Celebrate a cold weather classic: instant hot chocolate!

By Tressa Versteeg

A cold October night set the stage for an evening of hot chocolate and comraderie when Eva Beal ’11, Rose Holdorf ’11 and Kirsa Shelky ’11 joined me for a hot chocolate extravaganza.We began with a south-of-the-border hot chocolate, Nestlé Abuelita ($.10/serving), which we all described as “spicy.”

Beal described the drink as similar to Red Hots candy, but with a touch of chocolate.

A drawback: Abuelita had to be mixed with milk, so it’s not as instant as hot chocolate that can be mixed with water and demands a fridge.

Next, we tasted one of two Bellagio gourmet varieties, White Chocolate ($.46/serving).

It tasted like “nothing, yet satisfying,” Shelkey said, and like “water, with a twist of crŠme,” Beal said.

Holdorf described the Bellagio Gourmet Chocolate Truffle ($.46/serving) as “mocha-y.”

Shelky agreed with Holdorf’s coffee description.

“It tastes like a coffee shop smells,” she said.

We also sampled two organic varieties. The first was GreenBlack Organic. I found it disgusting, but then, I didn’t read the directions and made it with water, instead of milk.

My friends agreed. Holdorf described it as “cardboard sitting in the rain.”

Shelkey added, “It smells like horse poop, it tastes like a farm.”

Holdorf retorted, “maybe that’s the organic part.”

The next organic variety, Equal Exchange ($.36/serving), was more pleasant. The flavor is not as bold and is not as sweet. Shelkey said it “still does the job,” but it was not sweet enough for my taste buds.

Next on the docket was the classic and reliable Swiss Miss ($.20/serving). It was full of sugary goodness and a big dose of nostalgia.

“It is a standard good, but it’s not too special,” said Holdorf. “It’s the hot chocolate we grew up with.”

The first of two Land O’ Lakes unconventional flavors was Irish CrŠme ($.59/serving).

Brows furrowed and noses scrunched all around. It was not a hit. “It’s a wannabe Bailey’s hot chocolate, but it doesn’t work,” Beal said.

The Land O’ Lakes Raspberry Hot Chocolate ($.59/serving) was more popular. Holdorf and Beal approved, but Shelkey couldn’t get past what she called the “smell that your sink gets when your hair clogs the drain” odor.

To Beal, it was a beverage to suit more specific occasions. “I wouldn’t sip it by a fire, but I would eat it with cheesecake,” she said.

At the end the Hot Chocolate extravaganza, the winners were far and wide.

Holdorf favored the White Chocolate flavor, along with Shelkey, who couldn’t choose between that and the “so sugary, so good” Swiss Miss.

Beal went green and caliente, calling a tie between the Equal Exchange organic hot chocolate and Abuelita.

I enjoy anything with lots of sugar, which leads me to pick Swiss Miss, but Abuelita is a good way to spice it up once in a while.