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Review: Nestle Carnation hot chocolate mix

Nestle Carnation hot chocolate mix

Well, it’s Halloween. In the off chance you’re not completely put off by everything chocolate by the end of the night, why not warm up with a mug of hot cocoa to mark the end of another ghoulish evening full of kids dressed as princesses, Dora, and, um, The Situation.

Carnation hot chocolate is the stuff I grew up on. From good (spiked with extra hot chocolate powder to make a drink so strong it was like drinking chocolaty motor oil), to bad (after a night of church-sponsored tobogganing, so weak it was basically just scaldingly hot brown-tinted puddle water), it haunts my memories.

While I’ve now graduated to fancier, more high-brow hot chocolates (“drinking chocolate,” if you will), I thought I’d revisit this classic, in the milk chocolate flavour. I made it two ways, just to compare.

The Pitch: “A warm hug on a cold day.” Simple, basic and to the point. No pretentious marketing bafflegab about being sourced from the ancient cocoa fields of Xhawhaxacuaxhagua.

The Look: Classic. The tin looks a bit more modern than I remember it, but it still has a warm, old-school vibe to it.

The Directions: “Stir 3/4 cup (175 mL) of steaming hot water into 3 tbsp (28 g) mix. For extra rich, creamy goodness, replace water with steaming hot milk. Enjoy!”

The Taste (made with water): Not a bad water-to-mix ratio, though I’d probably add an extra tablespoon to make it richer. Even made without milk, it has a nice milky flavour. A very basic hot chocolate. Childhood flashbacks.

The Taste (made with 2% milk): Waaaaaay better. It has a milk chocolate flavour and richness that the water-based drink lacks. Much closer to the kind of hot chocolate you’d find at a place like Tim Hortons.

Nestle Carnation hot chocolate mix


Cost: $6.49 for a 500-gram tin at Calgary Co-op.

Value for cash money: Good. Way cheaper than chocolate-shop offerings, though not nearly as rich and chocolaty. A 500-gram tin is supposed to yield 17 servings.

Availability: Omnipresent.

Nutrition?: Depends on how you make it. In powdered form, per 28 grams (3 tablespoons): 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 140 mg of sodium, 1 gram of fibre, 1 gram of protein.

The verdict: Water-based? A wave of nostalgia. Milk-based? Much better than I remember it being. If you have milk in the fridge, make it with that. Totally worth it.

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