“ Brand: Chocolate / Type: Caramel „
As I mentioned before in my earlier Tiddly Pots review, Hotel Chocolat have excellent concepts for their core lines, and this is no exception. The Caramel Sweethearts are, I imagine, incredibly popular for Valentines', but also wonderfully versatile throughout the year as a small gift for loved ones. The box is bright fuschia (used to be pale pink, but I suspect fuschia is more versatile and less stereotypically 'girly' or 'romantic') and features a life-size picture of the hearts on the front. It's somewhere in the region of 25cm in length and 3cm deep, and is actually surprisingly heavy. There are 28 hearts in the box in 2 layers (they are stacked 2 deep in each,7 chocolates across). Each heart is approx 4.5cm tall by half a centimetre deep, and has a beautiful bird and flower pattern engraved on the surface. They are made from Hotel Chocolat's signature caramel milk chocolate, a 30% milk chocolate with caramel mixed into it (i.e. not a caramel filling) - which, might I add, is tasty enough on its own; however, the people at HC have added some extra quirks for that je-ne-sais-quoi whih features in a lot of their recipes. The first is the presence of lots of small caramelised hazelnut pieces, which add a lovely crunchy nibbly texture. The second, and my favourite, is the addition of tiny pieces of sour cherry, undetectable in the texture but visible as minuscule red dots through the chocolate, and not overpowering the caramel notes but just adding a slight tang to the warm round flavours. A lovely and well-considered touch. I have two minor reservations about the product. I find that they are slightly overpriced, as while the chocolate is, of course, excellent quality and well-packaged and designed, it is still a relatively small box for the £6.50 price tag. The other problem for me is that they unfortunately do not carry this recipe in any other form (bars or other products), so while I would recommend the chocolate itself, I wouldn't necessarily be comfortable in buying it for a colleague etc due to the romantic nature of the shape! A side note: Hotel Chocolat also carry this concept in another flavour: dark chocolate with chilli and cocoa nibs, in red packaging rather than pink. Perfect for vegans and dark chocolate lovers.
What can I say about these? Well, when I took off the wrapping paper (it was a birthday present) I immediately thought how lovely the box looked - a beautiful pink colour with the Caramel Sweethearts on the front. The black box with the Hotel Chocolat logo certainly made them look sophisticated and expensive. When I realied they were caramel hearts I was intrigued. At first glance, there are 7 in each of the two layers ... but then I discovered there are actually two in each compartment! Let's get down to the main business of taste. I was expecting something like a Cadbury's Caramel in a heart shape, but they are nothing like that... and in a good way! They are fairly thin (half a cm thick) and full of delicious crunchy bits of caramel which are sweet yet rather fruity in taste. This, added to the good quality chocolate, makes them very moreish. I'm desperately trying to make them last... at least until Valentine's Day when my husband can buy me some more!