Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hot chocolate survey

Inspired by an old post of my brother-in-law's where he ranked his favorite fast food restaurants, I subsequently decided that there needs to be a similar one for one of my favorite drinks of all time, hot chocolate. I've sampled the hot chocolate offerings of many an establishment, including the cafes in France where they melt an actual chocolate and serve it in tiny cups (to die for!) - but since the Paris cafes will probably win hands down, I will limit my rankings to establishments in good ol' America.

Starting from worst to best, we have the following:

6) Starbucks: surprisingly, this coffee mecca serves mediocre hot chocolate. It's very watery and too sweet. I try to avoid it whenever I stop by there.

5) Au Bon Pain: normally I would rank ABP much higher on the list, but that would've been when they served their amazing spiced hot chocolate. It had red peppers in it, and its gooey chocolatey goodness was out of this world. I used to have one almost every morning. Alas, this was discontinued, and what's left is another mediocre hot chocolate similar to what Starbucks offers. Thumbs down!

4) Carabou Coffee: This place has a really, really good white hot chocolate, that isn't too sweet and tastes very "cozy". I've only had it once, but I will definitely go back for more. I give their offering props for being different.

3) 7 Eleven: never let it be said that I am a hot chocolate snob, 7 Eleven serves hot chocolate in different flavors. I always look forward to going there to buy one because I never know what kind they will have that day. My favorites so far have been the mint-flavored hot chocolate and the Snickers-flavored hot chocolate.

2) Chocolate Maven: this restaurant/cafe/bakery in Santa Fe, NM serves what could only be described as one of humankind's greatest inventions: Mayan chile hot chocolate, with actual red pepper flakes. We discovered this gem of a place through the Food Network's Giada de Laurentiis. I dreamed about their hot chocolate for weeks after I got home from New Mexico.

1) Dunkin' Donuts! Yes, you read that right! At first I couldn't believe it either, that Dunkin' Donuts would beat out Chocolate Maven, but it had to be done - Dunkin' Donuts has really good hot chocolate. A day doesn't go by that I don't feel the urge for a hot chocolate run at my neighborhood Dunkin', with its rich, dark, bittersweet flavor. I think all the world's problems would be solved if everyone had just one cup of Dunkin' Donuts' hot chocolate every day.


meridith said...

I love your hot chocolate list. While I don't drink that much hot chocolate, it does mirror my coffee list very closely. (yes, I know I have been trying to give up coffee forever.) I can't stand starbucks and won't drink it even as a fix of last resort. However in the solidarity of un-snobbish-ness, my favorite place to get coffee is 7-eleven. I would have said dunkin donuts in days past but alas LA does not have any.

Alissa said...

Starbucks used to put whipped cream on top of their hot chocolate. They stopped. Now no one does. I'll have to look into Dunkin' Donuts though.

Hazel Designs said...

Meri, didn't 7 Eleven start advertising their coffee as "gourmet" a while back? I think that's awesome.

Alissa, DD doesn't put whipped cream on their hot choc either, unfortunately, but it's still pretty good. At least I hope you think so!

mom2amara said...

I am in no way a hot cocoa connoisseur. But I have to say that your #1 pick doesn't surprise me. They rank high for me when it comes to coffee so why shouldn't they be top notch with hot chocolate too?!

Karmela said...

What's with the Starbucks Hate? They make a mean WHITE hot chocolate which I love. Of course I'm also a lover of supersweet drinks which is the only reason why I love Mexican restaurants. Hate the food but love the margaritas.

Marnie said...

I hate to ruin the nicety-nice vibe and get all snobbish, but no self-respecting Philadelphian will *ever* patronize a 7-Eleven when we have one of the greatest convenience store chains in the world: Wawa. While I've never had Wawa's hot chocolate, their coffee is AMAZING. No matter what time you go in, they have at least ten fresh pots in all sorts of flavors going, and a host of different creamers. The best part? The coffee is dirt cheap! I think the biggest size (24 oz.) is, like, $1.50. I will have to try their hot chocolate and report back. In the meantime, I'll have to agree with your #1, Haze. DD rocks on so many levels. (Though Chocolate Maven was pretty great, too.)

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

sahib simran said...

im sorry but in my book your all wrong. Chocolate maven totally beats dunkin donughts any day.
and believe me i would know.

Hazel Designs said...

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog! I'm curious - how is it that you know? Are you in the hot chocolate business?