A few weeks ago, a very good friend of mine took me to The Melange, a small but perfectly formed chocolate shop and café in Peckham. All the chocolate is made on site, and they have a brilliant selection of completely dairy-free dark chocolate bars in unusual and totally moreish flavour combinations, which you are encouraged to try before buying. I did a lot of trying, obviously. Research.
But I’m glad I didn’t fill up on the free samples (my favourite was Raspberry and Rosemary), because I ordered the vegan hot chocolate and OH MY DAYS was it a treat. I haven’t had hot chocolate since I was about 7 years old, when it would come out of a delightful purple Cadbury’s tin on special occasions/sick days, and I would spill it all down my face because it was just so exciting.
I’d say my response was something similar this time round. But this was not at all like Cadbury’s 3-spoonfuls-and-hot-water serving suggestion. It was SO much better. And turned out to be a mix of cocoa, coconut milk and a tiny bit of icing sugar to sweeten it up. It was much like a rich chocolate soup, and similarly something you would choose to eat with the aid of a spoon, which was dutifully provided.
So this has got me into a bit of a hot chocolate whirl. I can’t get enough of it! Being dairy-free, it’s something I just didn’t really think of as a viable life/drink option. But now, like Aladdin, I feel a whole new world has opened its doors. A world that goes really well accompanied by rice milk and occasionally coffee if you like the sound of a Mocha.
So on that note, here are my personal free-from favourites.
CaféDirect San Cristobal Hot Chocolate uses totally natural ingredients sourced from the Dominican Republic, and is made of nothing but the finest cocoa and cane sugar.
Clipper Tea’s Super Cosy Drinking Chocolate is my current toddy. It’s just cocoa, cane sugar, and Fairtrade.
And if you want all the goodness minus the sugar, then go for Green and Black’s Organic Cocoa Powder. It’s that little bit stronger, and is apparently “Dutched”, which sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
I’ll try not to talk about Chocolate again for a little while. Drink up!