Wine drinkers usually fall into one camp or the other – “I usually drink red” or “I usually drink white” and the agnostics, those who happily drink whatever they’re handed are few and far between. So knowing that I am a deep red kind of guy (think Cabernet, Red Zin, Syrah), I was a little reluctant to try this “blond” drinking chocolate. Then I remembered this was Zotter – I guy who excels at breaking the rules to create something fun and unexpected from his Austrian chocolate factory.
Organic Drinking Chocolate
This unusual drinking chocolate is made from a blend of fair-trade certified organic ingredients including: raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, almonds, sweet whey powder, and vanilla. Now, I know that some of you are worried that there’s some kind of distilled spirit mixed in there somewhere, but you can relax knowing that “bourbon” is just a term given to vanilla from the Indian Ocean islands – such as Madagascar. Of course if you want to throw some dark rum into your cup of drinking chocolate, it’s not a bad idea, but try it straight first – to get a sense for the subtle flavors and aromas.
Because of the high cocoa butter content, it’s hard to imagine this in anything but bar form – something a bit alien to us Americans when it comes to hot chocolate. Have no fear, this uniquely European approach  is no more difficult to prepare than powder if not a bit easier. The bars melt readily into warmed milk and prep time is far less than 10 minutes even if you are fond of ritual and want to stand over the stove whisking gently and drinking up the natural aroma. I basically followed the instructions on the back of the box that go something like this (edited for clarity):
Melt a bar of Zotter Drinking Chocolate in 100 mL to 200 mL hot frothy milk, then stir it well with a whisk. Give the drinking chocolate a little bit of time to develop its flavor. Enjoy it!
Their recommendation of one bar for 100 or 200mL of milk is pretty loose giving you wide latitude to make it mild or splurge with something more intense. Of course, I did the 2 bars for 200mL to get the full-on experience. Pausing for the flavors to develop was the hardest part, but real or not, I imaging the flavors diffusing and melding throughout the milk while I waited.
Tasting Zotter Hot Chocolate
Despite the light creamy color, the taste was plenty satisfying although unlike anything your grandma called hot cocoa (unless she makes home somewhere near the Austrian Alps). We’re talking about a luscious blend of sweetness, vanilla with notes of rum and toasted nuts. The potent vanilla aroma rising up from the cup is at once seductive and therapeutic with complexity that you can only get from real vanilla bean. All in all, I found it smooth and comforting.
I don’t plan to give up my rich dark drinking chocolate anytime soon, but I’m feeling a bit more agnostic than before and that can’t be bad. Zotter Drinking Chocolate is available online at NewLeaf Chocolates.
 You also see these drinking chocolate bars in parts of Latin America such as in Mexico.
 I paid for all the materials myself.