I watched "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on one of the cable movie channels yesterday. I thought it was pretty good, and that director Tim Burton's version was probably closer to the spirit of the book than "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Johnny Depp was more than a bit creepy, in a Michael Jackson-esque way, in the Willy Wonka role, and definitely more disturbing than when Gene Wilder played the role in the original movie. It was hard to believe it was the same actor who played Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Continuing today's chocolate theme, I spotted a couple of new types of hot cocoa mix at the store this morning and decided to try them out. The new brand is Cacao Reserve by Hershey's. How new is the brand? The web site currently only has the title page (although it does link to other Hershey's sites).

Anyway, they had two varieties to choose from: Mayan Blend Classic Chocolate and Aztec Blend Mildly Spiced Chocolate. Each box had five 'sachets' (not 'packets', if you please!) which would make a 6 ounce cup of hot cocoa.

My curiosity aroused, I decided to get one box of each. I just had one cup of each variety, and thought they both were pretty good. The Mayan Blend has a robust chocolate flavor that is somewhere between milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. Think of the flavor of a cup of chocolate fudge pudding and you'll get a close approximation. The Aztec Blend is something else indeed. The package doesn't say what the spices are, but they don't seem to be cinnamon or any of the other usual suspects. Perhaps cardamom? I liked it, but the taste of the spices was fairly bold for being "mildly spiced." Not in an unpleasant way, however.

My guess is that you'd either say, "Mmmm, this is really good," and finish the cup, or else you would say, "Interesting," set down that cup and pick up the other one with the Mayan Blend. The boxes were a bit over two bucks apiece, which is a little more expensive than the garden variety hot chocolate mix, but not so much more as to make you think you were buying a Ferrari or something.