There are few things that hold as much mass appeal as chocolate does. This food of the gods has settled well into its position at the top of most people’s favourite food list, and has become a daily part of many of our diets. The only way you can improve chocolate – we think – is to make it drinkable.
Whichever genius came up with hot chocolate deserves more credit than they get. Transforming a solid into a liquid creates a sweet, rich, creamy drink that goes down well at just about any time of the day.
But how do you make your hot chocolate? Perhaps you heat the milk in the microwave or warm the mixture in a pan? Maybe you get someone else to make it for you on the way to work, or you – whisper it – use a sachet and water out of the kettle. Whatever way you currently make hot chocolate apparently it’s incorrect.
Sorry for giving you the facts so bluntly but we’ve all been doing it wrong for years. You see, very few of us (we’re willing to bet) have been making our hot chocolate in a Hotel Chocolat velvetiser. Yep, you’ve heard of a coffee machine and a tea kettle, but up until now there has been little attention paid to the tools we use to make out hot chocs. Enter: the velvetiser.
We’re pretty selfless when it comes to drinking gallons of warm milk and melted chocolate, so we put Hotel Chocolat’s velvetiser through its paces to bring you our honest thoughts on this winter’s must-have kitchen gadget.
Hotel Chocolat velvetiser
Buy now £99.95, Hotelchocolat.com
When it comes to chocolate we’re not going to mess about. We’re giving this superfood (hey, come on, it’s full of antioxidants) the respect it deserves and we’re testing it right.
To get the full effect of the Hotel Chocolat velvetiser, first we tried the machine with the recommended hot chocolate sachets, and next up we put regular good old Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder in for a little glow up. We hoped that going for options that sit on two ends of the scale would give us a clear insight into just how much of a difference the velvetiser can make; even with very different products.
Aside from making (and drinking) the hot chocolate, we also wanted to see how easy it was to clean, store and set up – so we looked at those factors too for a fully rounded review.
What is a velvetiser?
A velvetiser is a hot chocolate making machine, something akin to a more traditional milk frother. As far as we know Hotel Chocolat was the first brand to coin the name, but others, such as Asda (£25, Asda.com) have since made rival products.
A velvetiser works by simultaneously heating and whisking the milk and hot chocolate together to create a homogenous, silky smooth mixture with a frothy top.
There’s not much to this. It’s a plug-in-and-go sort of job. We double checked the included instructions but didn’t actually end up needing them.
You simply unwrap the velvetiser from its packaging before sitting it on its base, clicking the central whisk into place, pop on the lid, plug it in and then you’re ready to go. Before you use your machine for the first time, you’ll want to give it its initial clean, so we’ll look at that very exciting job next.
Cleaning and upkeep
The velvetiser isn’t dishwasher safe, which will always, always get us down deep in our hearts. The good news is, however, that it’s actually very easy to clean. In fact the instructions tell you to add a splodge of washing up liquid and water and switch it on. The velvetiser works it magic and cleans itself with little to no effort from yourself.
If, after a cycle, there was any residue of stuck on milk, we found that a quick rinse around with warm soapy water and a wipe with a sponge cloth was all it took to get it looking good-as-new again. This is what we did before we used it for the first time and after most subsequent sessions.
The removable whisk can go in the dishwasher, or can easily be washed by hand, and the whole machine then just needs to be dried with a soft, clean tea towel and stored away again.
How do you use the velvetiser?
This really is super simple. All you need to do to make a hot chocolate in a velvetiser is to add 100ml of milk (there’s a fill line on the inside, which roughly just covers the whisk), then follow the milk with one serving of hot chocolate powder or flakes, and turn it on. You operate it using the small black button on the base, under the handle.
It takes two and a half minutes to make up one of of Willy Wonka worth hot chocolate. For couples or for households where hot chocolate is a little treat every now and then this is ideal.
However, if you wanted to make a few cups for friends or your family this could be a bit of a drawback. And let’s be honest any time at all seems too long when you’re waiting for hot chocolate.
The elongated handle off to one side and a pouring lip makes it easy to get everything into your cup without any spills however so you won’t waste a drop.
We also wanted to see if the velvetiser could make the drink of the moment. By that we are of course referring to iced chocolates. These trendy drinks are essentially what they say on the tin – cold drinking chocolate AKA a milkshake. And good news, they can be made in your velvetiser in just a couple of steps.
First, make a hot chocolate as normal. Secondly, pour said hot chocolate over half a glass of ice and cold milk. Lastly, watch the two liquids meet in the middle in a little dance, drink and enjoy.
Can I use normal hot chocolate?
Even though the Hotel Chocolat flakes have been specially designed for the machine – and did give rich-tasting results when we put them to the test – thankfully you can use any hot chocolate in the velvetiser.
We were equally as impressed with the results of using bog standard Cadbury’s if we’re truly honest. Maybe even more so? It took something a bit regular and made it feel super special thanks to the texture the whisk creates.
What about for coffee?
Hotel Chocolat says you can’t use regular coffee in your velvetiser, but we tried whisking up plain milk and that worked perfectly. So, if you make an espresso and pour over the warm, frothed milk you’ll have a pretty snazzy barista-style coffee without having to leave the house.
Hotel Chocolat also sells latte powder packs which you can use in the same way as hot chocolate. If you’re a bit of a caffeine addict these could be a good buy.
Buy now £99.95, Hotelchocolat.com
The verdict: Hotel Chocolat velvetiser
Honestly? We loved the resulting hot chocolate from the velvetiser. It was rich and frothy and felt really luxurious. The best bit could have been that it was an even combination throughout, without those little sticky powder bits at the bottom which you usually get. You definitely take things up a notch from your standard mix of milk and powder.
However, at nearly £100 this is a pretty expensive way to get a sugar high, and there were a couple of little niggles, like it only serving one person and the handle making it slightly awkward to store, that we felt dulled the shine ever so slightly.
Niggles aside, if you prefer hot chocolate to coffee and want to make your hot drinks feel just as special as most people’s barista-made beverages, then the velvetiser is a fun and opulent way to take your fix from standard to standout. We got dangerously into whipping up a little mug in the middle of the day, and thought this would make a great present for anyone you know with a proper sweet tooth.
Its capability to also froth plain milk added an unexpected element, we thought, that could be just the excuse we’d need to splurge on this little piece of kitchen kit. Also, we loved the two little white porcelain cups that came with the set which made each drink feel like a mini experience in itself.
Now, someone pass the marshmallows please.
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