We Finally Got Our Hands on the Chocnut Drink Mix, But It Seems to be Missing SomethingNovember 23, 2017
- Patricia BaesWords
Some of our best food discoveries have been delivered via social media and word-of-mouth, and just a few months back (through a viral Facebook post), we’d been alerted about a certain “milk chocolate drink mix” from long-time local candy brand Chocnut. We’re fans of Chocnut’s signature chocolate-peanut taste and can imagine how good it’d be in a warm, sippable form, but how would this mix fare?
Within each packet is a dark brown dry mixture with visible granules of sugar sparkling against the ashy cocoa, and there’s a deep, chocolatey aroma that emanates as you pour the mix into a cup. With 180 ml of hot water stirred in (as the instructions dictate), you get a dark-brown beverage with a slightly ashy tone to it, but which looks much deeper in color than actual Chocnut candy. As we sip, we’re hit with a mild, milky sweetness; and while the cocoa used is a little flat and dusky, it delivers on the chocolate component in a relatively darker dose than what you’d get from straight-up Chocnut candies. And though on the thin, watery side (at least when prepared with water, as the instructions on the packet dictate), the drink nonetheless feels smooth on the tongue. So far it’s just about as you’d expect for a cheap chocolate drink—but there seems to be something missing, and it fails to capture the essence of the classic chocolate-peanut candy.
Peeking into the list reveals the culprit. While it contains much of what you’d expect from a pre-packaged hot chocolate mix (sugar, cocoa powder, non-dairy creamer, milk solids, and a few questionable but unsurprising components such as “anti-caking agent”, “artificial flavors”, and the like), it lacks one crucial ingredient to provide the full Chocnut experience: the peanuts. Perhaps this was done to keep the resulting drink silky-smooth as it does turn out to be, as ground peanuts can be difficult to dissolve in water (try crushing up a Chocnut bar and mixing it with hot water to see what we mean). Yet it’s sad, because peanuts aren’t just any old ingredient in this context, but are in fact crucial to the local candy’s signature taste. The name “Choc-nut” is self-explanatory; you just can’t do without the peanut part if you’re looking to bequeath something the classic candy’s moniker.
To be fair, it technically stays true to its claim of being a “milk chocolate drink mix” as the packaging dictates; in fact it’s darker than expected and doesn’t taste too sweet. What confuses us, rather, is the use of the Chocnut label in peddling this drink to the public. Enjoy it for what it is—but until it can be given it the idiosyncratic, nutty-chocolatey soul that it deserves, please don’t call it Chocnut hot chocolate.