Hot chocolate

Even though winter does not technically start for another day it has been cold for a few weeks in Recycla’s home state of Virginia. Since Recycla can occasionally be a fun mother, she has been letting her daughters drink hot cocoa with breakfast and again after school while they’re working on homework.

Up until a few years ago, the family bought those ubiquitous boxes of hot chocolate with the individual packets inside. The resulting product tasted a bit, um, flat. And fake. Definitely not chocolatey. So Recycla tried adding milk instead of water. Marginally better, but still not good enough. Plus, the waste from all those individual wrappers was completely unnecessary.

After some trial and error, Recycla’s family decided that the cocoas made by Lake Champlain Chocolates are the best. The company makes several flavors, including Mocha Hot Chocolate and Aztec Hot Chocolate, but the family’s favorite is the Organic Fair Trade Hot Chocolate. It’s thick and chocolatey and utterly delish.

Even if you don’t buy Lake Champlain cocoa, Recycla encourages you to ditch the individual packets of hot chocolate and go for larger tins from which you scoop out what you need. Also, making it with milk instead of water results in a much thicker, more delicious beverage.

If you’re going to have hot chocolate, you must have marshmallows too. In fact, Recycla thinks that it ought to be a law in all 50 states. While regular machine-produced marshmallows taste pretty good when drenched in hot chocolate, old fashioned handmade marshmallows are excellent. Her family buys them at Whole Foods and could eat them all in one sitting. Old fashioned marshmallows are made in pans and then cut into squares. The ingredients are high quality and, in the ones that Recycla’s family buys, you can taste the vanilla bean. Rumor has it that making marshmallows at home is the best of all, but Recycla hasn’t attempted it yet.

What about you fellow Eco Warriors? What is your favorite hot chocolate and why?

The Eco Women are not employed by Lake Champlain Chocolates, nor were they paid to do this review. Photo credits: Yahoo Images, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and Yahoo Images.

4 thoughts on “Hot chocolate

  1. I have made marshmallows… It’s not too difficult! And they make a lovely gift with some cocoa mix. I’m going to have to try your recommendations! Thank you!

  2. It’s really easy to make cocoa from scratch. Put a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa into a mug, add a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of water. Stir, and microwave for a few seconds and stir some more. Fill the mug with milk and microwave until hot. The amounts of sugar and cocoa you use depend on taste. To make this cocoa extra delicious, melt a few chocolate chips into it and substitute half and half for about 1/4 of the milk. It’s easy to increase amounts to make a panful for a crowd.

  3. I’m determined to make our cocoa from scratch this year– but I think I want to make up a mix to have on hand so that the kids can easily make it without help. I’ve never tried making marshmallows but I want to… I was just looking at a recipe on Smitten Kitchen.
    However, we need some snow in order for all this to really happen according to my vision.

  4. In traditional, as well as in poor Indian homes, we eat on leaf plates [banana leaf cut and used as is, or leaves of a tree called ‘mandhara,’ put together to make a circular plate by stitching with thin, tiny sticks sliced from dried twigs]. Leaves from other trees are also used to make plates, as is the banana tree stem. Cups for holding liquids are also made from leaves. After use, the organic waste is thrown on the soil, where it becomes manure. No need to wash dishes after food :-), saving water and making detergents redundant. I’m sure there are such simple, sustainable practices in other societies too. Perhaps, this could be a forum to share them, and campaign for reviving them as well as spreading them.

    Thank you for coming up with such wonderful, easy to implement ideas. Even if a few of us take it up, the world is the better for it.

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