Before we start, here’s a disclaimer: I will gladly prostitute my own morals and this blog’s hard-won integrity in exchange for free food.
This week, I received an easter egg in the post, the results of a secretive deal struck with the PR company behind Hotel Chocolat, an unruly brigade of artisan chocolatiers who describe themselves as a “British-owned phenomenon brazenly committed to real, authentic chocolate.” Now I like the idea of being “brazenly committed”, as if they’re making champagne truffles and knocking up marzipan fancies without any regard for their own personal safety. It’s the kind of no-nonsense, testosterone-filled approach to sweet-making I appreciate.
So I agreed to review one of the company’s products, their Signature Egg, 20 quid’s worth of hand-made chocolate stuffed full of further hand-made chocolate.
As you can see, it comes in a nice black and gold box. This choice of colours is supposed to represent luxury and mystery, I imagine, as if to convince the perspective purchaser that they’re buying into a lifestyle of heady elegance and unrivaled opulence, like Monte Carlo with added cocoa.
The egg hatches to reveal its chocolate cargo, a dozen hand-decorated ovums containing all sorts of mildly alcoholic fillings. I sample a few.
Pink Marc De Champagne
To be honest, it’s a mixed bag. The bellini truffle, named after the famous cocktail invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1934, is quite possibly the nicest chocolate I’ve ever had, containing a suburb, velvety ganache of peach and champagne. On the other hand, the one marked quite clearly on the guide photo as containing advocaat quite clearly doesn’t. It’s whisky flavoured, leading me to wonder whether Hotel Chocolat have a whole batch of mis-labelled sweets they’re farming out on the sly to Britain’s greediest, most obese bloggers.
In fact, some of the flavours are a little odd: if you surveyed 100 people and asked what booze they’d like to find inside a truffle, I’m sure that calvados wouldn’t be a popular choice, and yet it’s here. On the other hand, Kir Royale is a great selection, because the blackcurrant creme de cassis base goes beautifully well with chocolate. It’s a natural fit.
Minor quibbles aside, it’s easily the best Easter egg I’ve ever had. Proper quality. The shell is thick, rich and creamy, while the truffles are exquisitely presented and, for the most part, quite exceptional. Finally, and most importantly, I imagine that if you gave one to a pretty lady, she’d want to have sex with you almost immediately.