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I'm not thrilled about the arrival of winter, but I must admit that I do look forward to hot chocolate season. I'm a huge fan of Mariebelle's Aztec Hot Chocolate, but that stuff runs $20 for a 12 ounce tin, so it's more of a special gift than a frequent indulgence. I'm determined to find some other options that satisfy my cocoa craving for a bit less cash.

Whole Foods sent us a sample of Allegro Coffee Company's Indian Spice Drinking Chocolate to try, and I was eager to see how it stacked up. This blend is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. They also make a few unflavored options, and a Mayan Spice version with chilis, allspice, and black pepper.

On first sip the chai spices in the Indian Spice 54 are delicate and mild, nearly disappearing into the chocolate flavor until you look for them. The chocolate itself tastes more medium than dark—this isn't the intense velvety melted-chocolate-bars drinking chocolate you might expect from the package, but the mix does make a tasty, subtly spiced cup of cocoa that isn't at all oversweetened. (This makes sense—the hints of ginger and cardamom are definitely going to appeal more to adults than to kids who'd want it sweeter.) It's a nice afternoon cocoa, but it won't please those looking for an immersive dark chocolate experience.

You're not paying for a fancy tin, but that also means that there's nothing to store it in—the cocoa comes loose in plastic sleeve—once open, you'll want to put it into something or clip it closed, which isn't ideal.

Have you tried Allegro's Indian Spice or other drinking chocolate flavors? Do you like them?

About $10 for 7.5 ounces, sample provided for review.


About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks and coeditor of Serious Eats: Sweets. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.

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