Review: August Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club
I am an absolute sucker for subscription boxes. I'm like an over-excitable 5 year old waiting eagerly for the post by the door at the start of the month for whatever box I've ordered and the surprises which lie within. For ages Hotel Chocolat have been sending me special offers to join their monthly subscription Tasting Club so I finally caved and thought I'd give it a go!
One of the main reasons I hadn't tried it so far is that as a big fan of their "Selectors" (for those less familiar with HC, that's their packs of 6 flavoured chocolates/mini bars), I was worried that there'd be very few chocolates that I'd not tried before, especially if I signed up for it monthly.
Despite saying that it might be a few weeks before my first subscription arrived, my first box arrived within a few days of me ordering it, much to my delight! Handily, they've designed the box to fit through most letterboxes, but be warned the box is quite long so might not fit in the post-boxes that you get in flats.
When I opened the package, I saw that they'd thrown in a pack of their salted caramel "puddles" (aka big chocolate buttons), worth £5.50 as a welcome gift which was a nice touch. I'm not a huge fan of caramel flavoured chocolate, I find it a bit overly sickly, but happily ate the few that my boyfriend left me!
You can choose between a few different subscriptions: Mellow (milk rather than dark chocolate), Fortified (all things boozy), High Cocoa, Classic and Rare & Vintage (not just chocolates but things like nuts, cocoa nibs and more slabs from around the world). I chose the Classic selection because I like everything and couldn't decide.
My first box was £9.95 with free delivery and the box had about 30 chocolates, give or take. It comes with a leaflet about member benefits (including 5% HC discount), and a newsletter which this month tells you about their efforts to keep make their chocolate more ethical and how they're helping cocoa farmers in Ghana.
Some of my favourite ones in the box included the raspberry and peach with white chocolate which was beautifully tart inside and cased in smooth milk chocolate, the rhubarb and ginger cheesecake which I've had before and loved, and the caramel and lavender one which was really tasty with lots of lavender.
I wasn't so keen on the champagne cocktail - 62% Macae chocolate, Cointreau, Mercier Champagne and 70% dark - it was just a bit too much with the combination of strong alcohol and bitter chocolate, but that was pretty much the only one in the box that I actively disliked.
It was nice to have ones I hadn't tried like the bitter orange caramel (which tasted just like orange peel with a rich salted caramel) that I wouldn't necessarily have wanted six of, but enjoyed trying. For those with a real sweet tooth (which let's be honest is probably everyone reading this), you can't beat the Trillionaire's Shortbread with its combination of hazelnuts, shortbread, caramel, dark and milk chocolate.
Usually the box would be £22.95 which, although it's slightly cheaper than a normal box of Hotel Chocolat of this size, makes it one of the pricier subscription boxes I'm currently subscribed to. They give you a sheet with details of each chocolate with a few lines to comment and rate it out of 5 stars. Apparently they use the feedback from each box to develop their chocolates and decide which ones make the shops so I'm looking forward to trying some more new ones next month. I'm eager to see how different it is each month, that'll probably decide whether I keep the subscription up.
*I don't get anything for this, but if anyone wants to try a box, I got a couple of codes for people to try their first box for £6.95 - www.hotelchocolat.com/invitedfriend *
Which are your favourite food subscription boxes? Are there any you think I should try? Let me know in the comments below.