Last night, I think i reached my nirvana. Or as close to it as I could possibly be. Last night, a bunch of us Yelpers had a tasting event at Hotel Chocolat, a luxury chocolate story in Glasgow city centre.
I’d been in the store a couple of times before and had a browse, but I had never had the privilege of sampling any of the chocolate they had to offer. Needless to say, I was FAR too excited. I had been promised copious amounts of chocolatey bites,and I was not disappointed. So glad i didn’t have dinner before i came. We were greeted with chocolate at the door! A sample of their enormous chocolate blocks that they had on display at their door. The Lemon meringue pie slab was smooth and creamy with a hint of lemon and pieces of biscuit throughout. However, the missisippi mud pie WAS RIDICULOUS. Chunky brownie pieces, smooth milk and white chocolate… I could have eaten the entire block without any problems at all.
The blocks in all their glory.
Sample anyone? Chunks of the Lemon Meringue…
The Prosecco and OJ were also freely flowing. Of course.
We then got a chance to learn more about Hotel Chocolat. The business started as just a chocolate sampling service – sending samples out in the post to loyal chocolate club customers. From there, the business grew, although the chocolate sampling club is still very much a part of the experience. They not only have stores in the UK, but one in New York, Boston and Amsterdam, in addition to a Hotel, Restaurant and a Cacao plantation in St Lucia. I had no idea the business was so broad and international!
We were taught about the chocolate making process itself, “from tree to tummy”, and guided through a wide tasting of some of their most popular chocolates and truffles. We were also taught how to properly taste a high quality chocolate. I was amazed and excited to learn just how similar coffee and chocolate were in terms of process, taste and experience – they both come from a similar bean that is coated in a thick white mucilage, both are subject to fermentation processes, both are dried, both can be either a single origin or a blend… Perhaps this similarity explains a lot about my enduring love for chocolate!
We were told to smell the chocolate, to experience the richness of the scent. We admired the sheen of the bar, as well as the smooth interior and satisfying “snap” the chocolate made. Last, but certainly not least, we appreciated the taste – Each chocolate was unique in its taste profile, and each had its own individual experience and depth of flavour. Tasting notes indicated that we experienced flavours such as caramel, oak, olive oil and red berries. So not unlike coffee then!
The single origin from St Lucia was definitely my favourite. It was a dark chocolate, but extremely creamy, sweet and caramelly, not unlike a milk variety. It just melted on the tounge…mmmm.
Dark chocolate comparison… these two had an ENTIRELY different taste profile.
We also got to experience some of Hotel Chocolat’s savoury treats – a white chocolate and horseradish sauce, a cacao pesto, a cocoa mayo… each one was unlike anything i’d tasted before, but were extremely delicious!
With the massive amount on sale, i obviously had to come home with something. A mini mud pie slab and a package of fizzy champagne truffles later, I was one happy customer.
The event was hugely enjoyable, and thanks again to community manager Briony for organising it. I have a new appreciation for artisan chocolates, and I love how the taste experience can be so varied in nature. Just goes to show how much bland and sugary rubbish is actually on our shelves! If i want proper quality chocolate, Hotel Chocolat will probably be stop number one from now on…