The Good: Tastes good, Comparatively inexpensive
The Bad: Environmentally irresponsible packaging, Not the most robust flavor
The Basics: Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection French Vanilla cocoa is very much not what vanilla fans will fall in love with.
Swiss Miss Cocoa is one of the standard hot chocolate mixes in the United States. I generally like their premium products, though I find their standard milk chocolate cocoas to be a baseline product as opposed to any sort of superlative beverage. My wife loves french vanilla flavored drinks and so I picked up the Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection French Vanilla cocoa to please her and I have been drinking it whenever she lets me have a packet. Recently, I have tried Land O' Lakes Arctic White (reviewed here!) which I enjoyed and the same company's French Vanilla & Chocolate (reviewed here!), which left me less impressed. I think with the Indulgent Collection French Vanilla, I was hoping to find a less expensive version of a cocoa that was closer to the Arctic White. That didn't happen.
The Indulgent Collection of Swiss Miss hot chocolates seems to be Swiss Miss's excuse to charge more for hot cocoa as the boxes tend to contain two to four fewer packages of cocoa for the same price or about fifty cents more. In the case of French Vanilla, Swiss Miss left me unimpressed and I couldn't honestly recommend the package with only eight packets. And, as always, I would prefer a more environmentally responsible package.
Swiss Miss French Vanilla mix is a hot chocolate mix put out by Swiss Miss as part of their premium Indulgent Collection line. The box of hot cocoa packets is a pretty standard eight oz. box, containing eight one ounce packets of hot cocoa. Trading on the flavor of french vanilla, as opposed to the usual chocolate, Swiss Miss created a surprisingly bland hot drink. When hot water or milk is combined with the powder, it makes a very bland drink that does not become more flavorful as it cools.
Ease Of Preparation
Swiss Miss French Vanilla mix is very easy to prepare, as most hot cocoa products are. Because each packet in the box is a single serving, one need only have a mug large enough to accommodate the powdered mix and some water with a little room for mixing it around. Because the powder has some mass to it before it is dissolved, I recommend using an 8 oz. mug.
Preparation is simple; empty the contents of a single packet from the box of eight into an eight ounce mug. Bring a pot of water to a near-boil - the French Vanilla does not require boiling water, just very hot water. Boiling the water does not cook the powder, so if one does boil the water, there is no adverse consequence to the beverage. Once the water is hot, simply pour six fluid ounces of water over the powder and stir it up. It is simple to transform the powder into a delicious beverage.
Swiss Miss French Vanilla smells exactly like what it is supposed, vanilla. The aroma is distinctive, with no hint of chocolate. The scent is vanilla, pure and simple.
The Indulgent Collection French Vanilla tastes good, but surprisingly bland. The best vanilla cocoas that I have had have had a sweetness to them that this beverage lacks. Instead, it is milky with a very dry taste and aftertaste. As a result, the drink is unsatisfying and not at all a thirst quencher. In fact, it is more bland than in any way "indulgent." The vanilla flavor is present but very mild.
Made with milk instead of water, the milk overwhelms the vanilla flavor and I used skim milk!
Swiss Miss French Vanilla is a vanilla drink which pretty much defines the muted flavor of vanilla, but any expectation that this is a beverage that is going to meet a lot of one's daily needs is fairly unrealistic. Still, there are worse beverages out on the market. One serving - a single packet - has 115 calories, fifteen of which are from fat. With one and a half grams of fat, this drink is not a bad beverage choice for dieters. This French Vanilla hot cocoa has no cholesterol or any vitamin or mineral nutrients, outside calcium (which it has an impressive 30% of the RDA!), but it does have 180 mg of sodium. This is not a food to try to live off of.
It is hardly a surprise that Swiss Miss French Vanilla is not a nutritious food product considering that the primary ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, and nonfat milk. For those with allergies, it is noted on the package that the powder contains milk and there is no notation that this is gluten-free or kosher. It is not Vegan-compliant, obviously.
Swiss Miss French Vanilla mix is ridiculously easy to store and clean up. Because the packets are individual servings and self-contained, as long as one does not store the packets in a wet environment, they will last. My box of cocoa, purchased in late September 2011, has an expiration date in August 2012, but it is hard to imagine this would not last past the expiration date so long as the packets inside are kept cool and dry.
Cleaning up Swiss Miss French Vanilla mix is easy, as it is a powder which may be easily brushed up. If one spills it after it is mixed with water, it is highly likely to stain lighter fabrics and one ought to consult one's fabric guide for cleaning if that happens. Mugs, though, clean right out with hot water as this fluid does not stain ceramics.
Swiss Miss French Vanilla is inexpensive and while it is not bad, it does not have much to recommend it. It is far too bland and given how many good, affordable hot cocoa drinks there are on the market now, it is impossible to recommend one that is not as flavorful as others.
For other Swiss Miss reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Dark Chocolate Sensation
Milk Chocolate With Marshmallows
Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa
For other food reviews, please visit my index page!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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