HINTZ DARK COCOA POWDER
Trial This German-made cocoa can be used for baking or to make a steaming cuppa. Start off by using a little more than the recommended one heaped teaspoon to form a smooth, thick batter at the base of the mug. Then top it up with hot milk and a spoonful of sugar to create a drink that’s as pleasing to the tongue as it is to the eye.
Verdict Perfect for those who like a mug of strong, dark cocoa with just a hint of sweetness.
R230 for 125g.
MALTESERS INSTANT HOT CHOCOLATE DRINK
Trial A disclaimer on the bottle states that no actual Maltesers were hurt during the making of this drink. We quickly figured that’s because the candy’s only present in the packaging. We had to add five heaped teaspoons of the beach-sand-coloured powder into a mug of hot water to create a frothy drink. Sure, it’s got that appetising colour and that typical Maltesers smell going for it, but it failed to deliver on flavour: not enough chocolate or sugar, and it tastes nothing like Maltesers.
Verdict The health conscious might be pleased – this product contains fat-reduced cocoa powder and is only 99kcal a serving, but it’s a bland, overpriced option for those looking for a fun chocolaty fix.
R575 for 300g.
EAGLE COCOA POWDER
Trial The instructions on this pack tell you to add one level teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa to a little cold milk and stir. We stirred, and stirred and stirred but the lumpy, powdery mess was nowhere near a smooth paste. Once the hot milk went in, the drink tasted, and smelled, just like hot milk. More sugar and another spoonful of cocoa didn’t do much to improve the flavour either.
Verdict That’s what you get for Rs.40: hot chocolate that isn’t worth the effort it takes to make it.
R40 for 50 g.
HERSHEY'S GOODNIGHT HUGS WHITE CHOCOLATE
Trial You don’t have to stick your nose into the packet to catch a whiff of white chocolate; just ripping open one of these hefty 35g sachets gives the kitchen a warm, homely aroma. We tried the sugary white mix in both hot water and milk – it dissolves equally well in both – and preferred the drink with water.
It is American-standard creamy and the white chocolate flavour gets the chance to shine through. Plus, it has morsels of milk chocolate, shaped like Hershey’s kisses, that accumulate to a nice melted goo that you can spoon up from the bottom of the mug.
Verdict Since there are only four sachets in the box (that’s nearly Rs.2 a gram), you might want to ignore their suggestion of treating yourself to a “hug tomorrow morning too” and ration it out for when you crave a midnight snack.
R295 for 150g.
CADBURY BOURNVILLE FAIRTRADE COCOA
Trial This one is for the no-nonsense cocoa drinker. We didn’t need more than a level teaspoon of cocoa powder to make one mug. It mixes easier with cold milk (we needed to stir briskly while adding the hot milk) but it eventually combined nicely with both, no messy bits floating on top. With sugar to taste, the drink has a heavy-bodied cocoa flavour.
Verdict It’s rich, but not so dense that it becomes difficult to drink. Served steaming hot, this is good for those looking for lots of chocolate but not as much sugar.
R485 for 250g.
GALAXY HOT CHOCOLATE BLISS
Trial To make this drink, we needed three heaped teaspoons of the powder. The product is 24 per cent cocoa and 14 per cent Galaxy milk chocolate, but the heady aroma only comes through once it mixes well with the hot milk, turning it a dark chocolate colour instantly. It’s a treat to sip through the rich frothy warmth that’s as densely filled with cocoa as it is with sweetness.
Verdict If you’ve a weakness for Galaxy chocolate, this is the drink to indulge in. It’s everything you imagine it will be.
R650 for 400g.
MAXWELL HOUSE DARK MAYAN CHOCOLATE LATTE
Trial The picture on the tin looks promising, but the ashen powder inside didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Even four teaspoons of it in hot water produced a bland, uninspiring sludge. There was an overpowering aroma of cinnamon, and the light cocoa wasn’t delectable enough for us to want to add more of it.
Verdict It doesn’t look appealing enough, whether it’s made with water or milk. And it has a disappointingly synthetic taste.
R295 for 226g.
HERSHERY'S NATURAL UNSWEETENED COCOA
Trial Hershey’s forgoes their role as mandatory sugar-rush providers with this unsweetened cocoa – left up to us, we went easy on the sugar and were pleased with our results. To make their “perfectly chocolate” hot cocoa, we poured a mug of hot milk over two tablespoons of rich cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and one teaspoon of sugar. A few drops of vanilla extract are optional; we didn’t have any but the drink still tasted and smelled wonderful – the mug you get is a picture-perfect traditional hot chocolate. The cocoa powder can be used in cakes and frosting too, but we doubt you’ll want to spare any.
Verdict This drink has an addictively creamy aftertaste. Disregard Hershey’s suggestion of two tablespoons of sugar for one serving, and you’ll have the right combination of cocoa, cream and sugar.
R275 for 226g.
All products available at speciality stores like Godrej Nature’s Basket, Breach Candy, Shop 6, Tirupati Apartments, opposite Mahalaxmi Chambers (+ 91 22 39595959). Also at Worli (+91 22 24934032), Lokhandwala (+91 22 26300714), Bandra (W) (+91 22 26425050) and Powai (+91 22 25707706). Daily 8am-9pm.
By Amrita Gupta on December 10 2010 7.00am