Humble bags hold brown gold: chocolate shavings that
won THE NIBBLE’s first hot chocolate tasting.
And The Winner Is...
L.A. Burdick Hot Chocolate
Recently, THE NIBBLE gathered up ten gourmet dark hot chocolates and ten discriminating tasters and held a blind tasting. There was one clear winner: the hot chocolate from L.A. Burdick of Walpole, New Hampshire.
There was a significant handicap, which we didn’t realize until we opened the bag. Of all the products tested, nine were cocoa powder. But Burdick’s was shaved chocolate, which is the classic Swiss style. The preparation is the same: Add hot milk and stir until the shavings are dissolved.
The result: The most voluptuously rich cup of hot chocolate you can imagine. So rich, that if you put a cup into the refrigerator, it turns into pot de crème, and you can stand a spoon up in it. So rich that, by adjusting the milk or cream, it can be prepared as a sauce.
Burdick’s product is hot chocolate, not cocoa, as it’s a combination of melted, shaved chocolate bars mixed with hot milk. That’s why it’s so rich: chocolate bars have a high percentage of cocoa butter, whereas all of the cocoa butter has been removed from the “press cake” that is subsequently pulverized to become cocoa powder. Some chefs will sneak a tablespoon of sweet butter into the cup of cocoa they serve you, to duplicate the buttery thrill you would have gotten had they used the more expensive chocolate shavings instead of cocoa powder.
Does that mean that it’s better to spend more and make your hot chocolate from shavings versus cocoa powder?
Absolutely not: it’s a matter of personal taste. The first runner-up was Marie Belle‘s powdered cocoa, which was voted #1 by those tasters who didn’t like the super-richness of Burdick, and #2 by those who chose Burdick first. And, shaved hot chocolate comes with another price: It’s more than twice the calories of cocoa. But worth it.
But as we drank our L.A. Burdick Hot Chocolate, lulled into a state of chocolate bliss, we could only thank chocolatier Larry Burdick for making it available at any price, at the click of a mouse.
— Karen Hochman
Updated November 2007
FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to your chocolate-loving friends.
Add hot milk and you’ve got The Winner.
L.A. BURDICK HOT CHOCOLATE
Dark, Milk & White Hot Chocolate
- 12-Ounce Bag (With Whisk)
- 2-Pound Bag
- 5-pound bag
Purchase online at BurdickChocolate.com
Or telephone 1.800.229.2419
weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
Prices and availability verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.
Spiced Hot Chocolate Recipe
Ingredients Per serving
- 1.5 cups milk
- 2 heaping teaspoons of top quality cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup of ground dark chocolate with 60% or higher cacao content (chop and grind a good dark chocolate bar in a spice mill or a food processor)
- Ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon (fresh-grind using a microplane grater for great flavor)
- Chili powder (optional)
- Heat the milk to just below boiling. Whisk in the cocoa powder and ground chocolate.
- Add the nutmeg and cinnamon to taste—we like a lot of each. If you like “Aztec” spice, add some chili powder, too.
Learn More About Chocolate
|The Art of Chocolate: A beautiful book of techniques and recipes. Click here for more information.
||Pure Chocolate: This no-holds-barred cookbook presses for patience and understanding as keys to working with chocolate. Click here for more information.
||Chocolate American Style: This book allows you to "Americanize" international favorites by adding chocolate. Click here for more information.
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