Harvest season for hot chocolatiers is upon us. The cold spell that hit Dublin last week encouraged me to wrap up and sip up, as I set off to test some of the hot chocolate on offer in the Trinity vicinity. Snazzy flavours, toppings and seasonal paper cups aren’t difficult to come by, but the question remains: whose hot chocolate is to die for?
As much a part of campus life as the water fountain in the Arts Block, I felt compelled to glug a large mug of the eatery’s hot choc. The size of a small bowl of soup, it proved good value at €3.40. All of their hot beverages are accompanied by a Terry’s mint chocolate, which enhances the experience as a whole. Unfortunately, it was a downward spiral from there. Lemon’s hot chocolate is nice enough, but it lacks that ‘wow’ factor and was a bit bland overall. It looked a bit grainy, there was too much foam, and the chocolate at the bottom of the cup was a bit disappointing. I felt the amount of marshmallows provided could have been upped slightly – but they were free so who’s counting?
Butler’s Chocolate Café
I’m a big fan of Butler’s and trotted contentedly up to the top of Grafton Street for this promising beverage. Their staff were friendly and the hot chocolate was prepared promptly. The Butler’s draw, a free chocolate of your choice, didn’t disappoint. I opted for a praline chocolate, perfect for dipping indulgently into your cup of milky heaven. The total cost came to €3.80, which seemed quite reasonable considering the addition of the chocolate sweet. It was delicious, the only downside being that the milk could have been slightly hotter. It was a good-sized cup as well – a nice reward for spending approximately 15 minutes in the library charging my phone.
Although Capel Street isn’t a stone’s throw from Trinity, it seemed necessary to test the chocolatey waters of this renowned café. Chums in tow, we set off on a cocoa-charged quest to discover if Brother Hubbard’s hot chocolate was really as amazing as we’d heard.
The verdict was mixed. The price of €3.75 seemed acceptable for hot chocolate stylishly presented in two separate containers – a jug full of steaming milk and a cup of dark chocolate ganache. However, my fussy friends claimed it wasn’t sweet enough, and that ultimately, it didn’t live up to the hype. It tasted much like a liquid brownie and the temperature of the generous jug of lovely foamy milk was just right. It was a great experience and a very nice hot chocolate though to be honest, I’ve had better. It’s also worth mentioning that there were no marshmallows. None.
I tend to avoid Costa as I’m of the firm opinion that they are an overpriced, generic establishment .That being said, the launch of one of their new seasonal hot chocolate, the Lindt Hot Chocolate, was the perfect opportunity to hop on the Costa carousel once more. Accompanied by a staunch Costa-loving pal, we swept grandly into the Dame Street branch and ordered two different drinks in order to compare adequately. I inquired as to the size of the Lindt drink (having been confused by the word ‘cortado’) and was told with a smile that I’d be ‘surprised’.
The cup was tiny! It appeared more suited to meeting the hot chocolate requirements of a mouse. It was with dismay that I handed over a steep €3.95. The beverage itself tasted luscious, extremely chocolatey indeed. It was creamy and slid down the throat with ease. Still, my friend and I swapped drinks to try out the different types, and we both agreed that my hot chocolate was not particularly distinguishable. You wouldn’t really know that it was Lindt unless someone told you. Marshmallows and cream cost extra, a undisguised instance of daylight robbery. The best bit about this hot chocolate? The robin on the minuscule paper cup in which it has the audacity to be served.
For more than three years, Insomnia have enticed me with their impressive elixir of hot chocolate. I was afraid, perhaps almost certain, that I’d find a better one on my venture to try out some others, but there’s something about the their cup of chocolate heaven that can’t be beaten. At €3.20, this hot chocolcate is reasonably priced and there are good deals which allow you to gorge on a budget, perfect for that chocolate-deprived student on a budget. It’s creamy, topped with a decent amount of mini marshmallows and garnished with little chocolate flakes. The chocolate dregs at the bottom of the cup are the perfect conclusion to this wintry wonder and it’s not too sickly sweet either. My only fault would be that the milk gets a little cold rather quickly, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider the overall benefit of such a mug of goodness. Insomnia is the clear winner.