Monday, November 25, 2013

Whole Foods 365 Hot Cocoa

The holiday season is quickly approaching in conjunction with cold Arctic air in the Washington, D.C., area. Crisp and frigid weather is indicative of the arrival of heavy, wool coats, fluffy blankets and warm drinks to stay toasty and snug. What better way to relax on a grey weekend afternoon than with a cup of piping hot cocoa? Other major brands of hot chocolate contain synthetic, ‘natural’ flavors, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, and oftentimes, soy. However, the store brand from Whole Foods, 365, contains organic ingredients easily pronounced by those who have yet to obtain a Ph.D. degree in agrochemistry. Will this affect its performance in the Sans Soy test?

Product: Whole Foods 365 Hot Cocoa

Whole Foods Organic Hot CocoaWhole Foods Organic Hot Cocoa

Quality:  Upon opening a packet of this hot cocoa mix, I first noticed a pale powder with a smell more natural than a traditional hot chocolate mix loaded with fake flavorings and sugars. In fact, closer inspection of the contents revealed small, square sugar crystals. No synthetic sweeteners in my hot cocoa! The mix dissolves well in a pan of warm liquid, leaving little chocolate residue behind.

Taste: In one word, I describe this hot cocoa mix to be comforting. It is thick and luscious and sweet enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without causing a toothache. Although rich on its own from nonfat dried milk in the mix, I like to be extra naughty by combining the hot chocolate mix with warmed milk. The result tastes like liquid chocolate velvet.

Price: Currently, a box of 10 organic hot chocolate packets is on sale for $3.99 at my local Whole Foods market.

Overall grade: A. The superb quality and deep chocolate flavor are quite impressive for a dry ingredient hot cocoa mix. Real sugar cubes, plus all organic ingredients allow a cold weather beverage to be enjoyed without the worries of food chemicals. Brownie points for a reasonable price and all organic ingredients.

P.S. Check out Whole Foods' awesome hot chocolate smackdown comparison. 

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