The Hot Chocolate Experiment
Every year, the second fall hits, the first thing I crave is a hot chocolate. As I child, I have memories of my Dad pulling out the blender to make his own chocolate powder customized to his own liking. Before we moved to the states I would not have called myself a chocolate snob, but now I would, mostly because I can not find a good, satisfying hot chocolate. I am picky, I like the chocolate to be full of flavor but not too rich and it should have just the right amount of creaminess. Moving meant I could no longer buy my favorite brand myself and last year I was lucky enough to have friends and family send me barrels of the stuff. While they are doing the same this year, I go through it too quickly. Holiday time is the perfect time to go shopping for hot drink supplies and so the perfect time for a hot chocolate Experiment.
My Favorite in Canada
Nestle Carnation Milk Chocolate
Is best made with 2 1/2 tablespoons of powder 6 ounces of boiling water, though I use the keurig and 2 ounces of skim milk. It's the perfect combination of chocolate and cream, sits well in the stomach and isn't full of sugar. I've spent years figuring this process out. I first discovered this one perfectly cold day at Kevin's parents' house before we were dating and while visiting with his mom and sister. I don't remember what we were doing, probably playing cards or baking a cake but everyone else was having tea and I didn't want one and was offered this instead. It's been my favorite since. Can be found at Superstore for approximately $6 depends on what size you buy
What We've Tried So Far
Landlakes - Chocolate Supreme
Instructions said to make it with 6 ounces of water. We did 8 using the keurig, it was just too strong with the 6. My opinion was decent coco but missing the creaminess of milk, which I added like like I do with my brand from Canada, it still felt bland and I gave it 2.5 out 5. Kevin gave it a 3. We also tried their Hazelnut following the same instructions. This was a complete disappointment. It smelled terrible and tasted worse. Upon reading the ingredient list on the make we realized that there was no hazelnut in it. I gave that 0 out of 5 and Kevin a 1. We won't be buying the Landlakes brand and I am glad I only bought sample packs to try. Bought at Woodmans, two packets for 87 cents each
Equal Exchange Chocolates - Organic Hot Cocoa
2 tablespoons of powder to 6 ounces of water, we used the keurig. I think if this had been a milk chocolate instead of raw chocolate I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It was rich and creamy. Kevin described it as a bitter chocolate, which would be better if turned into a Mexican spiced hot chocolate. In the end, to finish off the one glass I made, I added milk, but the powder didn't dissolve and it was left sitting cold on the table. It felt grainy and textured. I question if we'll be able to finish the container. I'll have to do so experimenting, maybe with some better proportioning: 8 ounces of water, add milk and marshmallows. It might be made decent, but I won't be buying this again. We both gave it 1 out of 5. Bought at Co-Op for $7
Sur La Table - Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
This was my most expensive purchase and was only bought because it was Salted Caramel, which is my favorite flavor for almost everything! The container is huge and there is enough to make 2 1/2 recipes that make 2 cups each if you follow the instructions. For $22, that is way too pricey. For the experiment it was worth it, but definitely not something I would normally do. Instructions said 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of powder to 1 cup of whole milk slowly heated and then add 1 cup of whipping cream. Bring to the temperature you wish to drink at, and enjoy. I used whole milk for the entire process and it turned out fabulous. It was very rich, I couldn't finish my whole cup and it was like drinking a chocolate bar, but it was lovely. Overall we both ranked it 4 out of 5. I am definitely going to make this again but with less powder, to see how that tastes. I wish there was more in the container to play with. I also would have loved to have topped this with whip cream, caramel sauce and salt but I never have those ingredients in the house! Bought at Sur La Table for $22
Silly Cow Farms - Hot Chocolate
The texture of this reminds me of the mixture my Dad use to make, which I suppose makes sense when I think about where it's from and how it's made. The instructions are odd though - 2 heaping teaspoons into hot milk and that's it, doesn't tell you what kind of milk or how much and when you compare to the rest of the coco's we've tried, 2 teaspoons is very little powder. I was making this for both Kevin and I to try, so I did 4 teaspoons to 2 cups of hot whole milk. I expected to like this one, I knew that going into it, but it really surprised me. It has the subtle chocolate that I enjoy and the creaminess that I love. The whole milk accounts for the creaminess and as whole milk is not something I generally buy (was bought purely for this experiment), I will definitely be trying this out with my standard milk. The subtle chocolate though was interesting because we put very little powder in and that amount of powder carried the punch I wanted. This is definition my favorite out of everything I bought. Kevin and I both gave it a 4.5 out of 5 ranking. Bought at Whole Foods for $6
I didn't find anything that is a perfect match and I never will. But we did try some amazing hot chocolates. I learned some interesting techniques when it came to preparing my chocolate and I learned that I like being picky about it.
What's your favorite hot chocolate?