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Which? Best Hot Chocolate for Christmas 2023

Which? magazine conducted a taste test of premium hot chocolates to find the best options for Christmas 2023. They tested 10 premium products from various brands, including Hotel Chocolat, Knoops, M&S, and Whittard. The focus was on products with 70% cocoa solids, either flakes or ground chocolate.

Unveiling the Best Hot Chocolates for Christmas 2023

As Christmas nears, the search for the perfect hot chocolate becomes a festive priority.

Which? conducted a blind taste test with a panel of hot chocolate enthusiasts, sampling 10 premium brands including Hotel Chocolat, Knoops, M&S, and Whittard.

Their findings revealed three exceptional choices, highlighting a surprisingly affordable yet luxurious option from M&S that surpassed its pricier counterparts.

While some high-end brands didn’t live up to the hype, their guide will steer you clear of disappointment and towards the most delightful hot chocolates for this holiday season.

Best Luxury Hot Chocolate to Buy

Knoops hot chocolate tubes - close up

Knoops 70% Extra Dark Hot Chocolate Flakes (Best Buy)

Priced at £10.95 for 250g, this vegan-friendly option was highly rated for its flavour, aroma, and mouthfeel. It was considered ideal for those who prefer a rich cocoa flavour. (Knoops)

I’m a big fan of Knoops and have enjoyed their chocolate drinks both in-store and at home and heartily recommend them to anyone wanting to indulge in some truly luxurious hot chocolate.

M&S Belgian 70% Dark Hot Chocolate Flakes (Best Buy and Great Value)

At £4.50 for 250g, this was the most affordable and scored high for its delicious flavour and creamy mouthfeel. It’s a great choice for those seeking luxury taste without a high price tag. (In-store)

I’ve not tried this one and despite my best efforts over the weekend, my local M&S Foodhall didn’t seem to have any in stock. At that price though, I’m not surprised

Bullion 70% Dark Ecuador Hot Chocolate (Best Buy)

Priced at £12.50 for 250g, this single-origin hot chocolate was praised for its rich chocolatey flavour and appearance. (Bullion)

Bullion is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a while but haven’t got around to yet.

Other Brands Hot Chocolates Compared

Kokoa single origin hot chocolate

Other brands like Hotel Chocolat, Cartwright & Butler, Harry’s, Whittard, Kokoa Collection, Pump Street, and Chococo were also tested but scored lower overall.

Here’s a comparison table for the other brands of hot chocolate:

Brand & Product NameScorePrice & QuantityKey Notes
Hotel Chocolat Classic 70% Hot Chocolate73%£8.50 for 250gWell-balanced in sweetness and bitterness, good texture and flavour.
Cartwright & Butler Dark Chocolate Drinking Chocolate69%£12 for 250gGood appearance and creaminess, but flavour considered too weak; highest sugar content.
Harry’s 70% ‘The Dark One’ Hot Chocolate66%£8.65 for 300gGood mouthfeel, but flavour too strong and bitter for some; suits those who prefer dark cocoa flavour.
Whittard 70% Cocoa Hot Chocolate66%£10 for 300gRated well on appearance and aroma, but flavour lacked sweetness and was overly bitter.
Kokoa Collection 70% Classic Hot Chocolate63%£7 for 210gFlavour too weak and lacking sweetness, not creamy enough.
Pump Street 70% Bali Drinking Chocolate63%£13.95 for 200gMost expensive and one of the lowest-scoring; creaminess lacking, flavour too bitter.
Chococo 70% Madagascar origin Hot Chocolate Flakes61%£9.50 for 200gConsidered too bitter by more than half of the tasters.

This table provides a quick overview of each brand’s hot chocolate product, their score in the taste test, pricing, and some key characteristics noted during the testing.

The Classic 70% Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate is one of my staples thanks to having stores nearby and a good selection on offer.

I’d also agree with the tester evaluation of Harry’s. Despite being one of those people who prefer a dark cocoa flavour, I also found this one a little too bitter.

I’d also have to agree with them on Kokoa. Even when I use 3 of their chocolate tablets in my drink, I’ve started adding a little cocoa powder as well to get the richer taste I’m after.

How the Hot Chocolate Was Tested

  • Testing Date: November 2023.
  • Panel: Large group of UK adults who are regular consumers of dark hot chocolate.
  • Number of Testers: 74 people.
  • Preparation: Hot chocolates made according to pack instructions, using semi-skimmed milk, heated uniformly.
  • Criteria: Rated on taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and appearance.
  • Methodology: Blind testing to ensure unbiased results, with a rotated order of sampling.

Scoring: Overall score based on a weighted combination of the criteria, with a strong emphasis on flavour.

  • 50% flavour
  • 20% aroma
  • 15% mouthfeel
  • 15% appearance

Key Takeaways

  • Value for Money: M&S’s Belgian 70% Dark Hot Chocolate Flakes stand out as both high-quality and affordable.
  • Luxury Choice: Knoops and Bullion are excellent choices for those seeking a luxurious hot chocolate experience.
  • Taste Preferences: The best hot chocolate depends on individual preferences for sweetness, bitterness, and creaminess.
Hot Chocolate World author
Andrew Lowry

Hi, I’m Andrew and I like hot chocolate. Given the nature of this blog, that’s probably not surprising though.

I don’t drink coffee or tea (except a bit of green tea occasionally) so my hot drink options are limited.

I’m a champion of good-quality hot chocolate and want to see and learn more about it, so join me and let’s learn together.

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