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12 December 2023

Color and taste: how to tell real wasabi from fake

By dailymeal

In the colder months, especially during the frigid holiday season, many people turn to hot chocolate to keep themselves warm. The hot liquid actually helps warm one's body thanks to slightly heating up the core. However, if you want to heat up your tongue as well, then you should try the spicy combination that is wasabi hot chocolate.

At first glance, wasabi and chocolate look like they belong to different worlds. As many know, wasabi is a Japanese condiment that is akin to a spicy horseradish sauce. Green in color, it's typically served with seafood like sushi. Real wasabi comes from an actual wasabi plant, but there are fake variants out there as well that mix horseradish with additives to create an imitation. Alternatively, chocolate has existed in the realm of sweets and desserts, forming the creamy basis for many recipes, whether it be the more bitter dark chocolate or sweeter milk chocolate. However, chocolate is more versatile than that and can even be used to bring out the richness of meats.

As far as flavor, wasabi hot chocolate combines the richness and decadence of chocolate with the sharpness and heat of wasabi. Wasabi gives the mixture a slightly bitter taste that cuts through the sweetness of the chocolate. However, it's worth noting that in most variations the wasabi flavoring isn't as strong as you might be used to, mellowed by the chocolate. The drink should indeed have a bit of a kick though.
While the idea of wasabi hot chocolate is a bit niche, many do enjoy a spicier take on hot chocolate. Take Mexican hot chocolate for instance, which combines chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne pepper to give the drink a kick. It's not difficult to find, however, when it comes to wasabi hot chocolate, it can be a bit of a struggle to actually get your hands on the mixture.

Wasabi hot chocolate hasn't quite caught on with mainstream hot cocoa drinkers just yet. You're unlikely to find wasabi-flavored hot chocolate at your local Aldi or Walmart, but there are a couple of brands online if you're looking for a convenient pre-packaged option. One London-based company, Ceremony, sells an herbal take on wasabi hot chocolate that also features lime, chili, and ginkgo biloba.

Chocwasabi offers another pre-packaged option but appears to be sold out online as of the time of publication. The brand (via Zulily) warns fans that its product "isn't for the faint of heart," promising a mixture that's both a bit sweet and a bit spicy. If you want to try wasabi-flavored hot chocolate, your best bet may be creating it yourself at home. You can always melt normal chocolate and combine it with wasabi, but you can also find wasabi-infused chocolate that you can melt for your hot chocolate, as well.

Wasabi Hot Chocolate Hasn't Spread To The Masses (Yet)
If you're looking for reviews of wasabi hot chocolate, then unfortunately, you won't find much online -- not even a viral YouTube video. Someone has to be first, so perhaps this is your chance to share your thoughts on the drink with the world.

Fortunately, we're able to glean how wasabi hot chocolate may fare by taking a look at wasabi chocolate reviews. After all, the only difference is one is hot and drinkable, and the other one you bite into. One review of Lindt's wasabi chocolate read, "The chocolate begins to melt and that slightly earthy, mustardy flavor creeps in to mingle with the dark cacao notes." Wasabi Kit-Kats are also popular Japanese treats that fuse wasabi and chocolate together. However, in this case, some reviewers found that the chocolate overpowers the wasabi, claiming, "for a proper 'wasabi hit' look elsewhere."

The type of chocolate you use also matters. Dark chocolate should give a bitter, richer taste that pairs with the spicy overtones and sharpness of the wasabi. Milk chocolate creates a creamy, sweet heat when paired with wasabi. While not a lot of people have tried wasabi hot chocolate, many people appear intrigued. On an Instagram post featuring the beverage, one person wrote, "What a cool hot chocolate flavor," while another stated, "That is one interesting combo." Clearly, if you like a little bit of sweetness with a little bit of spice, wasabi hot chocolate could be the next big thing for you to whip up