(First off, please, no one shoot me for this funky ’70s ear worm.)
With Valentine’s Day looming later this week, and reminders of the traditional holiday surrounding us at every turn — hearts, perfume, flowers and candy, preferably chocolate — let’s go for a little different take (I mean, taste) on the holiday, shall we? What says love as yummily (sp?) as a delicious, steaming cup of hot chocolate on a chilly February night? Sipping that mug of cacao elixir, curled up by the fireplace with someone special, that’s kind of romantic, right? After all, just think of the Aztecs and Mayans. Perhaps they were onto something …
At my house, however, my DH could care less about hot chocolate, and my son will only drink the instant kind that contains mini marshmallows. But that’s OK – sometimes
that hits the spot too.
Over the years, I’ve managed to sample some others here and there. Here are just a few that I’m familiar with, for your sipping pleasure:
If my wallet’s feeling flush, I can go high-end with Vosges Haut Chocolat’s Couture Cocoa. They have two somewhat unusual flavors including Bianca (vanilla, white chocolate, lemon myrtle and lavender) and Aztec (cinnamon, ancho and chipotle chiles), plus a rich traditional, La Parisienne (dark chocolate with Madagascar vanilla bean pieces). I’ve only tried the Bianca, but it was quite yummy, and I hope to try the others one of these days. A heads-up, however, on the Bianca: A fine strainer comes in handy, due to its herbal-ish nature.
A bit more mainstream, Godiva offers canisters of dark or milk chocolate cocoa. Though they’re not exotic, they certainly fill
the bill nicely.
I also enjoy Cost-Plus World Market’s packets (serves 2) of yummy goodness such as Dulce de Leche, Mexicocoa and dark and milk chocolate. They’ve also done some other limited edition flavors but I didn’t see any recently.
Speaking of packets, Land O’ Lakes’ handy, individual serving envelopes of hot chocolate come in a variety of flavors (mint, raspberry, hazelnut, French vanilla, etc.). And they’re easily found in most grocery stores.
L.A. Burdick, a wonderful chocolatier out of New Hampshire, carries a dark hot chocolate that I’ve heard great things about but alas, never tasted. I visited their shop a few years back, but didn’t get the chance to try it; instead, I ended up loaded down with their signature chocolate mice which I was “muling” back for co-workers (waves to Patty, our lovely, international perfume “mule.” 😉 ).
Other brands that have drinking chocolates include Valrhona, MarieBelle, Dagoba, Lake Champlain, Cadbury, Ghirardelli, and more that I’m sure I’m leaving out.
And of course, you can always make shavings of your favorite chocolate and whip up your own luscious beverage. If I could hang onto the chocolate (without eating it) long enough to do this, I surely would. Add in some scrumptious homemade marshmallows, or a touch of your favorite liqueur, and voila — romance in a cup!
So share with us: What’s your hot chocolate of choice? Or your fave chocolate-based scent? I must admit that Arquiste’s Anima Dulcis came to mind frequently while writing this.
I could use some fancy hot chocolate – I will be checking out what Cost Plus and Trader Joe’s have to offer this week! Lately, I’ve just been making them at home when the mood strikes. Either just with good quality cocoa powder/sugar and milk (Penzey’s cocoa is the best!) or Mexican with Ibarra (easily found at least here in SoCal – I get mine at Target). That is a pain though, since you have to grate or use the blender since the mexican chocolate is so grainy and does not melt well – explains why I’ve only done it once this winter. Would nice to have some mixes around to make it easy! I do love the mexican hot cocoa with cinnamon and a tiny bit of spice.
Those are two great places for hot chocolate. I need to stop by them both after the holiday and see if any goodies are marked down. I’ve heard good things about the Ibarra, but never seem to see it around here.
I learn so many things from PP….not all of them good for me or for my budget. Wonder if I could join FeralJasimine and her husband with the fire and their homemade cocoa! As for cocoa in perfume it’s Blue Agava and Cacao for me.
Their cocoa does sound yummy! I wonder how they’d feel if we all crashed their “fireside–hot chocolate party”? I bet they’d let us, especially if we brought perfume 😉
Must go dig up my sample of the BA&G now. Thanks!
I make my hot chocolate with plain old hershey’s powdered cocoa, skim milk, sugar and vanilla extract and use an immersion blender to whip up a separate mixture of skim milk/vanilla/sugar into a fat-free whipped cream substitute. I make the actual hot chocolate very dark and semi-sweet and then mix it 1/2 and 1/2 with the whipped cream substitute. A sprinkle of cinnamon sometimes too, depending on my mood…
Oh, and a touch of cardamom is nice too once in a while.
Sounds perfect, Diana! Thanks for sharing. I’m taking notes on all these great suggestions …
Mmm, what a delicious post dear A! My flavoured brand of drinking chocolate is Green & Black’s. If I am feeling indulgent I will make a cup using their Maya Gold bar which has cinnamon and nutmeg with a skosh of orange. Lush. For perfume, the only chocolate fragrance I have really loved is Arquiste Anuma Dulcis. Oh and I quite liked the chocolately Cartier heures whichever.
Hi, sweet M! So nice to see you — hope you’re doing well. I’ve only tried Green & Black’s dark chocolate bar (we don’t get much of the range here near me), but oh, that Maya Gold sounds a treat! I’m glad you like the Anima Dulcis, too. At first, I got a little hit of cumin and thought I was going to have to scrap it, but it wore away quickly, thank heavens.
I didn’t know Vosges made hot chocolate. Must find it! Their chocolate bars are delicious, if a bit pricey. When I buy hot chocolate, usually I have Ghirardelli, or the Kroger store brand kind (don’t remember exactly what it’s called.. it comes in a black cylinder package). As for chocolate in perfumes… Rossy de Palma is a favorite of mine. It’s not a *chocolate perfume* per se, but the chocolate note is there. Also, it seems like an odd combo, but I like the cacao-osmanthus combination in Tokyo Milk Dark Bittersweet.
Nice choices there, Jennifer! I have friends who love Vosges’ Mo’s Bacon Bar, but I just can’t go there, although I do love those sea salt bars. I can’t wear the RdP, but that Tokyo Milk sounds like a must-try.
BTW, Jennifer, just looked on the Vosges site and they do have a cocoa sampler box with all three flavors in it. Might be worth a splurge just to try them all and see which you like best. I’m thinking about it myself …
I like the bacon bar too.. the dark chocolate one, not so much the milk one. One of my favorites is .. if I remember the name correctly… burnt sugar caramel and sea salt (?). There is also one with smoked salt that is nice. Thanks for the tip on the sampler set. I’ll have to check it out.
Mmmm … Jennifer, I’d forgotten about the caramel sea salt one. Must get on the stick. Thanks!
Oooh! Hot chocolate! My favorite! I never use a mix – I either do it the Parisienne way, with pastilles and boiling water (I get my pastilles from Blommer’s Chocolate in Chicago – that’s the place where, when they are actually cooking or roasting you see every woman in the vicinity with their noses up, like Pointers. Interestingly only a few guys notice the smell….
anyhoo, if I don’t do that, then I chop a bit of chocolate, mix it with a touch of cocoa powder and a touch of vanilla and stir into boiling milk. Vi-ola! Happy as cake!
Yum, yum, dearest M! I am salivating all over my keyboard. Good stuff there, and also one more mandatory stop whenever I get to Chicago. Love the image of women with their noses pointing up en-masse while the guys walk on, blissfully unaware …
My husband and I eat a ketogenic diet (ultra low carb) and one of the things that keeps us happy in the winter is hot chocolate made with diluted coconut milk and the best pure cacao we can find, sweetened with erythritol and seasoned with a little vanilla and a scraping of nutmeg. I loathe any chocolate note in perfumes, but it occurs to me that it would be lovely to sip my hot chocolate while wearing MdiO Vanille. For those who think they hate vanilla perfumes, try this one before you decide for sure. A fire in the stove, a soft cloud of wood, spice, and vanilla around me, chocolate in my cup…yum!
Your hot chocolate sounds very cool. I have a friend who does that type of cooking and probably has most of those ingredients. Maybe I could sweet-talk her into making it for us to try. And I’m right there with you on the MdO Vanille — it is just divine!
I haven’t had hot chocolate in a couple years as much as I love chocolate. I did spoil myself and buy 6 boxes of the Harry and David chocolate covered bing cherries. Chocolate is my perfume just gives me the shivers. Chocolate is meant to be eaten not used in perfume.
Those do sound good. I can definitely see, though, how chocolate in perfume might ick some folks out.
My kids usually make do with Swiss Miss, and sometimes the individual Land o’Lakes ones I put in their Christmas stockings. However, I noticed a common taste of coconut oil in the LoLs, and stopped buying those, instead making jarsful of homemade instant cocoa mix (you know, just cocoa, sugar, and dried milk). It’s not bad at all. I don’t have the patience for grinding up/melting real chocolate and adding hot milk. (I have patience for lots of things, but not that!)
My mother gave me a box of Kroger (a grocery store) brand individual hot cocoa mixes, from mint to cherry to sea salt caramel, and they’re delicious.
However, I absolutely hate and despise and cannot STAND cocoa or chocolate notes in my perfume. Just EW. Laurie at SSS just released Cocoa Sandalwood, and I will definitely not be testing that one. I will, however, be investigating the chocolate mice…
Hi, lady! You know, now that you mention it and I think about it, the LoL does have that taste to it. But still good, if that doesn’t bother you. That variety box sounds nice, and we have Kroger here, so might have to investigate. Sorry about the chocolate in your perfume, but you will adore the mice (or the penguins)!
P.S. We like Swiss Miss, too! Although I must confess to sometimes getting a bag of mini-marshmallows to “bump up” the marshmallow presence in it. I need to learn how to make my own and that way we can flavor them. Like a nice mint marshmallow floating in the cocoa …
I like the Mexican hot chocolate from Trader Joe’s. Dark chocolate with a spicy kick from chiles and cinnamon. Yummy.
Oooh, that one does sound good, but here’s hoping it’s not TOO spicy. I know, I’m a baby 🙂
Williams-Sonoma sells hot chocolate a Christmas. I like it better than Godiva hot chocolate. Godiva is ground chocolate and W-S is more like shaved chocolate.
I’d forgotten about Williams-Sonoma and their holiday offerings. Sounds yummy, and there’s one just down the street from me. Maybe they have some left 🙂
Mice? Chocolate mice?? Must have!!!
Those would be just too perfect for you! They are awfully cute with their seasonally colorful tails (and they have chocolate penguins, too, which are adorable).
Just looked at their Website and they also have very cute chocolate bees — but it looks like you have to have a minimum order of 25 on those 🙁
What a fabulous post–if I hadn’t just baked a batch of brownies, I’d be mixing up some hot chocolate for sure (and ElizabethC–adding Chartreuse is a revelation, I’ll have to try that asap!!). I’ve tried the Vosges Bianca and Azteca…soo good but soo expensive. I usually just go with Swiss Miss’s fancy versions (like Mocha and Dark Chocolate), with maybe a splash of Maker’s Mark for added kick 🙂 Thanks for the new hot chocolate rec’s, Ann-you’ve become a supreme lemming-creator around my house these days (I’ve placed orders for a FB of MdO’s Ambre *AND* MFK APOM burning papers, because of your posse swap package in December…my bank account doesn’t thank you but my nose does!! 🙂
Thanks, Heather, and I’m sorry, sort of, for the lemming business. 😉 You’re right there with me (and the rest of us) in that the deeper you go down this rabbit hole, the more your wallet cringes … BTW, did you like the Azteca? I wanted to try it but thought it might be way too hot — my palate doesn’t have much tolerance for heat.
You can make your own Azteca, to your taste. Some pastilles (or chop up some chocolate), a bit of cocoa, some sugar (or whatev) to taste, put a pinch of hot pepper in an infusion ball, steep in the cocoa for about 5 mins, taste. If you want it hotter, steep a little longer. Add a cinnamon stick (or a pinch of cinnamon) and a sprinkle of black pepper and boom! you’re done! xoA
ps. if you ever come to our house for dinner, Ann, I’m going to have to have EL cook – my food is, apparently, ratcheting up the Scoville scale these days.
Good thinkin’, Mrs. Lincoln. I can tailor the heat to my own wimpy tastebuds, ha! Love that recipe — thanks. If I ever come to dinner, guess I should bring my fireproof gear, eh? 😉
Hi Ann, I don’t like things too spicy either, and it was fine to my palette, but there’s definitely a bit of spice? Have you had their Red Fire bar? It tastes just the same. And I second Musette’s diy advice…it was good, and super thick (too thick for my taste, I’m a wimp when it comes to that), but not world-shattering (the Bianca was better, cost-to-uniqueness-wise). And no need to even sort-of apologize for the enabling 😉 My bank account may be unhappy, but I don’t really listen to it all that often 🙂
Thanks, Heather! I may give it a try. And glad to know you’re OK with the enabling. It happens to all of us, ha! Enjoy your goodies!
I had no idea all this yummy mix stuff exists, last I looked it was Swiss Miss. I make mine one cup at a time out of good old Hershey’s cocoa and sugar, which is why I hardly ever drink it anymore although it’s not bad with stevia. I enjoy it with some peppermint schnapps on a cold night.
I didn’t know either. I’ve got some peppermint hot chocolate by Trader Joe’s that I haven’t tried yet.
As for chocolate perfumes….100% Love all the way!
Hi, ladies! Love the peppermint twist on hot chocolate — yum!! Now I must go dig up my sample of 100% Love.
I love evil rich hot cocos (the ones that are almost like hot pudding). I’ve been drinking hot coco with a wee bit of chartreuse liqueur this winter, very tasty!!!!
Elizabeth, that sounds just perfect for cold-weather sipping! It’ll warm you up inside and out …
I have to confess that it has never even occurred to me seek out gourmet hot chocolate offerings, but you make all of these sound divine, Ann. For cost’s sake, and for the infrequency with which I drink it, I’ll probably keep mixing mine the old-fashioned way – but thank you for making me aware. And here’s wishing you a happy early Valentine’s Day, lovely one! <3 <3
Thank you, sweet Suzanne, and a very happy early heart day to you as well! For many years I worked on the food sections of various newspapers, so a lot of these crossed my path as new products, etc. But the old-fashioned way still rocks!