I confess that until I found this, I had no idea Valrhona made hot chocolate in cartons. But having seen it at the Southbank Chocolate Festival and being something of a hot chocolate fiend, I had to buy some to see how it stands up against some of the more traditional hot chocolates on the market.
It’s probably the easiest hot chocolate you’ll ever make. Open the one litre carton, pour into a mug and give it a quick blast in the microwave. No messing with saucepans (you can if you want, but it won’t improve the flavour), no hot milk and no trying to get those last few clumps of chocolate to melt properly.
The chocolate is quite thick when poured from the carton. That’s because in addition to chocolate semi-skimmed milk and water, it contains the thickening agent carrageenan.
Carrageenan is made from seaweed, so it’s completely vegan, and seems to do the job admirably, although it is a little strange to see on the label if you’re used to making hot chocolate with just chocolate and milk.
When heated, the drink loses a little of that thickness, but retains a rich, smooth consistency. That’s reflected in the flavour too. It’s creamier and a little sweeter than the hot chocolates I’m used to. I tried adding a couple of marshmallows to mine, but that just made it too sweet for me.
On its own though, it’s a very comforting hot chocolate. I like the completely smooth consistency, as well as minimal washing up. Not cheap at nearly £10 per litre, but still very nice.