The Good: It IS inexpensive.
The Bad: Does not smell, look or taste like cocoa. Ick. Seriously, Ick.
The Basics: In no uncertain terms should anyone with any taste or desire to have hot cocoa consume this Forrelli hot cocoa rich chocolate flavor mix.
My recent trip with my wife back to her hometown in Michigan was a real series of culinary disparities. We ate at a wonderful Chinese Buffet and at the high-class restaurant she used to work at, as well as getting way too much drive-thru food at Taco Bell and Wendy's. As well, while she was out drinking to celebrate her 21st birthday with her friends, she set me up at the place we were staying with a care package with a lot of hot cocoa. In it, there were packets of Land O' Lakes Cocoa Classics, the Chocolate & Raspberry and Chocolate & Mint (reviewed here!) flavors. She wanted to keep me well-hydrated and happy as I wrote away. She also included a box of Forrelli Hot Cocoa Mix.
Forrelli Hot Cocoa Mix, claiming to have Rich Chocolate Flavor, is easily the worst beverage to have ever crossed my lips. My wife tried to do something so nice for me and it pains me to have to pan something she bought for me out of love and concern, but this beverage is foul. There is no nice way around it; it is absolutely, unredeemably, bad with no redeeming factors. It is so bad that I have an additional beverage to wash out my mouth when I take my sip to try to describe this in the "Taste" section. Honestly, my stomach is turning now as I type from the smell of this drink.
Forrelli Hot Cocoa Mix was purchased at a dollar store, so this off-brand is an eight-pack box of hot cocoa mix packets. It is the "Rich Chocolate" flavored hot cocoa mix and that appears to be the only flavor Forrelli makes. The cardboard for the box is cheap and basically, there are eight simple paper pouches in the box, much like oatmeal packets. Each packet is an ounce of hot cocoa powder.
The powder looks inoffensive enough, like any other hot cocoa powder. However, from the moment the box or packet is open, one may smell a chemical smell that is rancid. The scent is of something metallic and manufactured that is otherwise indescribable. More than smelling like chocolate, this smells like some strange chemical compound.
Ease Of Preparation
Preparing Forrelli Hot Cocoa Mix is very easy. One need simply open the packet and pour it into the 8 oz. or larger mug. Boil at least six oz. of water and when either before it boils or while it cools, pour six oz. of water over the cocoa - the water ought not to be boiling when one pours it over the powder. Then, simply stir the water and cocoa mix together to make the water into hot cocoa.
Unfortunately, that very basic theory does not hold up when it comes to Forrelli hot cocoa mix. The resulting drink does not look or smell like hot cocoa. Instead of being creamy and opaque like good or great hot chocolate (or any other hot chocolate I have encountered to date), Forrelli hot cocoa mix results in a translucent brown liquid that is the exact color of water that has been run through one of my mother's big bags of compost and sat there for about a week. This looks more like coffee than hot cocoa and that was my first clue that this was going to be a vastly inferior product to anything I had ever had in the realm of hot cocoa drinks.
The noxious vapors this beverage emits ought to have been my second clue that this was going to be a terrible experience. In its powdered form, one may press their nose to the packet and inhale deeply enough and the vague smell of chocolate might be registered. However, when mixed with water (and I used filtered water, heated in my Chef's Choice Electric Kettle - reviewed here!) and stirred in, the rich chocolate cocoa mix smells nothing like chocolate, not even a hint. Instead, it smells like metal that has been heated, with a slight rusty scent to it as well. Yes, metallic is the best way to describe the scent of the fumes that come off this beverage while it is steaming.
As it turns out, this is also the ideal way to describe the taste. Hot, this tastes like water with some heavy metal in it, like a mix of aluminum and tin. There is not a hint of chocolate flavor in it. It is, quite simply, disgusting and unappetizing.
With some products, there is subtlety and nuance. With this hot cocoa, there is none. It is vile. It tastes terrible and anyone poor enough to feel like they can only afford this hot chocolate should wait until any other brand is on sale at a store near them. Even Swiss Miss and Nestle goes on sale (at least in my area) for $.99 once a year! This, though, lacks anything that tastes like chocolate when it is hot or cold. I did, this final time I subjected myself, discover that it tastes like severely watered-down cocoa at about room temperature.
According to the packaging, this has 110 calories (it is far less if one ends up regurgitating the product) and no fat whatsoever. However, given that it is not a thirst quencher or comfort food in any way, drinking this is likely to make the consumer want to have something that is far more fattening to clean the palate. It is no surprise this tastes more like water than anything even remotely creamy, as the primary ingredients are sugar, cocoa powder, and artificial chocolate flavoring. There are 27g of carbohydrates and insignificant amounts of protein and dietary fiber.
In other words, there is nothing good or bad in this. This is not a food to live on!
Forrelli hot cocoa mix is like any other powdered drink mix in that it is very easy to clean up. Simply open the pouch, pour the powder into a cup and throw away the paper pouch. Any residue from the cocoa washes out of mugs and cups ought to wash right out. If this gets on light-colored clothes, it is likely to stain; consult a fabric guide for removal of stains.
I hesitate to discuss too much about the politics of the foods I eat, but Forrelli Hot Cocoa Mix seems to be part of the ongoing war on the poor in the United States. Yes, it is low-quality products like this, peddled at dollar stores that help keep people in their place, as opposed to fostering an economy where the poor are raised to a level where they can afford the good stuff. It is a simple equation; poor ingredients for poor products sold cheaply (though this is overpriced at a dollar a box, given the quality) make for happy poor people who do not rebel. And because it will please some of the conservatives I've recently offended with some of my magazine reviews, it is worth noting that this is labeled on the package as "Designed in USA Made in India." One shudders to think of the working conditions or health standards at a plant in India where this was made, resulting in a product whose taste is best described as "metallic."
For other hot chocolate drinks, please check out my reviews of:
Butterfinger Hot Cocoa
Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa
Land O’Lakes Chocolate Supreme
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.