Value for Money
Bewley's Indulgent Drinking Chocolate €0.85
We’re not going to lie, we approached this with a degree of suspicion because it came in a single sachet and seemed kind of pricey to us. We did, however, like the fact that it carried the Bewley’s name – call us suckers for tradition – so we kind of wanted it to do well. And it did. We were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this hot chocolate. It has a richness that was entirely unexpected and a depth of chocolatey flavours that all but the Valrhona option failed to match. It is dearer than some of its rivals, but sometimes it is worth paying the price.
Star rating: ****
Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate €4.95 for 10
This is the most widely available drinking chocolate we tried and the most familiar brand, but it quickly becomes clear that familiarity and ubiquity are fairly distant relatives of quality. We’re pretty sure that were it not for the Cadbury name, this hot chocolate would have disappeared without a trace a long time ago. That is not to say that it is bad – it is not – but aside from the fact that it tastes vaguely like a liquefied Dairy Milk, there is nothing remotely special about this. We’d not say no to a cup if offered one on a cold winter’s evening, but nor would we be racing home to make one for ourselves.
Star rating: Marks & Spencer Hot Chocolate Drink €4.79 for 10
If you had asked Pricewatch 10 days ago which two phrases it never wanted to see on a box of hot chocolate “under 50 calories” and “just add hot water” would have been real contenders. Today, they’d be dead certs. This hot chocolate is hot, certainly and has a vague chocolatey flavour. And it’s brown. But, let’s not mince our words here, it is horrible. With each passing sip, we grew more cross. Yes, it is cheaper than the rest but we’d not drink this again even if MS paid us handsomely to do so. Hot chocolate is supposed to be a comfort drink, something you sip in front of a roaring fire on a cold wet evening. This is not a comfort drink and tastes like something you would grimly drink after you’d come home from a particularly humiliating Weightwatcher’s class.
Star rating: *
The Ultimate Hot Chocolate €3.49
This is more like it. This is an Irish hot chocolate and is rather brilliant. It uses Valrhona chocolate – which most chocolatey types would accept is amongst the finest chocolates in the world – to bring us a sachet of ready-to-heat hot chocolate. You stick the pouch in a microwave for 90 seconds and bing! You have a very, very good hot chocolate. Okay, so, the fact that you don’t add your own milk means it is not as fresh as it might otherwise be, but it is still a good deal fresher than the powdered options. We’d like to ignore the price, but we can’t. At €3.49 for a single cup, some people might consider it prohibitively expensive.
Verdict:Lovely but dear
Star rating: ****