Come over to the dark side for a Hotel Chocolat giveaway

HotelChocolatTitle © J Horak-Druiff 2010


Why is it that darkness always comes with negative connotations?  The Dark Side of the Force (cue heavy breathing, a shiny black mask and “Luke…. I AM your father!!”).  The Dark Continent.  A bit of a dark horse. The Heart of Darkness. A dark mood.   Personally, if I were Darkness, I would fire my current PR company and get a new one!


And yet despite all of this bad PR, I actually like a little darkness in my life (after all… I was a teenage Goth.  Or at least I tried to be, but I struggled to give up the healthy tan and blonde highlights!!).  Not for me the unbearable lightness of being – give me dark humour any day of the week.  And, of course, dark chocolate.  Anything else is just cheating.


When the lovely folk at Hotel Chocolat offered to send me a sample from their collection of chocolate Christmas gifts, and asked if I had any preferences, there was no hesitation from my side – dark dark dark all the way please!


Hotel Chocolat is a British-owned luxury chocolate manufacturer founded in 1993 and now has 43 stores throughout the UK.  WHen they acquired the Rabot Estate in St Lucia in 2006, they also became the first UK chocolate manufacturer to own their own cocoa estate from which to manufacture their products, giving them total control over the quality of the final product.  The company is also proud of their ethical track record, striving to improve the quality of life of their cocoa farmers in St Lucia and Ghana.

Now it is one of the quirks of my tastebuds that I can leave chocolate untouched in my cupboard till the sell-by date has come and gone (but leave me in charge of a packet of crisps and you had better prepare yourself for buying a replacement packet!) Not for me the mid-afternoon “chocolate” fix that my colleagues seem to crave (Messrs. Snickers, Mars and KitKat) – chocolate has to be indulgent and pretty damn special to tempt me.  And I have to say that the hotel Chocolat Christmas collection ticks both those boxes.  The chocolates look appropriately sensual, with their dark palette (just a smidgeon of chille here; some Christmas glitter there).  Unlike some chocolate selections, the chocolate itself is outstanding – not only does it have a mirror-shiny appearance, but also the deeply satisfying snap of properly tempered chocolate and a deep, complex, almost fruity flavour.


Fillings are varied and intriguing.  From the baubles in plain 70% cocoa dark chocolate, we move on to dark chocolate with chilli or orange; through traditional fillings like gianduja, dark caramels or crunchy praline; and then on to my more unusual favourites: pear frangipane, single malt smoothie, sticky toffee clementine, and their alternative Christmas pudding (boozy and addictive!). I can’t think of a single flavour that I have tried that did not appeal to and indulge all my senses.


Of course, Christmas chocolate is not all about dark & mysterious truffles – there is room for more frivolous creations too, like this rather delightful cookie & caramel crunch mini Christmas wreath; or to give yor Christmas guests a special treat, you could hand out Christmas crackers filled with chocolate.  To give is better than to receive, after all 😉

And on that topic, now it’s my turn to give something to YOU! Hotel Chocolat have kindly agreed to send a box of their Signature Dark Collection chocolates to one of my lucky readers in Europe, the USA or South Africa!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (please leave either your e-mail address or twitter handle so I can contact you) by midnight on Monday 20 December (GMT).  You can also tweet about this giveaway (be sure to use the hashtags #hotelchocolat AND @cooksisterblog in your tweet so I can find you!) by midnight on Monday 20 December (GMT) – if you comment and tweet you will have two chances of winning!  I will randomly select the winner after entries close and will announce their name shortly thereafter. Good luck!





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  1. Roxanne Norman says

    The picture above look absolutely to die for! I love Dark chocolate and would love to taste the Pear Frangipane flavour…

  2. Helen says

    I’m just getting properly in to dark chocolate, so this would help me along the way! (Although it does make me sneeze still…)

  3. says

    Oh lord, can I win another box? Stunning pics, Jeanne, just gorgeous! And I can attest for these being gorgeous delicious chocs! We love one with our glass of wine after dinner. Or two.
    A goth? You?

  4. says

    Ooh, me, me! *jumps up and down frantically waving both hands and trying to look like someone who deserves chocolate*
    P.S. It was very hard being a blonde Goth, wasn’t it? No-one took us seriously. Le sigh.

  5. says

    Yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy… Have I made my point yet? No? Ok… Yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy! I WANT TO WIN!

  6. Carole says

    Oooh they look gorgeous – i love dark chocolate :) I like the way Hotle Chocolat always do something a bit different!
    You’ve reminded to quickly put in an order at HC for last minute christmas pressies!
    C x

  7. Julia says

    these look really beautiful – works of art in fact – and they can be eaten; too good to be true! Dark chocolate is one of life’s great treats, I do agree.

  8. says

    Lovely luscious photos for some really different chocolate flavours. I love chocolate but only need a little amount everyday (ahem) so I promise to share if I win!

  9. Anne-Marie says

    i have just finished making macarons with hotel chocolat chocolate buds. the better the chocolate, the better the ganache!

  10. says

    oh pick me pick ME!!
    after developing an unfortunate snobbishness regarding choccies, i can only eat fancy choccies… aiaiai. and these look DIVINE. Oh please pick me!! (@polkadotcupcake)

  11. says

    Not quite sure if I am currently on the dark side, or the heaven side or the I-do-not-know-what-side, but I am in a very happy place at the moment. Cannot stop looking at these photos, ooh-ing and aah-ing.
    Thank you for sharing these yummy, dark chocolate ‘beauties’. (@narrylikes)

  12. Annie says

    I can eat chocolate any time of day or night but Hotel Chocolat deserves to be saved for a special treat – yum! I’m feeling lucky ….. x

  13. Jennifer K. says

    I LOVE their chocolate! I haven’t had any in ages though, as my unemployed state doesn’t really allow those splurges. :(

  14. says

    Designer chocolates! How divine. They look almost too good to eat, which is such a boring cliche … Must say I’m a confirmed dark chocolate addict too. Would love to receive such an outstanding gift!

  15. Rob says

    oooh oooh oooh .. Pick me pick me pick me …
    I have found that chocolate is an acceptable form of payment in terms of a bribe, but dark chocolate, well now, that just takes the bribe to a whole new level!
    What does one have to do to bribe you to be the recipient of this wonderful giveaway .. more dark chocolate.
    I would promise my first born, but he is rather large and cumbersome and wouldn’t fit into the post box (I have tried) and sadly he is 1800 km’s away :( .. what else would tickle your fancy?
    My email is rob.gobey@gmail.ocom

  16. says

    I am DY-ING HERE!!! Have wanted to try these since Meeta offered them on her site – they just look fabulous and something The Professor would so enjoy (he’s a dark chocoholic!!)

  17. Jay Crisologo says

    Once you go Dark Chocolate, it’s hard to appreciate Milk Chocolate. I almost spitted a chocolate star when my taste buds cringed from its milk chocolateyness.

  18. Moira says

    GET IN MAH BELLY! Yeah, so I want these chocs. Bad. That should be enough to win, don’t you think? WHATEVER, JEANNE.

  19. says

    Excellent photos; I really struggled the other day to take some pictures of similar chocolates and was really disappointed with the results. These are quite inspirational…

  20. says

    Oooh, the dark side every time for me please! Lovely Christmassy pictures (runs off to nibble on chocolate reserved for Christmas baking to feed the cravings)

  21. Judy D says

    I’m always looking for dark chocolate to share with my husband, he is not a chocoholic like me and will only eat dark.
    These are beautiful, like little works of art. A fitting gift for anyone, male or female.

  22. Kat says

    Pick me, pick me! If nothing else, just so I can learn how chocolate will be sent succesfully to a Jo’burg summer! (Great post, and delectable photos.)

  23. Stacey says

    Mmmmm dark chocolate. So much better than milk.
    The photos are stunning and make me want to lick the screen!
    Hope I win!!!!

  24. says

    Pretty chocolates! I find Hotel Chocolat’s (and indeed most chocolate shops’) milk chocolates a bit too sickly, so it’s dark all the way for me too :)

  25. says

    Ok now I won’t be able to get that shot of half eater chocolate off of my mind until I swallow a whole box of it! Thank You very much 😀
    Your photographs just made it look even more out of the world!

  26. Elizabeth says

    Are you kidding me? Currently planning a trip to London and then Paris and was actually feeling a bit worried I would not be able to find English lovelies to try. Consider me cured! and for goodness sake, put me in the drawing!

  27. says

    These pictures (and chocolates) are beautiful, and now that I’ve looked at them, I will quite literally pass out from mouth-hunger if I don’t go find myself some dark chocolate to munch on right now.

  28. Sonja says

    Love the Chocolates – some look like mystic bells. I’m a huge foodie and I love to cook with chocolate as well. Great blog!

  29. frank ward says

    What a fantastic giveaway! As you can never have to much chocolate I say, the only problem is, that I would be to scared to touch them as they look so wonderful.

  30. says

    I’ll come over to the dark side. Dark chocolate, in small amounts, is a known antioxident. And, as a two time breast cancer survivor, winning this chocolate is a medical necessity. I promise to only eat one piece a day.

  31. Klee says

    Dark chocolate is my favorite, as well. That collection looks delicious. Good chocolate is worth spending a little extra money.

  32. Raylene says

    Wow, this lured me all the way from foodgawker! And a chocolate giveaway for Hotel Chocolat chocolate? How can I not try my luck? :)

  33. Ranita Reeves says

    Those pictures of the chocolates look amazing,I love dark chocolate.
    Hope you have a merry christmas and a happy new year.

  34. kristy pickering says

    These pictures make my mouth water! I have made truffles and understand the amount of work (and cost) that goes into making these luscious gifts. I would love to receive and share a box of Hotel Chocolat Signature Dark Collection….hopefully I’m in tme….

  35. Fay Trezise says

    Oh my goodness…… Your descriptions are heavenly *faints*
    Pleaaaaaaaaaase pick me!
    I weigh 76lbs at 5’5.5”… And I would eat these, that’s how good they sound.
    Pick me, pick me! *said in Dory from Finding Nemo fashion*

  36. Deborah Haseltine says

    Is chocolate something to fear — is it really a curse?
    Is it something to be avoided, or is it much worse?
    OH NO!!!! chocolate the eighth wonder…a total delight!!!
    Something you savor and love with all your might!!!!!
    `*.¸.*´ Deb

  37. Kristen G says

    All of these look beautiful AND delicious…thanks for introducing me to this fine company just in time for Christmas!

  38. Abigail says

    Moved back to the States from the UK a couple years ago and dearly miss browsing the High St. Ken shop (with a tasting bar!) in London! The wreathe looks absolutely delicious!

  39. says

    AAARRGGHHHH!!! I have missed this by a matter of hours….damn those dastardly dark moments that have kept me away from this blog until now! Now its Hello Darkness my old friend for me… days and nights will never be the same since I cast eyes on these amazing photographs and your descriptions of these dark and dandy luscious chocolates. I am DESOLATE like only darkness can be…..unless I were any one of these amazing chocolates. Why did I have to know about them? Now I am going to spend my life wondering what I am missing!! Like you I am a lover of decadent DARK chocolate. I savour each morsel…love this post. Well done Jeanne. And to that dark horse who will win this awesome prize….may darkness prevail haha…and I mean that in such a good way :o) xx