Hotel Chocolat sent me their Signature Egg to review a couple of weeks ago. This was excellent news – I am a big fan of Hotel Chocolat, who are my favourite high-street chocolatiers. They currently have 21 shops in the UK, a mail-order chocolate tasting service and some really interesting products – my very favourite thing in the whole shop is the cocoa nibs, which are simply little shards of cocoa bean with no sugar.
The Signature Egg, cleverly, uses milk chocolate for one half of the shell and dark for the other. This was one of the best chocolate shells I’ve tasted – it’s extra-thick, and the dark chocolate in particular is very good; not too sweet, and extremely smooth with a lovely creamy texture. Hotel Chocolat have their own cocoa plantation in the West Indies, which guarantees the quality of the chocolate. I had some Cadbury’s chocolate in the kitchen to taste as a sort of control chocolate,which was granular and tooth-hurtingly sweet by comparison.
You can see the very pretty mini-eggs that fill the shell in the photograph. They are all liqueur creams…and this is where the Signature Egg, with its gorgeous, thick shell, falls down. On paper, the flavours looked great; pink Marc de Champagne, Tiramisu, Kirsch, Amaretto and so on. Unfortunately, the lecithin-slippery centres all tasted rather synthetic (the pink Marc being a dead ringer for Angel Delight). Advocaat, a flavour I usually dislike, was by far the best (and appropriately Easterish, being made from egg yolks), but the Kir cream managed to mimic cough mixture. Still – these were sweet, and sufficiently grown-up tasting that you won’t find them being stolen by the kids. Unless the kids happen to like Kirsch.