Posted by: thehungryrunner | January 8, 2008

Hot Chocolate Review: Well, if I must…

A friend of mine had given it to me as a Christmas gift.  I felt it deserved it’s own tasting and review:

Before I launch into the formal review, I should inform you that this wasn’t “just” luxurious hot cocoa mix.  No, my friend, it turns out this is essentially a can of shaved chocolate bars.  Yes, as in, take a solid block of chocolate and a vegetable parer, and scrape away until you have a can full of the resulting shavings.  Is it any wonder it made my head swim in chocolate jubilence???

Anyway, here it is, my attempt at doing the chocolat proud with a befitting review (I actually sampled it in mid-December):

Sprungli Chocolat Chaud      Five out of Five Stars

Every now and then, I’m reminded that there’s just no substitute for the real thing; the real thing in this case being hot cocoa — REAL hot cocoa, as in, a rich, luxurious 70% cacao chocolate bar, rendered to ribbon-smooth shavings.  Definitely not the stuff diets are made of, but hey, if you’re going to stray from “sugar free cocoa-like granules,” this is the way to go!

Of course, being the culinary delinquent that I am, and having been raised solely on the kind of hot chocolate that comes out of a packet and gets mixed instantly with boiling water, I actually had to look up how to correctly heat the milk and melt the chocolate.  It dawned on me that not only have I never before made hot chocolate from scratch, I didn’t even fully *realize* there exists an entire world of “non-instant” hot cocoa!  What dark ages do these people live in?

Apparently, the “dark chocolate” age, which of course is now, the first era in which cacao actually can be found on one of the updated Food Guide Pyramids.  Did I mention I’m suddenly a fan of the Food Guide Pyramid? 🙂 

But getting back to the hot cocoa — or hot cacao 70%, to be more accurate.  To set the mood appropriately, I actually put on my boots and took a short walk to the local park.  With a fresh snow still in progress, it offered the perfect means of enticing the palette for warm, sweet things to come.  The snow was almost too deep for my boots, but it made for a satisfying winter wonderland, clinging to my hair and muffling all sounds, traffic included.  I arrived home, chilled but happy, ready for my adventure into melted decadence.

From what I read on the internet, typically you use about 2-3 tablespoons per cup, so I warmed my milk and began with a more modest two tablespoons.  The fragrance filled my nostrils, which in turn made my mouth water.  I stirred the chocolate, watching as the white milk and dark chocolate swirls began merging into a pleasing brown cream, then tapped my spoon and set it aside.  I held the cup to my nose and inhaled.  The smell alone was intoxicating, not unlike that energizing aroma of freshly brewed coffee.  I watched the steam curl up and away from the cup, a mesmerizing seperpentine mist, seducing the senses as it winds its way up from the cauldron below.  Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer.  I took a nice, slow, hot sip.  Oh my!  What have you done to me, evil friend who turned me on to this delicacy?  This was unlike any “hot cocoa mix” I had grown up drinking!  So creamy!  I definitely did not need additional sweetener.  Heavens, no.  And admittedly, after a few sips, I greedily added a third tablespoon to the beverage, just to see if it proved too much.  Not really!  I mean, I think you could keep it at two tablespoons and be very happy, but what fun would that be?  Mmmm. 

Definitely worth its voyage from its faraway origins!

To the Samaritan who availed to me this hot bliss in a cup, thank you, I owe you a big one for this!

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Responses

  1. Sounds like the Swiss don’t fool around with their chocolate! I’ll have to try this sometime! I really like Ibarra or Abuelita – brands of Mexican hot chocolates – these are pressed tablets of sugar, spices, and cacao – definitely non-instant and sublime.

    -Mei


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