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There's nothing better for warming cold hands and stomaches than a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate. The best one I ever had was in a tiny cafe, overlooked by the Moulin Rouge Theatre in Paris. It was so thick you needed a spoon and was literally liquified chocolate, rich and creamy and slightly bitter. Heavenly. If, however, you don't want to go to all the trouble of melting chocolate and whisking it into hot milk, why not try an instant version?
Having bought several varieties from the supermarket, including those ghastly saccharine sweet "diet" options, I was reluctant to go down the instant route again in a hurry but my kids are teenagers now and they like to make themselves hot drinks, so when I saw the Clipper version a few months ago and it was on special offer, I thought the children could road test it for me. From Sainsburys and at an introductory offer of £1.49, it was a good deal. It normally sells at £2.99 a jar which is a little above some of the more well known brands but, I think, still ok as a treat.
In a dark brown jar with a simple pale lilac label it's not particularly eye-catching but still, it is organic! So simple to prepare, even my boys can manage it, you just put 3-4 teaspoons of the powder into a mug, mix it to a smooth paste with a little water or milk and add just boiled water before giving it a good stir. Doing it this way stops the powder collecting in lumps at the bottom of the cup.
The result is a frothy, creamy drink, which is just the right thickness and is, crucially, not too sweet. You could add a tad more sugar if you found it lacking but I like it as it comes.
Its fairly low in fat as it contains skimmed milk powder and is even better with a few marshmallows floating on the top. A definite winner!
As I am not drinking coffee at the moment and dislike tea I have decided to experiment with a few Hot Chocolates to see which I would prefer for my hot drink fix on these cold autumn mornings. After standing transfixed in Sainsbury's recently I choose this offering by Clipper and it is now one of my firm favourites.
The Clipper hot chocolate is both Organic and Fair-trade meaning it is a hot chocolate with a conscious for you to relax and enjoy. The ingredients are fairly simple for this drink and are listed at the end of the review if you need to check them out for allergy purposes. The chocolate comes in a glass container that can be recycled
On opening the lid you get a blast of creamy milk chocolate on your nasal passages inviting you in for a drink. The instructions state to use 3-4 teaspoons but in my experience 3 are more than adequate. It advises to make this into a paste with some cold milk. Now no matter how hard I try when making this paste I always end up with some lumps no matter how much milk I use. I tend to use about 1-2 table spoons worth or a dash in the bottom of my mug. It does make a paste a paste albeit a lumpy one very easily. You then add some hot water to the paste. I find you do need to stir quite quickly whilst doing this to aerate the hot chocolate and to ensure that the lumps from the paste disappear but if you do this for about 15-30 seconds then all the lumps do disappear and you end up with a light foam on the top of the drink. As you have added some cold milk it is generally ready to drink straight away without burning your mouth. The smell at this time becomes quite strong and you can get notes of milk and warm chocolate not as strong as say when I have melted chocolate for baking, but similar to the warm chocolate smell that you can get when chocolate has started to melt in the packet on a hot summers day and it is very pleasant to my nose.
The taste of the chocolate is one of the strengths of this product in that for me it is a nice blend of milk and chocolate with no bitterness at all. The taste is very smooth and velvety that leaves a lovely creamy taste in your mouth after you have swallowed. There is also no artificial taste to it either it just tastes of a milk chocolate and milk as hot chocolate should in my book. The taste of the chocolate to me is reminiscent of the Milka brand of chocolate which is a nice creamy chocolate which this drink certainly is.
As with a lot of hot chocolates there is a bit of sludge left at the bottom of the mug when you have finished drinking but not enough generally I find to cover the whole of the base of the mug.
I would definitely recommend this hot chocolate is at the more expensive end of the market due in part to its organic and fair-trade credentials however. The taste I think out weighs the cost in my book as it is very luxurious and creamy. The chocolate is a lovely milky chocolate similar to my taste buds as Milka chocolate which I find a pleasant taste. Due to the inclusion of some milk powder this hot chocolate is not suitable for baking just drinking. This is available from Sainsbury's for around £3 for a 500 gram jar
Fair-trade Sugar (33%), Whey Powder, Skimmed Milk Powder, Fair-trade Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder (15%)
Suitable for Vegetarians