Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hot Cocoa

Regardless of what time of year it is, hot cocoa is a wonderful treat. There are different viewpoints on what a good cup of cocoa is. Milk is an important ingredient and chocolate powder or sauce is what makes the magic. Various coffee shops, donut joints and restaurants all over Alameda make their version of hot chocolate.

Starbucks has two versions of hot cocoa. There is regular hot cocoa with choice of milk and whipped cream, or with a shot of espresso in the hot cocoa. I much prefer the traditional cocoa than the espresso shot. I found the espresso to be overwhelming in flavor that brought a bitterness to the hot cocoa. Hot cocoa from Starbucks was not memorable.

Peet's Coffee had a stronger chocolate flavor in their hot cocoa, but their version was not exciting. There was a large mound of whipped cream on top which tasted pleasant when the cocoa was hot, but turned bad when the cocoa got cold.

La Pinata3 had a very interesting version of Mexican hot cocoa. It comes in a large cup with a generous portion of whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon on top. The chocolate and cinnamon were a great combination with a spicy twist. It was a good drink, but it got a little awkward towards the bottom of the cup because there was so much cinnamon.

Blue Dot Cafe used Hershey's Chocolate sauce for their hot cocoa. I think it depends upon who makes the hot cocoa on certain days since staff is different from weekdays versus weekends. I'm not a huge fan of Hershey's Chocolate sauce because it doesn't have an intense chocolate flavor. The hot cocoa needs to be hot to taste good, but the cup I got was warm. The cocoa didn't have enough chocolate sauce to have a rich flavor. It was disappointing.

Spritzers to date has the best hot cocoa that I have tasted so far on the Island. The flavors were strong, you have a choice of what type of milk you want and whipped cream. I chose regular milk since I wanted to go full tilt and have the fat in the drink for the flavor. It was a good decision because the drink was quite satisfying. The portion sizes were also too generous. I ordered a small which was a 12 oz. drink. One drink was a full meal, I was full after I drank it.

Vines Coffee House was the least expensive hot cocoa I've had on the Island for $2. When I tasted the cocoa, it was basically warm milk with very little chocolate taste. There was more flavor in the cocoa powder sprinkled on top of the whipped cream than the drink itself. If you are seeking a strong cup of cocoa, than don't come to this cafe. This place offers great atmosphere, but bad cocoa.

Little House Cafe serves hot cocoa two ways, traditional and Mexican Hot Cocoa. I ordered the traditional version and watched the person make my order. I found out their hot cocoa was warmed Clover Chocolate Milk. That was it, nothing more and nothing less. I expected a little more from this cafe since they are usually detail oriented about their food items. The taste of the cocoa was bland, it needed a boost of stronger chocolate flavor. The price was also a bit high considering I got warm chocolate milk for $3. I could have bought a gallon of milk and warmed it myself for the same price.

Jay's Coffee House is a great place to hangout with your dog and grab a scone. The friendly service and atmosphere is quite pleasant. The hot cocoa, however is a weak link. The hot cocoa was basically warmed milk and Hershey's Chocolate sauce. Jay's and Blue Dot should not be copying each other on the hot cocoa since the sauce is disappointing and lacks flavor. I would pass on the cocoa at both places.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI I used to work at Little House and the chocolate milk is not Clover, it is Clover milk (Petalumas finest) cooked in a pan with 2 types of chocolate, one powdered, one real both imported and not cheap. I will say that its not for everyone since its semi sweet chocolate and no added sugar. The reason you thought it was Clover is because after cooking and cooling it is put back into the milk jug...cheers