The best hot chocolate gift set

Brussels-based Godiva Chocolatier has been around since 1926, and the brand has more than 600 retail shops all over the world.
Brussels-based Godiva Chocolatier has been around since 1926, and the brand has more than 600 retail shops all over the world. (BestReviews)

Who makes the best hot chocolate gift set?

There’s nothing quite like a nice mug of hot chocolate on a snowy winter day, which is what makes a hot cocoa gift set perfect for the chocolate lover in your life. The internet is full of gift sets that range from fancy gourmet options aimed at connoisseurs to brightly-colored cocoa bombs for kids.

The best choice in this category is the Godiva Holiday Gift Box, which offers delicious flavors of cocoa from one of the most famous names in chocolate and comes in an attractive package that's bound to impress your recipient. Before settling on a hot chocolate gift set, make sure you understand the differences between the varieties so you can purchase the right set for the occasion.


What to know before you buy a hot chocolate gift set

Hot chocolate with water vs. milk

It's important to check the ingredients list to ensure you're buying something your loved one can actually enjoy. Some hot chocolate mixes are better prepared with milk rather than hot water, and some already contain milk, a no-go for vegans and the lactose intolerant. If your intended recipient is not able to enjoy dairy products, don't worry, as there are many other fine gift baskets with a variety of foodstuffs for all sorts of occasions.

Hot chocolate powders vs. bombs

The days of hot chocolate appearing only as a boring powder are long gone. While the traditional packets or big tins of powder are still around, your options now also include dense chocolate “bombs,” hot chocolate spoons and even small, popsicle-like bars. All three will melt dramatically in hot water or milk; while the final product they yield is the same, they can be a fun experience for kids and adults alike.


Hot chocolate K-cups

There are some hot chocolate gift sets that come in K-cup form, though not too many. Gifting one of these sets is a great way to give a loved one access to on-the-go hot chocolate with the push of a button. What a time to be alive!

Hot chocolate gift set features

Mugs for hot chocolate

Many hot chocolate gift sets include mugs with festive designs to remind the recipient of the holidays (and your generosity) long after they’ve run out of the initial run of cocoa. The downside to these sets is that they often only contain one or two servings of cocoa, meaning they’re really mug sets and not hot chocolate sets. You might as well find a proper hot cocoa set and buy a themed mug separately so you can give your friend the best of both worlds.

Hot chocolate flavor varieties

Quality isn’t the only thing people look for in hot chocolate; there’s also variety, and generally speaking, the greater the number of flavors a gift set has, the more impressive it will be. Salted caramel and mint chocolate are one thing, but when you surprise loved ones with a set containing butterscotch and amaretto flavors, they’ll be really impressed that you went to so much trouble.

Hot chocolate gift sets with colorful packaging

There are plenty of hot chocolate gift sets that come in beautiful holiday-themed packaging, from colorful tins to bow-topped boxes. Unfortunately, many of these fancier-looking sets often come with the least amount of hot chocolate. If looks don’t matter or you’re willing to doll up the contents yourself, you can go for a less-expensive set that contains more hot chocolate, or continue to shop around for that perfect set that balances form and function.

Hot chocolate gift set cost 

The prices of these sets vary depending on whether they include mugs and how many packets of cocoa are inside. There are plenty of sets in the $10-$20 range, and some gourmet options with a wealth of flavors may cost you a bit more, but not too much more. If you’re spending more than $50, you’d better be getting multiple mugs and a lot of extras in addition to your cocoa.

Hot chocolate gift set FAQ

Can hot chocolate go bad?

A. Though it's generally non-refrigerated, hot chocolate does have a limited shelf life and should have a sell-by or use-by date on the box. Powders will typically last much longer than bombs or bars, so be sure to check for dairy content in the ingredients before putting it under the tree.

Is hot chocolate bad for dogs?

A. Most types of chocolate are poisonous for dogs because they contain ingredients that dogs' digestive systems are unable to metabolize. If your dog consumes hot chocolate, even with its low chocolate content, you should consult a veterinarian.

Which hot chocolate gift set should I get?

Best of the best hot chocolate gift set

Godiva Holiday Gift Box: available at Amazon and Macy's

Our take: Belgian chocolatier Godiva is known around the world for its delicious chocolate, and you'll see why when you sample these three rich flavors: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and dark chocolate peppermint arranged neatly in an attractive red box.

What we like: Each cocoa comes in a reusable tin with a festive design. The hot chocolate can be made with either water or milk. There are 5 servings of each or 15 servings total.

What we dislike: Godiva is a gourmet brand, and as such, this set is a bit expensive.

Best bang for your buck hot chocolate gift set

Land O Lakes Cocoa Classics: available at Amazon

Our take: Available for less than $20, this set provides the ultimate in variety with 11 exotic flavors like raspberry, mocha and chocolate supreme.

What we like: These cocoas are made in the USA, are gluten-free and contain Orthodox Union Kosher Dairy. The set comes in a black box that hides what's inside. Each packet is 1.25 ounces, providing a lot of strong-flavored cocoa per serving.

What we dislike: Though there are a lot of flavors, there's only one packet of each, so if there's one you really like, you'll have to reorder to try it again.

Honorable mention hot chocolate gift set

Christmas Cocoa Gift Pods: available at Amazon

Our take: Keurig users will be thrilled to try out these 12 different K-cup cocoas that come arranged in a box that looks like a Christmas tree.

What we like: The set has unusual flavors like gingerbread, peanut butter and coconut. The pods can be removed one by one without tearing open the whole box, so it can be continually used for display. These pods are compatible with all Keurig 2.0 brewing systems.

What we dislike: While it's advertised as an advent calendar for adults, the pods are always visible from the front rather than being revealed by tearing off windows, so it doesn't actually function as a real advent calendar.

Gregg Parker is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.


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