Pacific Foods Hazelnut Chocolate Non-Dairy Beverage

One particular memory from high school really stands out in my mind, never to disappear from the recesses of my head. I’m embarrassed that I still recall this as I’m sure that it’s blocking my retention of my checking account balance or De Morgan’s laws, but here goes. My high school music teacher had a rotating selection of portly theater major college dropouts bring her coffee every morning during our class and it became such a basic part of the day, a hazelnut iced coffee with cream and Sweet ‘n’ Low, that it lodged in my mind and I internalized it. I ended up trying it one day and it was such a disgusting bastardized coffee flavor, rife with sugar and a fake nuttiness that it appalled me that someone would be able to drink such a concoction day in and day out.

To this day, I’ve never been a fan of flavored coffee or milk drinks because of that, and that goes for flavored iced coffee and most chocolate milk syrups, so I initially raised an eyebrow when I saw this new drink by Pacific Foods. Hazelnut and chocolate? And non-dairy to boot? For $2, it didn’t seem like too much of a risk. Suffice to say, this defied all my logical understanding of flavored, non-dairy beverages. For a drink made mainly of hazelnuts, this was certainly creamy. Each container gives you a lot of beverage for your buck, delivering 32 full ounces and a mere 140 calories per serving. Not bad for gussied-up chocolate milk, but this has a few other things going for it.
I won’t mince words: this tastes exactly like Nutella. Liquid Nutella with half the calories and fat and a smooth, sweet flavor. I was worried at first because the scent is virtually non-existent, vaguely sugary without much else going on, but the flavor is intensely concentrated. It’s the perfect balance between buttery, salty hazelnuts and bittersweet chocolate milk and in no way tastes fake or too sweet. The package suggests to consume it between 7-10 days, which is just wishful thinking on their part. We’ve had this for a little over 24 hours and we’ve been hitting the container like some eco-friendly slapbag. This would make an exceptional cocktail mixer if you’re partial to Mudslides.
Criticizing this is difficult as it is both high in quality and extremely cheap, but the packaging makes me look like I’ve been temporarily afflicted with hand tremors. I’ve hurled more liquid on the floor in the last ten days than I have in my entire college career, including parties. For whatever reason, this is outfitted with a spout that gurgles weakly when held at a certain angle and gushes wildly when tilted approximately three degrees south, so pouring an 8 oz. drink can take upwards of a minute if you want to be neat or twelve seconds with an equal amount ending up on the floor as in the glass. If this is a ploy to make me want to buy more, there’s really no need as I’m planning on stocking up the next time I go to the co-op. This is better than most regular chocolate milks I’ve had and makes a wonderful protein-rich treat after a workout.

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