Tastiest Hot Chocolate

February 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Sipping hot chocolate is a popular way to satisfy your sweet tooth this time of year. Americans spend almost $200 million annually on hot cocoa. If you ask the Gabore family, any time is the right time to drink a cup of hot chocolate.

Ethan Gabore, hot chocolate lover, says "I think hot chocolate is really refreshing and yummy."

Consumer Reports performed taste tests on 10 cocoas, including well-known ones like Hershey's, Nestle, and Swiss Miss.

All were prepared according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Various extra ingredients were sometimes required such as milk, water, vanilla, and sugar.

Erin Gudeux, Consumer Reports, says "A high-quality hot chocolate should have a full, complex chocolate flavor. There was a wide range in the cocoa drinks that we tested. They ranged from full and rich, to kind of thin and weak."

One way to improve the taste of the lower-rated hot chocolate drinks: use milk instead of water to make the cocoa.

Gudeux says, "Using milk instead of water masked some of the defects of the lower-rated cocoas, though it didn't change the quality of the higher-rated ones."

Consumer Reports rates two cocoas as excellent: Hershey's Cacao Reserve and Ghirardelli. But great taste can come with a nutritional cost. Ghirardelli had the highest amount of calories and sugar of all the cocoas tested.

For a bit less money, Consumer Reports rates two other cocoas very good. They are Swiss Miss dark chocolate sensation and Hershey's Cocoa.


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