Monday, May 8, 2017

The Best and Worst Hot Chocolate

Disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, I don't have a sweet tooth. I like my chocolate dark and bitter. Consequently, if you have a taste for sugar, you may not agree with my list.

The Best
Overall, Brisbane makes a better hot chocolate than Sydney, which surprised and delighted me, having moved to Brisbane recently. However, Sydney does feature in my top four.

The Shack: This is an organic wholefood market and cafe with a few locations around Sydney. The one I frequented was in Gymea. This one is all about the chocolate. Rich, thick and heavenly. And not sugary. It had the perfect balance of yum. A true standout.

Murray Street Vineyards:  Located in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. This hot chocolate was made by a resident chocolatier who loved what he did. He made the hot chocolate in layers of silky goodness. A real treat. This is my one exception of having a hot chocolate in a glass. Unfortunately I doubt he is still there after all these years.

Swich Espresso: A little cafe in Holland Park, Brisbane. It's an unassuming cafe on a main street but offers seating on a deck out the back away from traffic noise. The hot chocolate arrives in a large low cup. With not too much froth on top, the chocolatey goodness underneath is a glorious treat. And their hot chocolate is consistently good, unlike so many places.

Oliver Brown: While this Belgium Chocolate Cafe is a chain, it's a good chain. You can order your hot chocolate in dark, milk or white. You have other choices too: mint, coconut etc. I always order the dark hot chocolate with mint. Oh my gosh it's yum. It is sweet, but it's also rich and delicious.

The Worst
The absolute worst hot chocolate I ever tasted came from the small island of Capris, Italy. This one wasn't about the chocolate or the sugar. It was about the sludge. I could literally stand my spoon up in it. I had to order extra milk to make it palatable.

Gloria Jeans: This is a franchise chain that has lowered its standards over the years. The hot chocolate is watery and the froth takes up half the mug a lot of the time. Hugely disappointing.

Some Sydney cafe: Their hot chocolate was so sugary that it tasted like marshmallows, even though it had no marshmallows in it. Not good.

Chocolat Cafe: Found in Westfield, Garden City, Mount Gravatt, Brisbane. Oddly enough, this is a cafe that prides itself on its chocolate. Unfortunately they gave me a cool, watery 'hot' chocolate in a glass when I specifically asked them to put it in a mug, pointing to the mugs.

What is with this trend of serving hot chocolates in a glass? It might look great when presented in a tall glass, but there's no comfort in a glass. To be able to pick up a glass to drink from it means the hot chocolate has to be cooler than it should, and if served hot then it loses its temperature way too fast in a glass, so you're forced to scoff it down before it gets cold. So when you order a hot chocolate, always ask for it in a mug!

Are you a hot chocolate drinker? What was your best experience of a hot chocolate? What was your worst?



Special Note:
The IWSG is now partnering with Reedsy on some upcoming events, and today, May 8, is a big one!
Through the #IWriteBecause project, we want to raise awareness about the power of writing. Above all, writing is not just a vocation or a hobby; it’s one of the greatest ways to express our thoughts and get our message out.

At Reedsy, we believe that every child, regardless of geography, gender or economics, should have access to education and the freedom to raise their voice and share their message with the world. That’s why, for every writer who shares their story, Reedsy will donate $10 to Room to Read — a non-profit organization that seeks to provide girls in Africa and Asia with access to education.

The IWSG asks members to Tweet and re-Tweet #IWriteBecause Monday, May 8!

38 comments:

  1. Hi Lynda - not a hot chocolate drinker ... a rare occasion - though definitely need a good one. Love the idea of Reedsy and would hope in due course I can join in ... Reading is an essential way to read our Writes ... or hear them ... cheers and glad you're enjoying Brisbane - Hilary

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    1. Not being a coffee drinker, I order the hot chocs instead when I'm out and crave something hot and comforting.

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  2. I've already begun Tweeting.
    Standing your spoon up in the drink sounds just a bit too thick.
    Obviously, I am no connoisseur of hot chocolate. I rarely get hot chocolate from places like you've listed. I just open up a packet at home and add hot water.

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    1. The packet ones are way too sweet for me. Way way too sweet.

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  3. Serving it in a glass just seems odd. How do you pick up a hot glass?

    I haven't eaten chocolate in so long, I really don't even remember what hot chocolate tastes like.

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  4. all of them are the worst if you're lactose intolerant like poor someone here. If you could make me a white chocolate one with almond milk I'd appreciate it!

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    1. Unfortunately almond milk doesn't heat very well. How about I make you an almond milk smoothie instead?

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    2. DEzzzz... how come you didn't tell Lynda you literally spoon in chocolate?

      Hi Lynda.

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  5. I love hot chocolate. I have a great recipe that I make myself. But only in small quantities.

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  6. I'm not a hot chocolate drinker. Can't drink anything hot. But I love the smell!

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    1. So not a coffee drinker either? Interesting!

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  7. I like a good cup of hot chocolate in the winter. I also like chocolate in my coffee. The worst hot chocolate (to me) are those packets you buy in the store.

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    1. Yep, I'm with you on that. The packets take all the joy out of the hot choc and dump in too much sugar.

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  8. I'm not much of a chocolate fan at all. I do eat dark chocolate though because of its rumored health advantages. Hot black coffee is my go to. Cool though that you had so many to compare.

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    1. There's not many other choices when you aren't a coffee drinker like me.

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  9. Sure had a few to give a run. Watery doesn't sound appealing indeed.

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  10. I do have a sweet tooth and during cold weather I do sometimes drink hot chocolate, but it's always the instant stuff though I use milk instead of water. I'd probably like these beverages that you've described because I also like dark bittersweet chocolates. Haven't tried hot chocolate in any gourmet or specialty shoppes so don't have anything to add to this. I do like the hot or iced mocha at McDonald's though.


    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Cold weather and hot chocolate go so well together!

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  11. Mmmm, hot chocolate. I want my cocoa in a mug! But I agree that layer chocolate in a glass would be the exception. The worst hot chocolate I've ever had was at a ski lodge—they made it from a packet.

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    1. Making it from a packet makes me cry

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  12. I am fan of hot chocolate and I will even make a "camping mocha" which I'm pretty sure you would find pretty sad, but in a pinch (or while camping), it works. My parents only used one of the camping pans to create one hot drink - strong dark coffee. I didn't want coffee as a kid, so I added a packet of hot cocoa. It tasted pretty good together.
    My favorite hot chocolate is from a place in Portland, OR called Cacoa. I get the "water" kind which is basically pure, unsweetened chocolate with hot water blended perfectly together. I add one packet of sugar from their natural sugar section, stir it, and love it. It's the darkest chocolate I like and it's heavenly.
    However, I don't live in Portland so it's a twice a year type of treat and it's expensive so that's probably good.

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    1. err, good that it's far away considering the price ... hope that made sense.

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    2. Wow, the Portland hot choc sounds delicious!!

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  13. I love hot chocolate, but it can't be bitter. I do have a sweet tooth. And it needs to be hot enough so that if it were poured into a glass, the sides of the glass would be too hot to hold. There's a reason mugs were invented.

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    1. Totally agree about the heat of a hot choc!

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  14. As I sit at my laptop sipping on miso soup and feeling very virtuous, I read this. Ho Hum, Lynda! And I just watched the movie Chocolat for the umpteenth time the other night and I could taste that chocolate of hers.

    Even though it's a chain (((shock, horror))) I quite like the dark chocolate at Churros in Grey Street near the IMAX theatre. And, bonus, it's in a mug!!

    Hoping we can share a hot choccky soon! (If life would ever slow down...)

    Denise

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    1. Yes, the dark choc in Churros is very nice but super sweet. I haven't tried their unsweetened hot chocs yet, but plan to.

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  15. I'm with you, Lynda. It needs to be in a mug. I don't drink coffee, only hot chocolate. Although, my tastes tend to be sweet: Swiss Miss for me :)

    Elsie Amata

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    1. Yep, I don't drink coffee either so my go-to hot drink of choice is Hot Choc.

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  16. I don't agree with serving any kind of hot beverage in a glass. Just wrong! I don't have hot chocolate that much, but I don't like it being too sweet either.

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    1. Glasses should be outlawed for hot drinks. ;)

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  17. Funny. I was having a hot chocolate craving just last night, and my sweet hubby humored me. We now have enough hot chocolate to last at least a year. Right at the peek of summer. In Florida. =)

    Best hot chocolate? This gourmet stuff that comes from Austria. We buy it at Aldi, and oh my goodness. SOOOOO yummy.

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    1. I'll have to go looking in Aldi...

      And there is no such thing as too much hot choc...even when the weather is hot. You never know when an emergency might come up.

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  18. So true: there's absolutely no comfort in a glass. But er.... you could stand my spoon up in that Italian stuff? Unbelievable.

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    1. It was seriously sludgy... shudder...

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.