I was a dumb kid.
Growing up, I never understood society’s romanticized view of hot chocolate. I wondered why people applauded its chocolaty taste, when every time I made hot chocolate it tasted bland and runny.
And why did they so happily warm their hands with the stuff on winter days, when mine got lukewarm and nasty halfway through?
Oh, that’s right. Because up until I turned [EMBARRASINGLY HIGH NUMBER REMOVED] years old, I thought hot chocolate was made by simply microwaving chocolate milk.
I was a dumb, dumb kid.
Perhaps by reviewing International Delight Hot Chocolate, I can atone for my choco-sins. This new refrigerated hot chocolate dairy beverage (“Hello, is this the Oxymoron Police? Yeah, it’s me again.”) comes in dark and milk chocolate varieties. I chose the former, figuring it was less likely to just be classier chocolate milk.
The drink claims to contain all the goodness of hot cocoa* after only 45 seconds in the microwave.
*In the unending civil war between people who say “hot cocoa” and people who say “hot chocolate,” I’m choosing to remain as neutral as a mug of Swiss Miss.
Pouring out the viscous liquid, I curiously wondered what “Cold Chocolate” would taste like. I also wondered whether “Cold Chocolate” would be a better name for an Android operating system or an Icelandic techno-pop supergroup. But that’s beside the point.
And unlike an actual feline, who would find chocolate quite toxic, curiosity didn’t kill this cat. Rather, I found the syrupy, chilled drink to have a dense, tasty mix of sweet, fatty milk and rich, creamy cocoa. There was no dark chocolate bitterness, though, so I can only imagine how cloying the milk chocolate flavor would be.
I suddenly realized that it tastes exactly like a slightly melted chocolate Snack Pack! I never knew that “pudding milk” was something I needed so badly in my life, but now that I’ve acquired a taste for it, I don’t think I can ever go back. This must be how Count Chocula got his start.
Returning from pudding nirvana, I actually followed the instructions and microwaved my 8 fluid ounces of Hot Chocolate. After a brief stir, I sipped the steaming, frothy liquid, and the first taste set off sad Price is Right trombones in my head. The heating process made the previously lovely goo much thinner and considerably less potent from a chocolate standpoint.
What was once whole-ier than whole milk was now more like hot 2% and Hershey’s syrup. The thin cream taste had processed cocoa notes that required frequent stirring to save from sinking into the brown abyss.
I’m no food scientist, so I don’t know what about microwaving makes this taste so diluted, flat, and even kinda slimy. Do microwaves burn off fat? If they do, those “One Weird Trick To Cut Off Belly Fat” banner ads are about to get a whole lot weirder.
But even a food scientologist can tell this isn’t quite real hot cocoa. Even adding marshmallows didn’t help; it was just putting sugary white lipstick on a pig.
I recommend buying this drink, but only if you immediately cross out the word “Hot” with Sharpie. Like that shameful misunderstanding from my past, it’s best if we all just pretend it didn’t happen and instead happily chug International Delight Chocolate straight out of the refrigerator.
Oh, and if you do, you might want to cross out that whole “200 calories per serving” part, too.
See no evil, no evil goes straight to my thighs, right?
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 200 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 320 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 31 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.)
Item: International Delight Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 1 quart
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Whole-y cold pudding milk, Batman! Becoming a chocolate vampire. Munching many mini marshmallows. Escaping childhood shame.
Cons: Completely fails at its intended purpose. Pretty much “Microwaved Chocolate Milk 2.0.” Wasting 45 seconds I could’ve spent microwaving Pizza Rolls. Taking the phrase “brown abyss” out of context. Still only owning one glass cup.