Drink hot chocolate and save the planet!

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I consider myself a pretty low consumer of hot drinks, compared to many people who head along to cafés one, two or three times a day for their fix.  I often arrive and then remember that I have forgotten my KeepCup, or it is a spur of the moment decision, and carrying a KeepCup around all the time is not overly practical (for me, anyway).  But a recent initiative has started to change all of this…where you can do something positive for the environment (with minimal effort) and save yourself some coin.  Now you want to know more, don’t you?

Responsible Cafes is asking cafés to consider offering a 20 cent reduction (or more) in cost to the buyer (us!) of hot drinks – providing the customer has a reusable cups.  And we all have a few of those kicking around!  Keep one in the car, in the office, at school, wherever you might find yourself in need of coffee or chocolate.  Some cafés have gone as far as not stocking disposable cups, so unless you have heat-proof and webbed hands, carry your cup!

But why is this important?  Are cafés trying to save money on cups?  Is this good for the environment?  Can you really make a difference?  The answer to all of these questions is yes!  Yes, cafés can save money (and passing that saving onto you – some are offering 50 cents and more off each drink!).  Yes, this is great for the environment (3 billion of these little babies end up in landfill, in parks, in waterways and all over our beaches each year!).  Yes, you can really help – think of how many cups you use a week, a month, a year!  And most cannot be recycled.  Sheesh.

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So look out for the funky Responsible Cafes poster, or click here for a list of participating cafés in your area, and support these businesses who are supporting you and the planet.  Your coffee, hot chocolate or tea will taste so much better. And if your favourite café is not on the list, ask them if they would like to get involved 🙂

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Images sourced from: Instagram/responsiblecafes & responsiblecafes.com.au

Home-style hot chocolate: I need your tips

Now the weather is starting to warm up (earlier this year which will cut hot chocolate season short), I will feel less inclined to zip around every café I see for hot chocolate 😦 So, I thought this would be a good time of year (thinking of the cool spring nights) to ‘test drive’ some hot chocolate that can be made at home 🙂

So, what is your favourite hot chocolate to drink at home?

I have good supply of Mörk 85% Even Darker at home (the only place I have found that stock this in Hobart is Norman & Dann). Mörk also make 70% Original Dark, 65% Dark Milk & River Salt and 50% Junior Dark (I am pretty sure you can get all of these at Norman & Dann).

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Recently, I picked up some Coal River Farm dark hot chocolate and have started experimenting at home with this. I plan to try this with some ginger to hopefully achieve a nice ginger hot chocolate (once I get the balance right).

Coal River

So, rather than try out just these two so I can provide a comparison across taste and price ranges, send me some tips on which brands/styles of hot chocolate you make at home or want me to have a go at creating 🙂 I will happily share all (successful) recipes.

100th blog post – toot toot!

100th blog post

It seems to have taken no time at all to reach 100 posts – but it does make me feel queasy thinking back to all of the éclairs and hot chocolates I have sampled 😦 Thanks everyone who has provided café tips, been patient while I took photos of my drinks (and trying not to be one of those ‘annoying food picture people’!), and

Here’s to another 100 posts with more chocolately, frothy goodness 🙂

*yes, that is cocoa in the picture, and yes, I was supposed to be doing other things…!

A teasingly good brew

Tease

This post is a slight departure from my normal café reviews of hot chocolate. But it is about hot chocolate nonetheless. Earlier this week it was time for my 6-weekly visit to Tease Hair and Spa to see the lovely Ben (Ben: that’s another $5 on my next hair cut). I had stopped by Next Door on my way, but it was closed. I was a bit disappointed (I caught up with them the next day), so Ben offered to make me a hot chocolate. It was billed initially as the ‘best hot chocolate you will ever have’, and was slowly downgraded to ‘probably not the best, but quite good’. This was a rare crisis of confidence for Ben.

After snipping away my hair for a while, and us both forgetting the promised hot chocolate, Ben remembered, downed tools and went to make my drink. I am not sure what I was expecting really, but when he bought it out, it looked quite professional and good. I said as much to which Ben, who seemingly regaining his confidence, rattled off all the places he has worked where making good drinks was a requirement. OK. So he cuts hair very well, breeds great lamb (I have a freezer full), is knowledgeable about food, and it turns out, can make good hot chocolate. Some people.

I am not quite sure that you can walk in off the street for one of these hot chocolates, but hey, it can’t hurt to ask. Tell Ben I sent you – it will likely cost you more.

Tease Hair & Spa

Winter is coming…

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…or so they say multiple times an episode in Game of Thrones! But it really is coming soon and I need to start getting ready so I am adequately prepared for both winter and hot chocolates. I found this ‘lovely’ jumper online…are there any knitters out there (hello, Karen!) who would like a project to take on? I cannot knit straight lines to save myself, but imagine how fantastic I would look in this?! Now, if it had a hood…

Mythbusting advice to get you and your hot chocolate addiction through winter

hot choc for winter article
I was reading a health and wellbeing newsletter last week (it just makes me feel fitter and healthier reading it!), and there was quite a scathing article about hot chocolate…well, hot winter drinks in general.

However, the article offered some ‘useful’ tips (read: bits to make you feel bad when you are just trying to keep warm in winter, but are then made to feel like the most horrible person on the planet because heaven forbid, you like hot drinks when it’s 8 degrees outside).

Anyway, some of the really (no so) great advice got me thinking about what it would read like if I had written this. So here goes…

Serious article (SA): Order a small skim latte – it is one of your three serves of dairy for the day.

Hayley article (HA): Order a large hot chocolate and skip the coffee (see, instantly better – avoiding coffee!). It is probably equivalent to two serves of dairy plus it contains cocoa which is from beans, so that equates to one serve of fruit as well. Since cocoa beans are the fruit of the cacao tree…

SA: Go low fat.

HA: This sentence would not exist. Ever. Why do you need to worry about fat? Seriously, it’s a treat. Killjoys.

SA: Avoid creamy toppings or syrup – they add extra energy to drinks.

HA: Add extra creamy bits and sweet goodness to your hot chocolate. Extra energy is just what you need in winter (…it seems so obvious).

SA: Use less chocolate and have half strength hot chocolates.

HA: Asking for half strength hot chocolate completely defeats the point and beggars belief as to why you are even in the café. The only way to have a hot chocolate, is to ask for it extra strong. They are never strong enough. In fact, since we have established that cocoa is a fruit, more chocolate would equal two serves of your daily fruit intake. It makes sense.

SA: Choose water for hot chocolate in place of milk.

HA: (shaking head at the complete sacrilege of this article – do these people even drink hot chocolate?) NEVER use water instead of milk. People will look at you weirdly. They really will. And it is because you are. You are missing out on your daily dairy intake here. That is not a healthy thing to do. I can only see water as an option if you are lactose intolerant. And even then it would be best just to drink water, because hot chocolate with water will always, always only be one step off dishwater. Fact.

SA: Avoid powdered sachet drinks.

HA: Avoid powdered sachet drinks. They are nasty. To prove this, boil cardboard and add to water and then compare with sachet mix. Enough said (and by some miracle I agree with the other article!).

SA: Drink herbal tea.

HA: Drink herbal tea if you run out of hot chocolate. Then and only then.