Saturday, August 19, 2017

Review - Recchiuti Dark Hot Chocolate

San Francisco confectioner Michael Recchiuti makes a packaged hot chocolate that I keep seeing turn up on lists of the best hot chocolates in the country. Like this list. And this one, too. I'd enjoyed Recchiuti chocolate bars in the past, but didn't know anything about the company or how their product was made. Well, with their drinking chocolate getting this much attention, I certainly couldn't stand idly by and let this one pass me by! I placed my order and anxiously awaited it's arrival.

Speaking of my order arriving, have you ever seen those unboxing videos on Youtube? People order the latest bit of technology and then do a video review that starts with them opening the box and continuing on through powering it up, getting it started, working with it, etc. I figured I'd give it a shot with a hot chocolate!

Everything came packaged very nice and snug, wrapped in bubble wrap and lots of paper padding. And check out that very classy packaging! I love the silver on black.

Michael Recchiuti started his chocolate company in 1997 and in the time since has established himself (and his team) as some of the best chocolate confectioners in the world. When I first came across the bars in a high end chocolate shop, I assumed they were bean-to-bar, but have since learned otherwise. Recchiuti sources their chocolate from Valrhona and E. Guittard.

The instructions are nice and clear on the back of the box. Actually, in browsing their website recently, I've noticed their packaging has changed a little bit, so your box will look slightly different.

The bag is filled with delicious smelling chocolate pistoles. Of course, as always, I tasted a few, eating some normally and savoring a few, letting them melt in my mouth to enjoy the intricacies of this chocolate. Dark and a little smokey, not tangy or fruity at all, which is nice, as I lean more towards the less tangy chocolates. (I call them tangy, but I think high-end chocolate folk call it citrus or red fruit flavors.) On their website, Recchiuti mentions that Varlhona creates a special blended chocolate based on Michael Recchiuti's palette. I wonder if this is that chocolate?

I pulled out the scale and got my measurements just right. That's a lot of chocolate for only a small amount of water!

2 ounces of water isn't very much. It's equivalent to 4 tablespoons. So already I can tell this ratio of ingredients is going to create a very thick, rich drinking chocolate.

And wow, is it ever! Made as instructed, it's a very intense drink. Tangy notes have appeared in the flavor now, and a slight hint of smokiness. And it's very thick. I needed a spoon to enjoy mine. But enjoy it I did! I scraped the cup clean with my spoon. Definitely a very high quality chocolate - dark, but still sweet. They don't give a percentage anywhere on the package, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's around a 60-65%

While I did order the marshmallows to accompany the drink, I found after a first sip that I didn't want them with it. They are delightful marshmallows, to be sure, but this drink screams to be noticed on it's own. As intense as this drink is, cranking it up even further by adding in the strong sweetness of a marshmallow was a bit much. In fact, I actually went and brushed my teeth after this drink.

I also made one with milk, using 3oz whole milk and 3.5 oz of the chocolate. I've learned over the years that my favorite types of drinking chocolate are made with milk. I'd like it to not be a pudding or ganache, but still be thicker and richer than your average hot cocoa.

While heating the milk one, I realized it was still going to be too thick for what I was looking for, so I added more milk, probably another 3oz or so. The finished drink was astounding! Drinkable without a spoon while still being very thick, and extremely rich. The milk made it creamier, which is what I prefer. Wow, what a great hot chocolate! This is not, however, an after dinner hot chocolate, or a morning pick-me-up cocoa. This is a dessert chocolate. Something meant in small portions, to savor every sip, looking for the complexities of the flavor. This is why these amazing chocolate makers are doing what they do, taking chocolate out of the corner candy store and elevating it as something that should be experienced as you would a 5 star dinner or an expensive wine.

I also made this hot chocolate one other way, what's become my favorite way to enjoy almost all drinking chocolates. And unfortunately, I did not get pictures of this version. Just a big helping of 2% milk, maybe 2 or 2.5 cups, and then I just dumped in the last 2 or 3 ounces of chocolate I had left. Mmmm, wow. Really, really good. It actually brought out a bit more of that tanginess, and it was very pleasant. It was rich, but not overpowering, and very drinkable. It tasted very much like an bean-to-bar chocolate drink, something handcrafted where the flavor of the bean and the roast of that bean can shine through in the flavor.

I perfectly understand why this hot chocolate has made so many lists of the best hot chocolates, and I certainly rate it up there myself. If you also order the marshmallows, I recommend saving them for days when you make this drink at a very different ratio of milk to chocolate than what is described on the package. And don't forget to tell them you heard about them here at Melting Mug!

Pick it up at their online shop here!