Despite being a Canadian, I loathe winter. Hate everything about it. The cold, the snow, the freezing rain, the nerve-wracking driving, the practical boots, the layers, the slush ... I could go on and on.
Not being a lover of winter sports or anything else about the season, I am hard pressed to get through the deep freeze with a smile.
But I will concede that there is one silver lining. A fabulous, chocolaty silver lining: Hot Chocolate.
It's pure chocolate shavings that you can whisk with warm milk into one of the most delicious hot chocolates you'll ever taste. But, then again, it should be because it comes with a price tag that is anything but modest. It's the old adage "you get what you pay for" and it's a fair indulgence because those powdery imitations don't begin to compare.
However, the hot chocolate I now drink 99.9% of the time is not one you can make on your stove top. I first discovered Starbucks Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate while visiting a dear friend in the US this fall. I was hooked at the first sip. So hooked that I couldn't get it out of my head until we landed back in TO and I promptly went straight to a nearby Starbucks to see if was just an American phenomenon. I squealed, actually squealed, to learn that it was readily available here.
The salty name puts some folks off at first blush but once you try it, there is no turning back. I defy you to find a comparable, quality, savoury, hot chocolate anywhere. There just isn't one. And they haven't given me a single free cup encouraging me to say that to you. Although they really, really, really should since I've spent all my spare cash there weathering the winter storm.
So bottom's up my friends. Wrap both hands tightly around your mug and enjoy.