I didn’t know if Hotel Chocolat did a brownie or not. And now I know!
For family reasons, I’m not spending my Tuesday evening at home watching Star Trek on Netflix, but instead am on a fast train to the North. I had a bit of time to kill in King’s Cross station before departure and thought I’d hunt around for a brownie. There were a few options I’ve not blogged about before. Starbucks and Costa were both there of course, but I’m saving Starbucks as a good potential fall-back in case of brownie shortage, and Costa I want to keep for a special occasion. There was a Giraffe takeaway place, which I’ve never seen before, and which in retrospect I sort of wish I had gone for.
What I actually went for was this. I’d been musing earlier today whether or not Hotel Chocolat might make a brownie: it doesn’t seem entirely within their forte, as they’re a chocolatier rather than a bakery per se, but on the other hand Thornton’s have branched out that far so it didn’t seem so far-fetched. And I figured the likelihood of me ever popping into a Hotel Chocolat looking for brownies again was pretty low, so why not seize the opportunity and buy what Hotel Chocolat calls “The Brownie”.
Well, brownie fans, these are not brownies. Hotel Chocolat doesn’t appear to make brownies after all. What they do make are various six-packs of chocolate pieces, each named after a common dessert and in some way themed after said dessert. See for example their Millionaire’s Shortbread (no shortbread, only chocolate); their Billionaire’s Shortbread (description: “Even richer than our Millionaire’s Shortbread”) and their Trillionaire’s Shortbread (little-known fun fact: inflation is really killing the shortbread industry). These ‘brownies’ are in fact caramel and pecan praline, with a milk chocolate shell.
It sure is a shame that I tried so hard to acquire brownie, and with the best of intentions, only acquired chocolate, but fear not: I, who famously once reviewed a milkshake as if it were a brownie to prove a point, have soldiered on and eaten the chocolate. Now I will tell you what I thought of it and maybe throw some numbers around too.
Taste: Hotel Chocolat undeniably make very high-quality chocolate. The praline is also good. It’s very tasty overall, if a little bit on the rich side for me. 8/10
Texture: It’s far too cakey. Just kidding, it’s a chocolate praline. The packet tells me that there are pecan pieces in the praline, which I think is supposed to add some crunch, but which actually has just ended up making it feel bitty and detracts from the smooth praline in my opinion. I’d also prefer a greater contrast between the praline and chocolate textures: both were quite soft. 6/10
Presentation: Well, they look very cute, as you can see, but once again here’s six small chocolate pieces that have come in two different bits of throw-away plastic: one wrapper around the whole and one moulded tray to hold each chocolate individually. I’m really not convinced that this is required, and unfortunately after spending a lot of the weekend discussing environmentalism and eco-conservation with some old friends I’m not feeling very forgiving. 1/5
Value: It is very high-quality chocolate for sure, but these six small pieces of chocolate praline were £3.95 in total. In scientific terms that is “a lot”. A bit rich for my blood. 4/10
Fudge Factor: It’s not a brownie. Er, they’re not brownies. I was considering being generous on this score, but then I remembered that they say they’re brownies, and they’re not. Rules are rules! -5/5
Brownie Total: 14
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
Not a brownie. It’s a trap! But seriously, I’m generally a big fan of Hotel Chocolat, but something about these didn’t quite work for me, so I wouldn’t recommend them really.
Few things make me feel more angrily socialist than a long, overcrowded train journey in the UK. I’m lucky that this one is not crowded, I guess.