Posted by - 31 October 2010 - No comments

I'm dreaming of a chocolate Christmas

If I'm totally honest I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I put that down to the fact that most of the chocolate I encountered as a child and now as an adult in my local corner shop was and is still absolutely dire.  Most of it is not even really chocolate, and if the EU had their way back in 2003 your fave chocolate bar would now be labelled 'chocolate substitute', or the more catchy 'vegelate'.   

I have nothing against this mass produced, sugar and vegetable fat infused variety of chocolate, however, once I tried the real stuff.  By this I mean chocolate, made using top quality cocoa (fair trade, of course) I was converted and have never looked back.

Now a lot has changed since that ruling, chocolate making has undergone a renaissance.  Most of us have cottoned on to the fact that good chocolate demands a level of skill and quality.  Over the last few years, there have been a handful of British artisan chocolate shops and producers opening shop, re-educating our taste buds on the virtues of real chocolate.   

One of the most well known chocolate brands is Hotel Chocolat.   I was lucky enough to be sent a selection of chocolate stocking fillers from their Christmas gift range last week. Available now, the yule-time collection of chocolate fuelled treats include advent calendars and Christmas crackers filled with with things you actually want to eat.  

I'm not a big fan of chocolate with fruit centres, so was dreading trying the Mulled Wine Cherries (£7.00) but was pleasantly surprised.  The cherries have been soaked in mulled wine and covered in dark chocolate.   Dark chocolate is not too every one's taste and these weren't to the AB's, but I really liked them and the alcoholic kick.  I'm no wine expert, but I think they'd be perfectly paired with a glass of port, and something you're Gran would enjoy tucking into while indulging in some festive viewing on the box.

The favourite of the big box of treats we've been sent are the Cookie & Caramel 40% Milk Chocolate Mini Wreath (£6.00) just beyond yummy; and the adorable Dasher the Reindeer (£6.00).  The latter is so cute to look at the AB and myself couldn't actually bring ourselves to eat him so we're saving him for Christmas day.

Verdict:  These are real chocolates using finest cocoa beans that have been ethically sourced, so you can indulge in a choc fest with a guilt-free conscience.
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