Do you love Chocolate? Do you like a good Hot Chocolate? Do you like a nice Hot Chocolate at home, on a cold, wet, June afternoon, No that’s wrong, unless you’re in London that is, but whenever you enjoy a big cup of chocolatey goodness there are a lot of choices out there and some are not as good as others. So here is a rough guide to Hot Chocolates to make at home.
Now there are two schools of Hot Chocolate, the Drinking Chocolate, that is boil milk and add Cocoa Powder or Drinking Chocolate Powder.
There are numerous brands out there to try, Cadbury’s is of course one of the best known and is is Vegan if you add Soya or a milk alternative, but there are others and some are stronger, more richer, darker chocolate percentage or just quirky.
But whether you buy Tesco’s own, Sainsbury’s, Asda’s or Morrisons they are all practically the same, the same packaging and the same powder, because Cadbury’s make it for them, then just package the powder in a cardboard tin and stick a different coloured lid on top. The only difference with the original is that it has a higher cocoa percentage, thus making it more expensive and a stronger flavour.
So what alternative are there?
Well if you want really good, really rich chocolate then Twining’s Swiss is well worth a try, it is yummy, but at twice the price of Cadbury’s it’s more a once in a while indulgence drink.
If you are sat there thinking, well that’s not expensive, I want a real luxury Hot Chocolate then we would say go to Whittard’s Tea Shop and get their Chocolate Powder, at £7 it’s quite an indulgence and as with all the powders mentioned here, you don’t just add the 2 or 3 tea spoons to a cup, you really need that extra spoonful to get a truly rich taste and 4 spoons per serving quickly depletes the pot.
Other indulgent alternatives to try are Selfridges own Naive at £20 for this packet, this is truly indulgent and expensive and honestly having tried just a sample it isn’t worth it.
What is worth it though is the Kokoa Collection at £7.99 for a pack of chocolate discs it is expensive but oh wow, what a taste, if you remember our reviews of the now deceased Chesterfield’s Coffee Shop in E3, you’ll remember our raving about their Hot Chocolate and how we would detour just to get one from them and this is why, this was their secret. There is a selection of Milk, white Dark and Darkest in the Collection
Bournville’s version is cheaper than but just as strong in the dark chocolate vein, but again is quite bitter and you’d need a few spoons of sugar to level out the taste, so if that’s your taste then that is a good, cheaper alternative to the others mentioned.
Basically there are tons and tons to try, but genereally the rule is the higher the cocoa content, the better the taste, but the higher the percentage the more bitter and sharper the flavour, so you need to find your balance.
And whether you are a traditionalist and boil the milk in a saucepan on a stove, or just stick it in the microwave and be done with it, the result will be the same, a good chocolatey drink and last of your milk gone, so you won’t have any for tea or coffee in the morning!
The other school is Instant Hot Chocolate drinks, that is boil a kettle, put some chocolate powder in a cup and pour the water over it and stir. Simple, right?
Well no this is where the problem starts in earnest. The instant versions tend to have milk powder in them and this could cause problems, for the Lactose intolerant, the Vegans and other issues, but that’s not what this is about.
Over the years We, (Ash mainly) has tried lots of these instant Drinks, trying to find a favourite that isn’t going to mean buying 20 pints of mile a week! All these Instant drinks do need at least 5 spoons of powder in the cup, so it’s about a 1/3 powder to 2/3 water mixture and not the 2 or 3 spoons as stated on the side of the packet in some cases.
For a while we were buying Sainsbury’s Basic’s Fair Trade, this was really cheap to start with, we are talking 90p for 500g, then it started to go up 10p a week, until it got to £1.70, the same price as their non basic own brand, then they change the packaging and increased the price more and filled the jars less than half way, so you thought you were getting more but were actually getting less than half the original – a con!
So we started a hunt for an alternative, Sainsbury’s own brand in the purple jar has NO FLAVOUR at all, it is the most bland drink I have ever tasted.
Tesco’s do a similar version, same jar, different lid, like with the Cadbury’s drink, but their version tastes of Coconut, like REEEEEALLY Coconutty! Morrisons own brand was thrown away after one try it tasted of oil and we haven’t tried Asda’s, but going by the others we suspect it can’t be good, (Given they are clearly all made by the same company). So we tried the next level up in own brands and found them dull, flavourless or just odd.
The Clipper Teas version is ok but you need about eight spoonfuls in a cup to get a real flavour, it is advertised as smooth and velvety, which means mild and watery.
The low calorie versions do tend to be tasteless again and the and smaller amounts in the pot, you need at least double the spoonfuls to get a flavour, which is counterproductive.
So on to the named chocolates ie Galaxy, Aero and others these have more cocoa in the powder compared to the Supermarket versions, even compared to Cadbury’s best known blue pot.
These are delicious, Ash’s personal favourite is the Galaxy, the Maltesers is a good alternative to regular Hot Chocolate with that Malt taste it’s like a cross with Horlicks, (the Malty Hot Drink).
This is by no way a complete list, it is only the list of those I have tried and so I cannot say that of the hundreds of varieties out there these are the best and there are literally hundreds of companies making variations, just google search Hot Chocolate and you’ll see just how many there are.
But for now here are our recommendations and our preferences, We hope this is helpful and one last point, if you really need a great cup of Chocolate and find yourself in Soho, London, you have to try out Said 1924 for the ultimate indulgent chocolate experience, we would just recommend you go for a small cup, the big cup is just too much (taste and money!)
Well there you go, if you aren’t in a Chocolate Coma after that, remember to subscribe, to get posts direct to your email each week, check out our Social Media and come back each week for more.
But with that said, Climbing Moss will be away for the next few weeks, when we return we will have lots of new stuff to tell you about. So until then,