As you know, I've become addicted to Hotel Chocolat's Lock-In events. And part of the deal is that you get your £10 deposit paid to reserve a space at an event back in store credit.
I was on the look out for something a bit different. Something I hadn't tried before (which is easier said than done as an on-and-off chocolate club member who's tried a healthy proportion of the range).
My eye was drawn to a cute little bag of 70% Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries. The idea of sour cherries combined with dark chocolate won me over in an instant.
The little black pouch weighs in at 100g and features a clear cut-away on the front, teasing the chocolate covered cherries. The branding of this Luxe Fruits product-line is clean and simple, with few words needed.
On the reverse, there's a tiny bit more detail about the product. Here we've got tart Montmorency cherries covered in a malty 70% dark chocolate and dusted in a raspberry bittersweet powder. The ingredients list in English and nutritional information in English and Danish follows:
Hotel Chocolat 70% Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries ingredients:
Dried cherries (45%), cocoa solids (cocoa mass, cocoa butter), sugar, freeze-dried raspberry powder (3%), emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural flavour (vanilla). Dark chocolate contains minimum 70% cocoa solids.
The recipe is suitable for vegetarians and is alcohol-free. A 'vegan' sticker on the front of the packaging identifies that this product is the latest addition to Hotel Chocolat's growing vegan chocolate range. However, the reverse of the packaging does include a disclaimer that explains that while Hotel Chocolat believes the product to be vegan-friendly, it's made in the same factory as milk chocolate so it cannot be guaranteed milk-free.
The initial aroma when opening the pouch is a wonderful bouquet of fruity chocolate, zingy raspberry, with a deep cherry scent coming through nice and clear too. It's a lovely smell that ought to be bottled.
Cherries are, in their nature, different sizes, and so each bite is different to the last. The biggest were the first to "disappear" in my house.
The dried Montmorency cherries have a good amount of moisture in them so are more jelly than jerky in texture. They are soft and chewy, but not excessively so. They are sour, which comes through more so in the smaller cherries.
The 70% dark chocolate adds a malty, bitter depth to the cherries. It works blissfully well, as the chocolate helps to compliment the flavour of the sour cherries. It also adds a touch of sweetness.
The raspberry dust is an interesting addition, and one that risks tainting the overall flavour. While it does impart flavour, it helps to add zing and a zip to the final product, which helps take it to the next level. The overall result is a consistent bittersweet flavour of cherry and dark chocolate, with a hint of zingy raspberry that surrounds it.
The flavours are carefully balanced so nothing runs away on its own. As the Chocolate Covered Cherry touches your tongue, the hit of tart raspberry awakens your senses, but quickly backs down. As you bite through it, the cherry comes through but before the sourness hits you, the dark chocolate swoops in, adding an almost savoury hit. The trio of flavours work in harmony well into the aftertaste.
If you can, try not biting the Chocolate Covered Cherry and instead suck it. The tasting experience is completely different. Again, the tart raspberry awakens your senses, but that fades to allow the smooth dark chocolate to melt. It's quite bitter with the faintest hint of smoke, but its thin coating means it melts away in an instant. Then you're left with the temptingly plump Montmorency cherry. Biting through this after that journey is an absolutely joy, with an abundance of cherry flavour sans the sour hit.
So, there are two ways of eating this and both give you a completely different experience. Chocolate cherry fans will loves these and I doubt the 100g bag will last long. They are great to snack on, and way too easy to demolish in quick succession (take it from me). You need to be strict with yourself if you want these to last longer than one sitting.
Fancy trying the 70% Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries yourself? They're currently available° at £6.50 a bag or two bags for £12.
Are you a fan of cherry and chocolate? What do you think about pairing sour cherry with dark chocolate and raspberry dust? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: I purchased a 100g bag of Hotel Chocolat 70% Chocolate Covered Dark Cherries for £6.50 at a lock-in event in Cardiff. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.