Review by April Gutierrez: Established in Denver in 1920 by Carl T. Hammond Sr., Hammond’s Candies has been in continuous operation ever since, priding itself on producing quality candies using ingredients and methods that harken back to the days of its founding. Hammond’s produces a wide variety of traditional candies, from chocolate-dipped caramels to ribbon candy, candy canes, lollipops and taffy. The company also produces its own brand of hot cocoa, which Green Man obtained for me to review.
A chocolate fiend, I’m inordinately fond of chocolate in all its forms, including hot cocoa/chocolate mixes. This past winter was particularly cold and lingered far past its welcome, so I looked forward to the chance to try out a new (to me) brand of cocoa. Hammond’s hot cocoa mix comes in a 6.25 ounce tin with an old-fashioned looking label (a hallmark of all Hammond’s products, it seems). It’s touted as being “double chocolate,” so promises a rich, chocolatey taste.
Prior to preparing a cup, I opened the tin to view the mix and inhale its aroma (the best cocoa I ever received was a tin of semi-sweet chips for melting into milk: visually attractive and delightfully pungent). Unfortunately, instead of being treated to a chocolatey scent, I was overwhelmed by a cloying sweetness. A sweetness that was confirmed when I looked at the mix and checked the ingredients. First item on that list? Sugar, not chocolate.
Still, aroma is just one component in the overall hot cocoa experience, so I prepared a cup per the tin’s instructions: one heaping tablespoon per six ounces of liquid. I tend to use milk in my cocoa rather than water, since it tends to produce a richer flavor and better mouth feel. However, I’m also fond of using almond milk, since the nutty flavor plays off chocolate so well. This time I used vanilla almond milk, which has proven a very good companion to cocoa in the past. After stirring in the recommended amount of mix, I sampled the cocoa and realized I couldn’t taste any chocolate – the result was just sweet hot almond milk. Since taste is such a subjective thing, I added a second heaping tablespoon of mix to the cup and stirred thoroughly.
Unfortunately, the results were much the same: precious little chocolate flavor and an overwhelming sense of sugary sweetness. For my tastes, it wasn’t drinkable at all. I considered remaking the cocoa with water, or obtaining some skim milk, but given the aroma and taste of this particular experience, I didn’t hold out much hope that the results would be any less sweet or any more chocolatey. So I left it at that.
Compared to the Gourmet du Village hot chocolate mixes I reviewed previously, which were rich and chocolatey, Hammond’s Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa was quite the disappointment. They may do candy very well, but this mix falls very short for fans of high quality cocoa. Might as well grab some Swiss Miss or Nesquik from your local grocery story rather than plunk down almost $7 for this tin.
More info about Hammond’s and their product line can be found at the link.
April Gutierrez, Japanese fan. A Green Man Review reviewer. A life-long lover of chocolate and felines, she indulges in the former frequently and shares her abode with a rather spoiled specimen of the latter. She can most commonly be found with her nose buried in a book, a cup of good tea in hand and Japanese pop music playing in the background.