Right, now we’re 5 days into October, Autumn is definitely here and settled in. That means I can finally press publish on a blog post I’ve had waiting in the wings for a while; patiently waiting until the evenings got darker and mornings got colder…
Yes! I bloody love this time of year. I can finally blow the dust of my beloved boot collection, throw my (faux) fur-lined biker on and be done with wearing anything other than black, grey and burnt orange. While many of you are still chasing the last of that bloody September sun that has weaseled its way into the witching month, I’m lighting my spiced candles, curling up on the couch with a good book and sipping on a steaming hot Whittard’s hot chocolate.
Before I go any further, let me just say – this is NOT an ad. I just really, really love my cocoa collection. Like (hypothetically speaking) if there was to be a fire in our gaff (heaven forbid), I’d probably grab these babies under my arms and forgo any of my actual valuables. I’ve never been a coffee drinker (and yes, I’ve tried) so when the festive season rolls around and flavours start getting richer and calorie counting goes out the window, a big old mug of molten chocolate is my go-to.
Okay so it might be ridiculously indulgent and they do say summer bodies are made in winter but summer bodies, shmummer shmodies is what I say because well basically, my will power (or lack of) is simply no match for these 350g tubs of complete and utter temptation. Hotel Chocolat and Prestat also do a mean mix if Cadbury’s just don’t cut the mustard for you but as far as premium hot chocolates go, I think Whittard has hit the nail right on it’s rusty old head. So without further ado here is a little round up of my top picks and how I like to embellish my favourite autumn/winter beverage.
So in no particular order…
Black Forest Gateau – I am a sucker for the Costa Black Forest Hot Chocolate so my eyes were like saucers when my mum bought me this bad boy and it most certainly didn’t disappoint. The combo of cocoa and fruit is always a winner and the perfect concoction to be sipping as temperatures drop.
Rocky Road – Believe it or not, I don’t like my hot chocolates too sweet. I’m not a fan of that furry teeth feeling that syrups leave you with so I love how Whittard strike that perfect balance between ‘nom’ and ‘vom’. The Rocky Road hot chocolate does air slightly on the side of ‘too sweet’ for me so it tends to be the last one I reach for but still delicious nonetheless.
Luxury Hot Chocolate – Consider this your bread and butter of the luxury hot chocolate world but more like brioche and truffle butter. It’s your standard, plain hot chocolate but with a whole load more sophistication and depth of flavour. A cupboard staple in my book.
Salted Caramel – I am all aboard that salted caramel chocolate bandwagon so grind it down into a powder, pop it in some pretty packaging and you’ll have me wrapped around your little finger. This is one I keep going back to time and time again because it’s the perfect alternative to standard hot chocolate and as rich and indulgent as you like without making you want to hurl straight after.
Raspberry Ripple White Hot Chocolate – When I was wandering round the Whittard store in Manchester, this flavour was newly launched and available for sample. Churning round the machine, like a baby pink whirlpool of dreams, I obviously made a beeline for it. Now again, this one is quite sweet so I recommend having just a modest measure but the combination of white chocolate and raspberry is as magical in a mug as it would be on a plate.
Lighter Luxury White Hot Chocolate – Up until recently (keep scrolling), this one had come close to knocking the Salted Caramel off the top spot because that’s some damn fine white hot chocolate right there. A lot like Milky Bar but with the most subtle savoury aftertaste, I love this mix. I bought the ‘lighter’ version as it was in the sale for a measly £2.50 but having tried the regular white chocolate recipe since, this one still comes up trumps.
Last but not least, my flavour of the minute and the mix I just can’t say no to… Whittard Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate. Peanut bloody butter flavoured hot chocolate. What a time to be alive. Not only does this (like all of the above) make a rich and luxurious drink with plenty of true-to-title flavour, I’ve also found it to be a ‘wicked’ ingredient to have in my kitchen too. While you’d imagine it to be super sickly and unbearable sweet, one of the things I love most about Whittard’s powders is that they always have an almost salty edge. None of that synthentic, sugary syrup stuff that reminds you how behind on your dental check ups you are.
So if I’m having a plain hot chocolate or we’re whipping up a frothy coffee for somebody, I might dust a bit of this over the top for a bit of fun. I’ve even sprinkled it over a peanut butter and banana breakfast smoothie and added it to my banana bread batter before today because who doesn’t need more PB goodness in their lives right?
The best thing about sippin’ on homemade hot chocolate is that there aren’t any baristas there or any other civilised human beings to raise an eyebrow when you pour a generous glug of Amaretto in at 11am either. As you know, if there isn’t a dessert cocktail on the menu that tickles my pickle, I’ll pick out my favourite milkshake and then ask for a splash of my chosen spirit in there and I use the same (genius) life hack when it comes to hot cocoa. Baileys, Disaronno and Chambord are my poisons of choice but whiskey, brandy or even some Malibu or Crème de Menthe might warm the cockles just as nicely.
Oh and don’t forget your marshmallows! I’m not a whipped cream kinda gal really (unless it’s the Starbucks chocolate cream) but marshmallows are a must and the Whittard ones are actually really, really good. Of course, any old confectionery from the supermarket will be just as nice but there is definitely just something extra special about the Whittard marshmallows AND you do get about a million for only £5.50 so you know… treat your tits, it’s nearly Christmas and all that.
How do you pimp your hot chocolate? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @hihungryharriet!