Hot Cross Buns to me are basically just that song I had to learn on the recorder before I was allowed to graduate elementary school.
That sentence probably only made sense to about 40 percent of my readership. This video should explain it all and warm your heart at the same time. When I was in school we all had to learn that song and perform it. No explanation given as to what hot cross buns were, and why they were so cheap. So, they're not a food with a lot of cache in America, and I'm not even sure they have an association with Easter. At least in my neck of the woods, it's exclusively a song.
So no, I didn't know what they had in them and I certainly had no idea what a chocolate one would taste like. Even after living here for about 4 years I don't think I've eaten one. Not that I'm opposed to the idea, it's just not a traditional food where I come from, nor does it seem to have that compelling of a flavor. Same thing as some American foods - for instance, I certainly wouldn't be pushing a king cake on any English people. A little boring, but nostalgic.
These Choc Cross Buns by Hotel Chocolat did intrigue me, however. Limited edition? Interested. Cinnamon spiced praline and apple ganache? Sold.
They're nice & thick, substantial pieces of chocolate so the serving suggestion of 3 seems appropriate for a snack. I had them with a milky tea, and it really brought out some spice & sweetness.
The first one I ate was without tea accompaniment - this was tasty, but unfortunately just seemed like an enrobed truffle. Not even nutty from the praline, and I certainly didn't pick up any apple or cinnamon.
However, once they warmed up a bit by being near my tea (or dipped in my tea, or eaten alongside it) the flavors really came through. The apple was tart, and the cinnamon was spicy & sweet, very warming.
I was a bit surprised when I bit through that there was no kind of gushy apple sauce or syrup like I had expected - silly me though, it did say apple ganache. I feel like a stronger flavor would've been developed had it been an apple puree or something rather than just apple flavor mixed in with a chocolate ganache. Would that have been better, though? Maybe not, the subtlety wasn't really a problem after chasing it with tea. Anything stronger might've been overpowering!
I wonder if the stronger flavor profile I seemed to get after warming them up a bit has to do with the fact that the flavor of spiced apple is usually a part of something that has been toasted. Whatever the case, these went from plain chocolate to nice mix of flavors with just a little bit of warmth. I'd therefore suggest trying these with a cup of tea, warm milk or some hot chocolate.