If hot cocoa is a crowd-pleasing cocktail, drinking chocolate is a shot of whiskey on the rocks. While both can be a delightful treat on chilly days, drinking chocolate (also known as sipping chocolate) is the stripped-down version, an intense concoction of melted chocolate and hot water or milk. Hot cocoa, in contrast, combines cocoa powder, sugar and milk (and sometimes vanilla or other flavorings) for a thinner beverage that’s sweeter and less chocolatey.
For chocolate lovers, especially dark chocolate aficionados, drinking chocolate provides a better opportunity to fully appreciate the chocolate itself, especially the nuanced flavors and terroir of bean-to-bar craft chocolate. Here are seven bean-to-bar drinking chocolates you need to sip this winter.
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1. Markham & Fitz
At 60%, the classic drinking chocolate from Arkansas-based chocolate makers Markham & Fitz has the lowest cacao percentage on this list, which makes it a perfect foray into drinking chocolate for milk chocolate lovers. Made with ethically sourced, single-origin Columbia chocolate, it has notes of molasses and caramel.
For those who prefer a darker drinking chocolate, the company also produces a 75% dark drinking chocolate made with Haitian cacao for a brownie-like flavor profile with hints of dried figs and cinnamon.
Image Credit: markhamandfitz.com.
2. Maverick Chocolate Co.
Cincinnati-based Maverick Chocolate Co.’s drinking chocolate has a lower cacao percentage (65%) than most drinking chocolates on the market. However, this provides more of a balance between the chocolate flavor and the sugar content, which makes it more accessible for newcomers to drinking chocolate and a good fit for those who like a bit more sweetness. The direct-trade, organic cacao beans are sourced from Ecuador and Tanzania.
Image Credit: maverickchocolate.com.
3. Mindo Chocolate Makers
Michigan-based Mindo Chocolate Makers crafts an Ecuadorian drinking chocolate made from single-origin, organic, shade-grown Nacional cocoa beans, a rare heirloom variety valued for its floral aroma and complex flavor profile. At 77% dark chocolate, this drinking chocolate has less sugar and a more intense chocolate flavor than most drinking chocolates. Unusually, it also includes cocoa powder.
“Cocoa powder is one of the key ingredients of our drinking chocolate,” says founder and owner Barbara Wilson. “We are one of the very few companies who hand-press our own cocoa powder at low temperatures, so it has a more amazing flavor than most cocoa powder.”
Image Credit: mindochocolate.com.
4. Potomac Chocolate
Founded in 2010, Virginia-based Potomac Chocolate was the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The company’s 70% dark drinking chocolate is made with a blend of organic cacao sourced from Peru and the Dominican Republic for a deep, traditional chocolate flavor with notes of red fruits.
Image Credit: potomacchocolate.com.
5. Ritual Chocolate
Utah-based Ritual Chocolate offers a trio of drinking chocolates highlighting different chocolate regions across the globe. Coming in at 70% chocolate, the Madagascar drinking chocolate is a “gateway chocolate for non-believers,” thanks to the lush citrus notes. The Ecuador drinking chocolate (also 70%) is made from cacao fermented with unique methods that lend an extra-rich chocolate flavor.
Dark chocolate devotees should try the 75% Belize drinking chocolate, which is made from cacao sourced from Mayan farmers in Belize’s Toledo region. Thanks to the area’s unusual heirloom cacao varieties, the resulting chocolate has an interesting balance of fruity, nutty and earthy flavors.
Image Credit: ritualchocolate.com.
6. Woodblock Chocolate
Portland, Oregon’s Woodblock Chocolate crafts a drinking chocolate made with their 70% chocolate. The signature double-origin blend utilizes cacao from Ecuador, which lends notes of cinnamon, and Peru, which provides caramel and vanilla flavors.
In addition to cow’s milk, Woodblock recommends combining their drinking chocolate with a variety of different liquids, including nut milk, oat milk, coconut water and a combination of coffee and milk.
Image Credit: woodblockchocolate.com.
7. Xocolatl Chocolate
Xocolatl Chocolate, an Atlanta-based chocolate maker, won the 2018 Academy of Chocolate Bronze Award for their single-origin Nicaraguan drinking chocolate. The company’s cacao is grown with sustainable farming practices and is sourced directly from individual farmers, cooperatives and values-driven enterprises.
Originating in the central highlands of Nicaragua, an up-and-coming chocolate-producing region, the cacao has a lightly floral, mild cocoa flavor, with notes of black tea and dried dates.
This article originally appeared on TheChocolateProfessor and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
Image Credit: xocolatlchocolate.com.
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