I stay away from most hot cocoa mixes because they taste like powder and are chalky. And of course, there aren't many that are vegan.
Give me some plain cocoa powder (the good stuff, please) and almond milk, and I will froth up a perfectly foamy non-dairy mug of cocoa with my espresso machine. To sweeten it, I use a few drops of liquid Stevia and a dash of vanilla. It's so much better than the cocoa I remember - deep, dark, and satisfying. Lately I've been enjoying a mug in the afternoon.
I would never think of ordering hot cocoa mix, even the vegan kind, for myself.
But Mr. Phillips knew that Cocoa V (our preferred vegan chocolaterie, see our Blossom Tour of NYC last fall and my first visit to Cocoa V last winter) could have the right cocoa mix for this fussy dame. So he ordered some Signature Spiced Hot Chocolate and a variety of chocolate bars, just in case. While I don't always love everything I try at Cocoa V, they do in fact have some very craveable cocoa treats.
First sip was fiery hot and I didn't like it. And then...something happened. I took a few more sips and ended up cradling the mug and really tasting the hot-but-not-uncomfortable lava, rolling it over and back. That cocoa I had asked him to share with me? It became mine, all mine. It was luscious.
The suggestion calls for quite a lot of the mix itself, so the next day, I tried adding just a few spoonfuls of the powder to more almond milk, attempting to cut the heat and sweetness. I warmed my milk in the new butter warmer, which I can assure you, will never be used for butter, ever.
I wanted a more subtle cocoa, and I nailed it. But for those of you who dig a full-throttle flame in your cocoa, follow the instructions and use the recommended serving of powder. It is an exceptional cocoa.
Could you put together your own mix at home? Certainly, and I will, but what a sweet gift this was...
Don't get me started on the Cocoa V chocolate bars...by the time Valentine's Day falls upon us, I expect our stash will have been madly and passionately exhausted. The Salted Almond Bar will be the first to go.