The news that Almondine Bakery on Water Street had stopped selling hot chocolate made across the street by Jacques Torres has rocked chocoholics from DUMBO to Detroit.
Almondine claims its hot chocolate is every bit as good as Torres’s, so we called in The Brooklyn Paper’s independent tasting panel. And this panel’s credentials are solid: Senior Editor Vince DiMiceli once drove cross-country subsisting solely on Snickers bars and Yoo-hoo; Dana Rubinstein graduated from Cornell University with honors, thanks to her senior thesis, “Why Cain Slew Abel: Chocolate and Bloodshed in the Bible”; Ariella Cohen was once sent out by her sorority sisters to procure a few ounces of Mayan Gold, yet came back with two bars of fancy Mexican chocolate; and Adam Rathe picked up his criminal record after cops caught him Dumpster diving outside the Cocoa Bar in Park Slope.
Of course, my own credentials should not be in question: After hearing that chocolate contains more anti-oxidants than blueberries, I demanded that my daughter’s school stop serving fresh fruit in favor of Nestles semi-sweet Toll House chips.
Kuntzman: “It’s as watery as DUMBO after a heavy rainstorm, and it has the slight, non-chocolatey aftertaste of stadium cocoa.”
DiMiceli: “Its taste kind of flutters out at the end.”
Rubinstein: “It’s a pedestrian cocoa. As subtle as a sledgehammer. And it tastes diluted.”
Cohen: “It’s too sweet, not like a grandmother, but like a Golden Retriever that you just want off you already. It has a warm milk/ Ovaltine taste. This is the kind of cocoa you get when you make it yourself.”
Rathe: “It’s a little weak and not as chocolately as I would like.”
Kuntzman: “This is like that old Nestles Quik commercials, ‘It’s rich and thick in chocolate that you can’t drink it slow.’ It coats the mouth like a mink coat. Oh boy, now I’m going to have the animal rights people after me.”
DiMiceli: “This has a much better finish and a rich taste.”
Rubinstein: “It has a nice bitterness to it, although it’s just a bit too sweet. It’s thick and creamy and has a complex flavor.”
Cohen: “I don’t want to sound like some oen-hole, but it’s velvety, with a little spicy, peppery taste. It is very rich.”
Rathe: “This is smooth and chocolately. It’s like a melted milkshake.”