Max Brenner Suckao
Max Brenner serves up chocolate to dazzle and amuse. The chocolate beverages and fun desserts at his cafés are tops. In the Suckao, shown above, guests receive solid chocolate to melt and sip from the “pouch.”





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KAREN HOCHMAN is the Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.


December 2006
Updated July 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Chocolate

Max Brenner, Chocolate By The Bald Man

Part II: Chocolate & Hot Chocolate


This is Part II of a three-part review. Click on the black links below to read the other parts.

The Chocolates

Max Brenner is the king of packaging and design, and the different types of presentations are quite eye-catching: beautiful, reusable tins, fun and sassy boxes that are so amusing, the chocolate is secondary. Which is good, because the milk chocolate is very sweet—too sweet for us and for most adults we know. But those who enjoy the sweetness of a Hershey Bar will like it.

Max Brenner BonbonsThe dark chocolate, 70% cacao, is more in tune with what chocolate should be. This 70% is not particularly intense, more of a semisweet than a bittersweet. It isn’t complex cacao, and eating the plain bar isn’t as rewarding as eating a bar of one of the world’s great chocolate producers.

For people who are picky about their chocolate, the bonbons are where Max Brenner shines. The centers are interesting and varied, from traditional to cutting edge (praline mixed with cornflakes and pepper, e.g.—quite good). They, along with a product called Nuts, superb caramelized pecans rolled in praline paste and cocoa powder, are our favorite items the line.

Hot Chocolate

The various hot and cold chocolate beverages served in the café are a chocolate-lover’s dream. One would hope that by purchasing the chocolate powder in the shop, one could create the experience at home. But alas, preparing the Max Brenner Chocolate Powder at home, either Milk Caibos or Dark Caibos, produces nothing like the drinks at the café. Whatever kitchen alchemy goes into the preparations there is lost to the home cook. (Granted, the café offers much more than a plain cup of cocoa).

The “powder” is actually small chunks of chocolate, so this is a hot chocolate rather than a cocoa. The confusing preparation instructions need to be improved—no specific amount of milk or water is stated (please take note, Brenner folks!). When mixed with hot water per the instructions, the Milk Caibos made a pale, milky brown liquid with a gentle chocolate aroma. We mixed the Dark Caibos with hot milk: 6 heaping teaspoons of powder to 6 ounces of milk. These proportions created a deep cocoa-brown color with a mildly chocolate aroma, but not a bittersweet flavor we would have liked. It’s a pleasant, middleweight cup of cocoa in flavor and aroma—a good chocolate impact, but for $25.56 a pound, there are far better options (see our Hot Chocolate section for reviews of gourmet cocoa and hot chocolate products).
Max Brenner Hug Mug Hot Chocolate
A Hug Mug of Max Brenner’s hot chocolate is
devastatingly good in the café—probably because
of cream or half-and-half in the preparation.
Made at home per the package directions (hot water, we got just a decent cup of cocoa.

Continue To Part III: Cafe Treats & Shopping Information

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