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Mother's Day Gift Guide: Equal Exchange Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa, with the emphasis on "hot"

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Hot cocoa is a delightful trail dessert. It’s lightweight, easy to prepare, tastes great, and warms you up before climbing into your bag. Equal Exchange added cayenne peppers and cinnamon to their delicious organic hot cocoa mix to create a sweet and spicy concoction that warmed our testers on cold nights in Colorado and soggy, rain-soaked evenings in western Virginia. And capsaicin, the compound that gives chilis their heat, can actually warm you up a bit by increasing circulation, and some studies suggest it inhibits inflammation.

Equal Exchange makes it without any milk, so it’s good for lactose intolerant folks, as well. The cocoa and sugar are organic and fairly traded with small-scale producers, so you can feel good about your purchase. Note that this hot cocoa definitely has a kick. Also available in a tamer, non-spicy version that lets you savor the rich chocolate without the fire. $8; 12 oz.; equalexchange.com