Happy Halloween, everybody!
This is one of my favorite days of the year. It's got most everything I love: candy, horror, spooky paranormal stuff, dressing up, monsters, and candy.
I've always loved it - evidence here, portrait of the blogger as a young candy lover.
Sugar Daddy, as I have my adult teeth and have to adjust accordingly. Those Junior Mints would be long gone, though.
So, being that this IS my favorite day that isn't my birthday (which usually also includes a horror movie and lots of sugar) I tend to go crazy for anything that gets a Halloween theme. Food promotions that I'm usually cynical about, like using a Santa shaped mold and making the same old chocolate bar or slapping a beach ball on the 'Summer Edition' of orange Fanta, get a Halloween pass. Put a pumpkin on Babybel, and I'm 10x more interested in it, even though the contents is exactly the same. KitKat with a bat on it? Sold!
Sure, I much prefer when an actual new flavor is attempted, but I'm a lot easier going on package theming - provided I like the theme, and I do very much like skeletons and witch hats.
This Hotel Chocolat variety box did not disappoint in theming, with some good molds being used and a particularly well crafted skull... but what about flavors?
See what I mean, very nice packaging - black and bright purple are very nice 'witchy' Halloween colors, and we've got a good splash of red and orange, Halloween's other trademark shades coming up from the chocolates.
In case you don't know what flavors these are, let me give ya a rundown:
-Oozy Eyes of dark and white, filled with caramel...whatta fright!
-white and milk Praline Pumpkins, guaranteed to getya heart thumpin'
-Caramel chocolates, plain and salt, oh so good you'll join a cult
-Gianduja Bombes, that don't rhyme with tomb...
-Cherry Caramel Chocolate Skull, can't say that with your mouth full
So quite a bit of caramel & quite a bit of hazelnut paste. Kind of easy, especially in the UK market - not that there's anything wrong with that, sometimes the classics are just what you need.
Starting with the Oozy Eyes, they're nicely molded little spheres that look pretty eyeball-y, and they have a thin chocolate coating with a runny caramel center. It's plain caramel, not salted, so the white chocolate seems very sweet and the regular chocolate was a bit more balanced.
The Praline Pumpkins were really nice, probably my second favorite of the bunch since they tasted like a firm Nutella - the white chocolate was particularly good!
The caramel chocolate domes were basically just like the Oozy Eyes, except one was the salted caramel, which I've previously reviewed - to sum up, I think Hotel Chocolat's salted caramel is quite good, but it isn't salty enough to beat some of the more high priced varieties like Melt or Paul A. Young.
The gianduja bombes tasted a lot like the Praline Pumpkins, but just a bit more chocolate-than-hazelnut.
The 'Crystal Skull' was the final piece I tried, and there is only one in the box.
Mm! That is a great mold, I love that the jaw is finished and lax like that - just good, looks spooky, not just cute.
It is described as caramel chocolate with cherry crystals, but I was expecting it to be kind of plain milk chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when I had a bite and found out that it actually was quite cherry flavored! The crystals were crunchy bits of something like sugar, flavored like cherry candy, and the chocolate was mild, sweet, and milky.
I'd happily buy one of these as a solo chocolate, but unfortunately you can only get it in the box. D'oh!
All in all, a good box that I really enjoyed sharing while watching a spooky movie last night, but I would've enjoyed it just a bit more if there had been some stronger/more creative flavors, like Pumpkin Spice Pralines, for instance - or even some of the chocolates that Hotel Chocolat already makes, such as Licorice Caramel or Apple Cider.
UK readers, I highly recommend grabbing one of these if you can once they go on sale (presumably) tomorrow, as they're all quality chocolates, if not a bit boring for something that is Halloween- themed, and the Crystal Skull is an interesting flavor combination that works really well.
Happy Halloween, pals! The spooky things might not stop, however - I did say all week, after all. Mua ah ah.