Recently I was asked to take part i a blogger's survey which involved taste testing a bunch of Hotel Chocolat goodies to determine which one should be given as a freebie in Millenium Hotel chains. Of course I said yes (who wouldn't say yes to chocolate?!) and have to say this is one of my favourite things I've blog-wise! I received my goodies last weekend and was pleasantly surprised on the sizes of the samples, so much so that I couldn't eat them all by myself and decided to share them out amongst Dan, my parents and myself. This way I thought it would be a fair test and would get more opinions on the chocolates. Okay chocolate lovers, brace yourselves...
Goody Bag Of The Season - Hotel Chocolat*
Contains (left to right): Salted Caramel Selector, Gemstones, Eton Mess Slab, Milk Smiley Lick, Billionaire's Shortbread Selector.
As you can see, there was a very generous (and delicious) selection for us to taste, and we all got stuck in more or less as soon as the parcel arrived. I actually found picking a favourite a lot more difficult than I thought, as I really enjoyed every single one, being a huge fan of Hotel Chocolat already! First of all I'll give you our thoughts on each chocolate, and then I'll get on to telling you which we decided was the best for the survey and Millenium Hotels.
Salted Caramel Selector - I'm not usually a fan of caramel centred chocolates. They're always the ones that get left in the tin until last in my house. However these Salted Caramels were much more sophisticated, both in appearance and taste. Dotted with the signature 'H' is milk chocolate with a caramel centre. Described as 'Oozingly soft caramel beautifully balanced with a pinch of sea salt', these grown up chocolates have the perfect balance between sweet and salty, making them rich without being overly sweet. These were my mum's favourite and I think these would definitely suit the sophisticated feel of the hotels.
Gemstones - I must admit, I didn't really see the point in these at first, but the more I ate, the more I liked them! These 'Glossy dark and white chocolate marbled gems to melt away in the mouth' are made by melting together white and dark chocolate drops together in a copper pan, meaning each one is ever so slightly different to the next. I can't stand dark chocolate, so I think I already had it in my head that they wouldn't be for me before I even tasted them, but mixed with white chocolate, they taste sweet and melt on the tongue. I think the size of the bag is also brilliant as you definitely can't stop eating them when you start!
Eton Mess Slab - How amazing does this look? Pretty proud of my photography skills with this one, I must say. I opened the box thinking that this would be my favourite before even trying anything, and I was not disappointed. I'm a huge fan of white chocolate, strawberries and meringue, so the three rolled into one, with cookies crammed in for good measure is right up my street! I did worry that it may be a little sickly, but it wasn't at all. The taste was really pleasant, with lots of textures and it looks great too!
Smiley Lick - This for me was the weakest out of the bunch, but that doesn't mean it wasn't nice! The chocolate was lovely and great quality, but for me this was a little simple and almost a bit too childish for a luxury hotel. This would be something suitable for the younger guests, maybe in a family room, but not as a main gift in my opinion!
Billionaire's Shortbread - I loved the look of these little chocolates with their little cookie pieces on top and the delicate star shape. They tasted pretty good too! These are described as 'A generous blend of caramel, cookies and silky smooth praline' and are rich and tasty. These were actually one of my overall favourites, however they contained hazelnut praline so wouldn't be suitable for guests with a nut allergy, something that would need to be considered when giving them to guests.
The winner? We decided that for overall appeal, the Eton Mess slab was the winner. It looks luxurious and special, and if I saw this waiting for me in a hotel room I would be a very happy girl indeed. It's a bit of a show stopper with it's colours and because of him different it looks. Not only that, but being so indulgent and fancy means it fits nicely with the grand feel of Millennium Hotels.
A close second was the Salted Caramels, with their sophisticated, grown up feel, but we felt they lacked the wow factor that the Eton Mess slab had.
What would you have chosen? Have you tried any of these before?