As a kid, I voyaged often to the Caribbean with my grandmother, and as a veteran traveller, she was all about getting off the beaten tourist path. We often ended up at local markets in Martinique, St. Maarten, or the Cayman Islands. That is where I first remember drinking coconut water, the top of the coconut hacked off with a machete, and a plastic straw stuck inside. Standing in a crowded market, sweat dripping slowly down my spine, feet covered in dust, it tasted like sweet, clean thirst quenching perfection to an 8-year-old.

 

Since then, I've enjoyed coconut water straight from the fruit (with a bit of rum added) on the beach in the Dominican Republic, by the side of the road in Hawaii, and just off my mountain bike in Trinidad & Tobago. 

 

A few years ago I was thrilled to see that coconut water, now touted as a health food, was being brought to us by several mass market companies; I now drink it straight up, mix it into cocktails, and add it to smoothies instead of tapwater. It is safe to say that I'm a coconut water fan. When my boyfriend came home last night with a free sample of the new Zico chocolate flavor, I was suspicious: Most of the already flavored coconut waters aren't to my taste. But the ingredients looked good; just coconut water, coconut cream, cocoa, vanilla and carrageenan and at 110 calories for 14 ounces, I had to try it. 

 

The chocolate flavor was delicious, with just the right amount of cocoa flavor (plenty) and a sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor profile. So tasty that my boyfriend and I split it totally evenly, since both of us was really into it. So tasty that I saved a portion of my half so I could have some more today. Zico has hit the ball out the park with this new choccy flavor, and I'm already planning on making it a go-to drink for 2012. With lots of electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, no added sugar, and lots of flavor, it will be the perfect post-workout drink. 

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.