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Hot Chocolate Week: Day Eight!?

Ok, so Hot Chocolate Week is moving into overtime. I have a pretty decent array of Aztec style hot chocolates still waiting for my attention and I’m finding I can’t handle trying all of them in one day – it’s just too much. Even I have limits. But tonight I am going to manage sampling two of them. I had to do both of these at the same time if only because the cans are so similar. The two hot chocolates on deck are Chuao Chocolatier’s Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate and Marie Belle’s Aztec Hot Chocolate.

Chuao: Chuao is a SoCal chocolatier that I was unaware of until my most recent trip to Jungle Jim’s (yeah, I’ve been lax in posting the Safari info – there were a couple that were really pretty much non-events). I was checking out the hot chocolate section to see if there was anything that would be a good fit for Hot Chocolate Week and there was their Aztec hot chocolate begging me to buy it. I’m weak willed so into the cart it went. All that background stuff aside, lets get to the review. The ingredients are simple enough: chocolate, sugar, dehydrated milk, chilies, and spices. You put three tablespoons of mix (they give you a little spoon for it - thoughtful!) into a half cup of boiling water, get it back to a boil and whisk it for 30 seconds. It’s thick, but liquid enough to drink without the need of a spoon. And it’s spicy. The chilies give it a nice kick of serious heat and help balance the other spices. Overall it’s really good though some might find it a little on the hot side. I’ll give it a 9 out of 10 and have to say I am looking forward to trying some more of their products (I have a bar of their chocolate waiting for me on the kitchen counter).

Marie Belle: Like Jacques Torres, Marie Belle is one of the places I really wanted to visit in New York (I’ll get there eventually) so when it came time for me to do the whole Hot Chocolate Week thing it was a natural for me to order some from them. The ingredients are, like most of these hot chocolates in the endgame, relatively simple (and multi-purpose – they use one can for their various Aztec hot chocolates). It’s got chocolate, cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, milk, cornstarch, soy lecithin, and natural flavorings (which may include coffee, chipotle, ancho chile, cinnamon, and nutmeg). The primary instructions (there are two alternate preparations on the can) call for you to add one cup of mix to one cup of boiling water. Yes, that’s a full 1:1 water to chocolate ratio. Even without the cornstarch in it this would be thick stuff. And it is thick stuff. Very like the Jacques Torres (which also had cornstarch) in terms of thickness so it was more suited to eating with a spoon than drinking. Any spices in it are much more subtle than the Chuao or Torres offerings so the experience is more chocolate with maybe some spices along for the ride. It’s excellent stuff and a more laid back approach to Aztec hot chocolate than some others. It’s wonderful enough to also get a 9 out of 10 and has me looking forward to trying the dark chocolate version of their hot chocolate (which I happen to have as well).

So that’s two more down and only three left (four if I include the other Marie Belle and don’t try any alternate preparation methods). Luckily the remaining hot chocolates should all be a little thinner than what I’ve had these last two nights and I should be able to tackle them in short order.


Kat Said:

These sound great too. Marie Belle is also on my list "to visit" if ever I get to NYC. Take your time with hot chocolate "week", the posts are very informative and delicious.

tally Said:

I HIGHLY recommend investigating Chuao. Their bon bons are fresh, fantastically nuanced, and among the best flavors ever. I love their cardamon, zen, modena, picante, and chevere in particular, although it's hard to go wrong. They're so interesting and delicious that they leave you invigorated and refreshed afterwards. I love them -- tally

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