x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Nothing beats a good cup of hot chocolate

Hot chocolate in a can that heats up in three minutes is a true wonder.

Is there a more comforting hot beverage in the whole world than hot chocolate? It can manage to warm the very tips of your toes and wrap you in the warmest embrace. It's the perfect companion to invite to an afternoon on the couch and the cosy touch to an evening.

I've always been on a self-assigned mission to hunt down the world's best cup of hot chocolate, for the greater good of course. My explorations over the years, which have been wide and varied and will most likely keep me occupied throughout my lifetime, have made me adamant that the best cup of fresh hot chocolate is served at Galler, the Belgian chocolatiere located in both Marina Mall and Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi (there are quite a few outlets in Dubai as well; I love the one in Dubai Mall). If you want a thick, creamy, hot concoction that is almost a meal in itself, that's the place to go.

If you're at home, and anxious for an instant fix without the inclination to make a cocoa drink from scratch on your cooker, then make sure you stock your cupboards with the Aero Mint Hot Chocolate drink, a bubbly delight that I have impressed many a guest with.

My latest discovery in the world of hot chocolate may just be the most interesting yet. Chocolate 2GO is a piping hot cup of hot chocolate in three minutes, without you going anywhere near a cooker or microwave, without the requirements of a mug and a spoon, no need to stir, no need to do anything, really, but fork over Dh11 for a product that is pure genius.

I came across this 200ml can in a random supermarket. It's a Spanish product containing calcium oxide in the walls of the can that, when activated, heat the contents to about 40 degrees Celsius in three minutes.

The ingredients list includes water, sugar, skimmed milk, fat-reduced cocoa powder (3.3 per cent), whey powder, butter and aromas, with some traces of gluten; absolutely no preservatives, additives or colourants. Directions on the side of the can are straightforward: you turn it upside down and remove the bottom lid. You then press gently on a little plastic compartment that contains a coloured liquid and give it a shake. Within seconds, the liquid will disappear. When that happens, turn the can right-side up, open the top lid, which is where you'll be drinking out of, and wait three minutes for a delicious cup of creamy, fragrant hot chocolate, thick and delicious.

I imagine trekkers would pack this in their backpacks before heading off to climb Mount Everest, secure in the knowledge that a comforting mug of hot chocolate is only three minutes away.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae