Page 1: Introduction
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A splendid cup of hot chocolate from Woodhouse Chocolate, one of the favorites of 65 we tasted. Read about them in Part 2.
It’s cold and cloudy and windy outside and you want something comforting to warm you up. Or maybe it’s a yen for something chocolate. If you reach for a hot cocoa or hot chocolate mix, you’ll have a lot of company.
A 2001 study found that more than 60% of American households buy and stock hot cocoa mix (figures for hot chocolate mix don’t seem to be available, and it wasn’t clear if the “hot cocoa mix” referred to included hot chocolate preparations as well—the terms are used interchangeably).
But all hot cocoa and hot chocolate mixes are not equal. If you buy a typical supermarket brand, you’ll pay much less than you will for a “gourmet” product, but the ingredients will usually be of lesser quality and often include chemicals and artificial flavors.
By contrast, premium brands are more expensive (in some cases, far more expensive), but they tend to use fewer and better ingredients—and taste much better as a result.
Hot chocolate garnished with a sprig of fresh mint…and some chocolate truffles. Photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections.
|A hefty sixty-five hot chocolates and hot cocoas were sampled for this article, and they ranged from magnificently awe-inspiring (how can something so simple be so rich and so delicious?) to downright avoidable.
With so many choices on the market, hot chocolate and cocoa lovers can spend their money and calories in many places. This article gives you are perspective on the best places to spend them—and before we get there, an overview of the beverage most people think of very fondly.
Last Updated May 2018
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