It has been a whirlwind of a December once again, what with essays, assignments and packing up for Christmas, as well as the usual rush to buy everyone the perfect present. In between frantic shopping trips and study sessions I’ve managed to try my fair share of festive drinks, and I’ve compiled a short but sweet seasonal hot chocolate guide – and what better day to publish it than on Christmas Day?
Most instagram-worthy: Costa Coffee seasonal drinks
On the very first day that Costa brought out its seasonal drinks this year, I managed to persuade one of my university friends to come and try the festive range with me (despite his many protests). The queue finished outside the door and although it was freezing cold, we waited to see what they had in store for us.
When we finally got inside, everyone in the queue was looking around to see what everyone else had ordered: we could see tall glasses topped with mini candy canes, and metallic marshmallows, and little gingerbread men, too. Before tasting a single one, it’s clear that the award for most instagram-worthy seasonal drink goes to the entire Costa range.
Best of Costa Coffee: Mint Hot Chocolate
I’ve tried all but the toasted marshmallow (gelatine) from the seasonal hot chocolate range, and my absolute favourite is the mint hot chocolate. It’s very sweet but refreshing at the same time (as long as you don’t make the mistake of ordering too big a drink – it will become sickly about halfway down and you will be full of regret and sugar), and the tiny candy cane is adorable.
Worst of Costa Coffee: Lindt Hot Chocolate
A shot of hot chocolate made from the finest Lindt chocolate? It sounds promising, I know. Sadly, it tastes like someone measured half a shot of regular hot chocolate and half a shot of pure sugar and combined them together. Festive drinks are always extra sweet (see above), but this was sickly to the point where even a shot was too much.
Truest to flavour: Caffe Nero Tiramisu Hot Chocolate
We all know that I love Caffe Nero everything, and they absolutely did not disappoint this year, bringing out spiced orange and tiramisu flavoured lattes and hot chocolates.
I absolutely had to try the tiramisu hot chocolate (who doesn’t love coffee, chocolate and alcohol in dessert form?), and I couldn’t believe how true to taste it was. It literally feels like you have a liquid tiramisu in your mouth. It is heaven in a cup, and if Caffe Nero do not bring this one out again next year, they may or may not receive a strongly worded letter from yours truly.
Most Christmassy: Caffe Nero Spiced Orange Hot Chocolate
You might receive an orange in your stocking. Or a Terry’s chocolate orange might appear amongst your gifts. Or you might go to your local Sainsbury’s and buy one every day that they’re on offer.
Whichever it is, oranges are undeniably Christmassy. And so are spices. And so is hot chocolate. There is literally no hot chocolate more Christmassy than a spiced orange hot chocolate, and as always Nero is on form with flavour and texture.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
If you want to try something special with your family today, why not add cinnamon and a little ginger to your usual recipe? Another possibility is stirring in some orange juice and sprinkling with candied orange peel. Or, if your family are all grown up, add a little chocolate baileys and let the merry mood take you.
Merry Christmas, and I bid you all a very festive farewell.