Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review - MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate

I'm not only going to post recipes and experiments, I'm also going to review hot chocolate mixes that I find. Anything different or gourmet, or just anything I've not seen or tried before. I'll always give my honest opinion, of course, but as a disclaimer, I should mention that most reviews are probably going to be relatively positive. I just love this stuff so much, even the bad ones aren't really that bad!

The first one I want to review is one of the first really high quality hot chocolates I tasted, MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate. Drinking this was when I realized that by drinking packet mix for all those years, I was doing it all wrong. 

I got this when my girlfriend and I visited the Winchester Mystery House in December. (She is also responsible for all the great photos on this blog.) There was a huge MarieBelle display in their gift shop, and I’d never heard of them before. It looked very fancy and Parisian, so I took a chance and bought the big 20oz tin of hot chocolate.

It turns out that MarieBelle is a chocolate shop in New York (and Kyoto, Japan) founded by chocolate maker Maribel Lieberman. They make delicate little chocolates and confections, and the store in New York has a Cacao Bar and Tea Salon. That Cacao Bar sounds amazing, and you can bet I'll be there when I next visit New York! 

You can see the mix isn't really a powder mix at all, but chopped chocolate. It's single origin 60% Colombian chocolate. Single origin means that the cacao beans that made this chocolate all come from the same region, or in some cases, the same farm. I'm guessing the "Aztec" in the name pertains to the fact that Colombia was maybe once a home of the Aztec people? I thought Aztecs were mainly in Mexico, in which case, I have no idea why this is called "Aztec". The other ingredients are what you'd expect - sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, etc... However, it also has potato starch listed. Perhaps to reduce binding, or for a smooth texture? If you know why potato starch would be used, please let me know.

On the side of the tin are instructions for making the drink in a European style and an American style. Comparing them, the only difference is that the American version uses about 50% less of the chocolate. Naturally, I went for the European. I'm all for as much chocolate as possible! It uses water, like the last recipe I posted, which allows the full strength of the chocolate flavor to come through.

This hot chocolate is just amazing! So rich, so delicious, and it's thick, like cream soup, so bring a spoon. It's really smooth, even though I could see it didn't melt completely. Tiny particles of soft chocolate clung to the sides of the mug as I drank it. Maybe I should have whisked it a bit more. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, though. Just the opposite! It's amazing and rich, just a very concentrated, perfect flavor. If hot chocolate this strong isn't your thing, make the MarieBelle Aztec using the American instructions.

I've had a lot of hot chocolates before deciding to start this blog, and this is an exceptional one and a definite favorite. When I have a tin of it in my pantry, I treasure it and save it for the most relaxing of weekend evenings.

You can order it from their website or sometimes at Amazon. And you should do that. Right now.


Also, the Winchester Mystery House is bizarre and amazing, go check it out if you're in the San Jose area. 


  1. Replies
    1. Andy, those look awesome! Someday, when I have a bigger kitchen... :) Any idea how long you can keep the hot chocolate in those machines? Is it recommended they get emptied and cleaned daily?

  2. The above review mentions the product contains potato starch. However, I've seen the ingredients list include corn starch instead. In any case, the starch acts as an emulsifier and keeps the cocoa butter (fat) from separating, floating to the top, and forming a skin. The starch also helps thicken the beverage and contributes to its silky texture.

    I'm a big fan of MarieBelle hot chocolates. While they're not cheap, I think they are nevertheless a great value given how delicious they are.

    1. Hi Michael, thanks for the info! And I certainly agree with you about MarieBelle being a great value for how amazing it is.