When it comes to hot chocolate makers, Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser has got to be one of the most popular products on the market. Its sleek design, simple one-button functionality and link to Hotel Chocolat’s luxury high street stores all make it a highly desirable bit of kit.
Put simply, if you consider yourself something of a hot chocolate connoisseur, it’s probably either on your wish list or already in your kitchen. So, here’s our honest review of the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser.
Firstly, it’s worth saying that the Velvetiser isn’t really a substitute for your average café hot choc. It takes just two ingredients – grated premium chocolate and your choice of milk – and creates a rich, silky-smooth drink with a high-quality feel. There’s no need for added sugar, syrups, marshmallows or whipped cream, which all seem a little unnecessary once you’ve poured out your expertly blended beverage.
In fact, Hotel Chocolat’s huge selection of flavours is one of the Velvetiser’s biggest plus points. The ‘plain’ pouches alone range from 45% cacao all the way up to 100% for intense flavour. But you’ve also got options like hazelnut and mint, as well as specialist combinations like ‘Mayan chilli and cinnamon’ and even seasonal versions such as ‘mince pie’.
No matter which pouch you choose, the depth of flavour and sheer luxuriousness you’ll get isn’t something you find in every café, which is why I believe the Velvetiser earns its fairly hefty price tag. It does come in at just under £100, and you’ll need to buy the chocolate refill pouches, too – but there are ways to reduce the cost. If you’re willing to wait, you can find discounts on the Velvetiser throughout the year. And you can buy two 250g chocolate pouches for £15 to get the price per drink down to roughly £1 (plus milk), a fraction of the cost of your average café cuppa.
I decided to opt into a subscription of the 70% cacao double pouch, which arrives in a recyclable cardboard box. You can choose the frequency of your deliveries, between one and three months, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the brand’s customer service. When one of my two pouches arrived damaged, Hotel Chocolat quickly sent out two more as a replacement.
When my pouches have run low, I’ve had fun experimenting with grated chocolate from other brands and even grating bars myself, although Hotel Chocolat recommends you stick with its own refills.
I’ve also found the Velvetiser works well with different kinds of plant-based milk, but I always get the thickest, creamiest hot chocolate when I use cow’s milk.
I’ll admit – and I’m scrabbling for negatives here – cleaning the Velvetiser can be a bit of a pain. If you leave the washing up till later – all too easy with a steaming hot chocolate ready at your fingertips – residue dries inside the whisk element, making it hard to clean without risking damaging it.
I couldn’t finish this review without giving a mention to the pod cups, which come with the Velvetiser bundle. While they might seem fairly unremarkable, I was surprised by how big a difference they made to my enjoyment of the hot chocolate. The cup’s raised scallop design lets you sip your drink without it burning you or slipping out of your hands. Plus, the thin rim somehow seems to improve the flavour and drinking experience – perhaps in the same way people prefer to sip tea from a china cup.
Buying a Velvetiser
When you buy the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser, you get a choice of four colours: white, matt charcoal, platinum and the glowing copper edition. Whichever you choose, you’ll get two complementary pod cups and the power to create velvety-smooth hot chocolate in just two and a half minutes.
The included warranty is a definite bonus when you get your Velvetiser. You have to activate it yourself, but you’ll get a year of parts and labour cover, plus three packs of unusual – but tasty – dunking biscuits designed for ‘velvetised’ hot chocolates. As well as those perks, you’ll also get automatic entry into a monthly draw to win one of 11 goodies. Top prize? An all-expenses-paid holiday at Hotel Chocolat’s 140-acre Saint Lucian Estate where it grows its cocoa – don’t mind if I do.