Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review - Ginger Elizabeth Hot Chocolate

I'll be honest with you - I can't remember how I found out about Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates. They must have turned up in something I was reading online, or perhaps looking over a map of chocolate places here in California. However it happened, I'm glad I found them.

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates was started by Ginger Elizabeth Hahn in 2005 to be a responsible, sustainable chocolate company. They're located in Sacramento, where in 2008 they opened a small storefront. From pictures on their Facebook page, it seems the good people of Sacramento are perfectly aware of what a treasure they have there, as they line up down the block to get into the place!

After trying their amazing hot chocolate, I sent a message to them asking what details they could give me about how it's made. Wow! Traci, the manager there, gave me every bit of information I could have asked for! Unbelievably helpful!

When I ordered the hot chocolate tin from their online shop, I also bought a stick of their marshmallows. What a great way to package marshmallows! They form it in a plastic roll, and simply leave it there for the customer to cut into whatever size they choose.

Back to the chocolate! Traci informed me that they are not bean-to-bar chocolate makers, but that they source their chocolate from Valrhona in France, Felchlin in Switzerland, and Etienne Guittard here in the US. They are fondeurs, meaning they melt the sourced chocolate into their own custom varieties and flavors. Ginger herself creates those blends and flavors. The hot chocolate we're reviewing here is a 58% blend.

Online, they only have the Classic variety of hot chocolate available. In their boutique, they have a couple other varieties, Oaxacan and European. Go try them if you're near Sacramento! The Oaxacan also uses a 58% chocolate, but the European uses a 72%. Man, I sure wish I lived close enough to try them all out!

They have some recipes posted on their website, one for European hot chocolate and one for a Maya Coconut hot chocolate. As the European recipe on their site uses their Classic hot chocolate as the main ingredient, I'm guessing perhaps the one served in the boutique is a bit stronger at 72%.

The directions are straightforward, and I'm using milk rather than water. Like most amazing hot chocolates, the mix of real chocolate clumped together into perfect little morsels that dissolved quickly in the heated milk.

Someday I hope computers can transmit smells, because that picture above is worthy of the technology.

The finished drink is wonderful and rich, and that 58% is really obvious. Rather than a deep, bitter flavor, the hot chocolate tastes much more like a sweet milk chocolate. In fact, that's what got me writing to them in the first place. It didn't taste like the dark chocolates I was used to, so I was curious about the percentages they use. If you're not yet enjoying the dark chocolates, but want something much better than a typical powder mix hot cocoa, then this is your cup of chocolate! 

Click some of those links and order some, and be sure and tell them where you heard about them! And thank you, Traci at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates. If only other hot chocolate makers were as responsive and informative as you guys are!

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