Posted by: Shannon @ A Dash of Sparkle | November 11, 2012

Raise a cup… of hot chocolate

I’ve always loved fall for the wonderful little delights this transitional season inspires.

Even though I live in Florida now, my New England roots still alert me to any changes in foliage (granted it’s hard to beat the colorful fall New England foliage), the urge to harvest pumpkins and apples, cravings for hot cider donuts and fall festivals, and the desire for special seasonal treats.

I crave more than pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, though they are pure joy in a cup.

As soon as the first cool breeze passes through my open window in fall, causing me to wrap up in the fluffiest blanket I can find, I crave another kind of bliss-in-a-cup…

Hot chocolate.

Granted I do love the chocolatey goodness, tempered with hot milk that Starbucks provides, but a cup of hot chocolate at home is unbeatable and even more delicious somehow.

The Tampa mornings and nights have been progressively cooler these last few weeks and I’ve relished in the habit of leaving my windows open, air conditioner off and blanket nearby for cozying up in. Not everyone has enjoyed having to bundle up though…

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I think the only reason my little fluff-ball doesn’t enjoy the cooler temps is that she can’t get access to this…

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I made the discovery of Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate about a week ago when I was in Naples. Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge to stop at my favorite grocer when I was so close, and my shelf perusing rewarded me when I landed on this interesting tin of Sipping Chocolate, so clearly not your average hot chocolate mix.

The back of the tin describes the perfect drink of rich chocolate reminiscent of European corner cafes. I was instantly intrigued, so I picked up a tin to try. Now I wish I had grabbed about ten of them.

I didn’t actually try it until Monday night, and I did so somewhat skeptically when they called for a mere 1/3 cup of hot milk (I used almond milk). My eyebrows raised slightly further when the instructions read to add three tablespoons of the chocolate powder to the bit of milk (I didn’t want it to be paste).

Trying new things doesn’t always pay off, but when it does, it can mean the beginning of new things. This petite cup of steaming chocolate, with the final texture of a sauce or glaze, is one of those wonderful new things.

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Despite it’s much smaller serving size, it’s hard not to feel satisfied when you lick the last drop of this chocolate from the cup. It’s almost like drinking a creamier version of a melted dark chocolate bar. This should warn the sugar-lovers that while this cup of deliciousness has some sweet to it, it’s not as sweet as your average hot chocolate.

I had Nick try some one night and it was just too intense for him, which I had suspected knowing he doesn’t really like dark chocolate as I do.

If you enjoy in savoring the deep flavors of dark chocolate, however, then this is a drink you have to try. I challenge your chocolate craving not to be satisfied after you sip this down.

And on a cool day or night, wrapped in blankets, reading a good book, this cup of chocolate is an absolute perfect celebration of fall and the cooler winter weather to come.

What things do you love in fall? Are there certain things you crave more when it gets cold?

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