Photo illustration by Aimee Nishitoba.
It’s never too deep into winter to treat yourself to a new hot chocolate drink of choice. In fact, it’s that cold and grey eight-week slog between when the New Year sparkle has worn off and spring feels like forever away when a marshmallow-friendly pick-me-up is just the ticket. The Chatelaine team tried a few made-in-Canada hot chocolate mixes that require a little more effort than just adding hot water to cocoa, but are definitely worth splurging a little extra time and money on.
This hot chocolate from the Toronto-based chocolatemakers is more like milk chocolate shavings than it is a powdered chocolate mix. So, it takes some extended heating and whisking to get a smooth texture, but the result is worth it: the flavour sits in a comfy spot between milk and dark chocolate flavour, depending on how much milk you add. $16 for a 10-serving box, soulchocolate.com
Of the hot chocolates we tried, Laura Slack’s aptly named Drink of The Gods version was the only one that suggested we incorporate evaporated milk or cream into the mix. The result was very rich—tasty, but somehow not thick. Testers who tried this mix lactose-free liked the way it mixed with non-dairy milk. $27 for a 10-serving bag, lauraslack.com
This Toronto-based social enterprise started out by sourcing its cacao from Indigenous growers and producers in Southern Mexico, and is known for manufacturing its chocolate products as close to cacao’s Mayan roots as possible. This is also true of its drinking chocolate, which the makers suggest be blended on high speed with boiling water and a sweetener, if desired. The result may not be in line with the creamy hot chocolate you’d think of dropping marshmallows in; it’s very fluid, complex in flavour, slightly spicy—and altogether delicious, especially if you’re the type to find North American hot chocolates too sweet. $22 for a 12-serving pack, chocosoltraders.com
Chocolatiers David Castellan and Cynthia Leung have had drinking chocolates as part of their award-winning lineup for years now. We went with Dark Side of The Mug, their customer favourite. A few of the tasters would have added a bit of extra milk to the suggested recipe, but everyone loved the flavour. $8 for a 3-serving pouch, somachocolate.com
This Montréal-based chocolatier’s ground chocolate-based drink was far and away the staff favourite for its thick, silky texture that didn’t require extra cream to feel luxurious and rich. While we tried the dark chocolate version, which had pleasantly bitter and fruit notes, there are also milk and hazelnut versions for those who prefer a lighter palate. $20 for a 6-serving pouch, etatdechoc.com
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