Waking up to see large white flakes floating past my window, I quickly kicked off my sheets and rocketed out of bed. Snow, at last! The first snow of the year is always a big deal to me, and rarely do I miss the chance to get out there and have some fun in it. Although now it’s more about photography than making snowmen, it’s still exciting to see those pristine mounds of snow blanket the earth again.
Once upon a time, after a playing in the freezing flakes for an hour or two, the highlight of the experience would truly be coming back inside and sitting down to a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Gripping the cup tightly to warm my little fingers, I would wait for it to be cool enough to drink, admiring the sweet little marbits the whole time. Honestly, the marbits were the best part, often scooped up with a spoon before any of the liquid had been consumed. Nowadays, my tastes have become at least slightly more refined, and those gelatin-filled dried marshmallows are permanently off the menu.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t settle in with a hot cup of cocoa, though. This time around, I had a decidedly more adult option: Brewed Chocolate, a slightly caffeinated drink created by Cabaret.
Mixing a mere teaspoon of the syrup into a half cup of hot water, I had my doubts at first. The brew was pale and translucent, much like tea, and I was dubious that something so delicate could really carry a flavor as powerful as chocolate. Notes of roasted nuts and coffee wafted from the cup, somehow reminding me of the smell of brown rice syrup. Nonetheless, the first sip proved that my concern was for naught- Very delicately favored, but pleasantly sweet, it didn’t immediately strike me as chocolate, but eventually a cocoa undertone came through, raising up the flavor a couple of notches.
This is one drink meant to be slowly savored to get the full effect and really appreciate the complex taste, and I happen to love that. Far more sophisticated than just plain old cocoa, you may even choose a cup of this over your second (or third, or fourth) midday coffee. Surprisingly satisfying, it’s somehow much more filling than you would expect for something composed primarily of hot water to be, too.
Whether you’re looking for a lift or just a way to warm up, this is one variation on hot chocolate that everyone should try at least once. Now, I can only imagine how wonderful the syrup might be as an ingredient in baked goods…!
[Written for Go Dairy Free]