced for the season as part of their H-Box range. It contains a lovely mix of chocolates all beautifully laid out for Halloween, and elegantly packaged. Inside the box were:

Praline Pumpkins – I just love the moulding of these chocolates, they do look absolutely wonderful. Inside the box there were four pumpkins two made with a milk chocolate coating and two with the orange coloured white chocolate. The filling was sweet and nutty, and very smooth. The chocolate shell was thick and added an impressive amount of flavour. I love chocolate and nuts, with praline being one of my favourite fillings so I was in absolute heaven.

Gianduja Bomb – So this one doesn’t have a Halloween name or themed design, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! Gianduja is smooth, praline like, chocolate nut paste. I feel obliged to offer a fascinating fact at this point as it fits in; Nutella used to be called “Pasta Gianduja” so there you go. Anyway did I mention I like chocolate and nuts? The chocolate and nutty filling in the one is surprisingly dark and flavoursome. The textures is silky to the point that it just sorts of melts easily away on the tongue. The nuts flavour soft, but the chocolate strong. The chocolate is thick and a pleasure to crack into, and the dusting of cocoa powder just adds a hint of bitterness into the mix. This is a classy act, containing all my favourite ingredients.

Zombie Eye Truffle – This one takes us back to the Halloween theming, with a blood red eye looking up at us. Thankfully it is raspberry ganache hidden within a white chocolate shell! Hotel Chocolat white chocolate is one their best products. It’s creamy and sweet but still has a good underlying flavour of cocoa butter. It has been teamed brilliantly with the super sharp and fruity filling that contrasts it perfectly. I love the mix of creamy white chocolate and sharp fruit flavours; it makes a seriously well put together chocolate.

Dark Soft Caramel – This chocolate almost looks like a cone of shiny dark chocolate. The coating is a rich strong 70% cocoa, it has been paired with a sweet brown sugar flavoured caramel that complements it perfectly. I love the mix of sweet and dark in this chocolate, and how the chocolate shell cracks revealing the runny oozing filling. These may only be small compared to the pumpkins but they pack a good mix of tastes.

The Crystal Skull – Finally, but certainly not least we have the neatly moulded chocolate skull. I love the detail on this, and it is the stand out item in the box. It has been made with Hotel Chocolat’s rich milk chocolate, but mixed in it are loads of small cherry crystals. The flavour of these is quite delicate and adds just a gentle fruity hint to the overall block of chocolate. The best part of them is the texture that they add, giving the skull a satisfying crunch as you munch it. The only problem I foresee with this fine chocolate is that there is only one of them, so I think if you are sharing they may be arguments over it. ;-)

I can’t imagine that there is a more perfect after dinner selection of chocolates on the market for Halloween. These would also make a wonderful thank you gift for the host of any Halloween parties you might be attending.

Witches Warts

Now the phrase Witches Warts might not sound that appealing, but I would like to assure you that the ingredients here consist mainly of nuts, chocolate and popcorn, so there is nothing to worry about!
Inside the bag are oddly shaped chunks of chocolate covering popcorn pieces that have been rolled in chopped pecans. The chocolates do vary in size, from the epic huge stuck together chunks to the smaller individual bits. Each delivers a different ratio of ingredients but all taste rather superb. I love Hotel Chocolat’s milk chocolate as it packs quote a punch with the cocoa element, but still delivers a sweet and creamy aftertaste. The addition of the nuts in with the popcorn do give a good depth to the flavour, and as pecan nuts are quite distinct it made the product just a bit different. The popcorn and nuts have wonderful texture even underneath that generous coating of milk chocolate, and the toffee flavour shone through too. Some of the bites even had a slight hint of salt which made them all rather moreish.
I really love the novelty of this bag of Witches Warts but as it is Hotel Chocolat there is simply no cutting back on quality either. This is the ideal gift for any junior Halloween visitors you might get, but it’s a bit too nice to give away to random Trick or Treaters.
By Cinabar

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