Photo courtesy of iStock / Lilechka75
Warm up with hot chocolate
There's no sweeter way to warm up this winter than with one of these rich hot chocolate delights. Here are 10 places around the United States where you can enjoy some of the best cocoa you'll ever have.
Photo courtesy of L.A. Burdick
L.A. Burdick | Various U.S. locations
The drinking chocolate at L.A. Burdick's quaint cafes in Boston, Cambridge, Chicago, New York and Walpole, New Hampshire is whisked to order. Prepared from melted chocolate shavings, it's available in dark, spicy dark, milk and white chocolate variations.
This winter, there will be a limited edition peppermint hot chocolate too, made with peppermint leaves rather than extract or syrup for a fresh mint note that's not overpowering. Rotating monthly single source drinking chocolate features cacao from Bolivia, Brazil, Grenada and Madagascar, and all are available for purchase to prepare at home.
Chocolatier Michael Klug recommends grating a little lemon or orange zest on top of your hot chocolate at home, or sprinkling dried rose petals for a floral note. "The best drinking experience is reached by frothing the hot chocolate with a small blender or Bermixer," he says.
Photo courtesy of Cacao
Cacao | Portland, Oregon
Not only does Cacao in downtown Portland, Oregon have one of the best curated collections of craft chocolate in the country, but they also serve exquisite drinking and hot chocolates too. They make it with Felchlin Swiss chocolate from the premium Grand Cru line of single-origin chocolate from Ecuador and Venezuela.
French-style drinking chocolates are thicker, with whole milk and heavy cream, and are served in smaller portions because they're so rich and intense. American-style hot chocolate is light and frothy, made from solid chocolate without too much sugar. There's even an unsweetened vegan hot chocolate with Oatly oat milk and 100% cacao from Ghana.
Photo courtesy of Garcia Nevett Chocolatier de Miami
Garcia Nevett Chocolatier de Miami | Miami, Florida
Sisters Isabel and Susana fell in love with cacao and chocolate at home in Venezuela before becoming chocolatiers and opening their eponymous Miami cafe selling chocolate cakes, bonbons, confections and hot chocolate.
At Garcia Nevett Chocolatier de Miami, their hot chocolate is made with 60% Venezuelan chocolate made by Franceschi Chocolate, a family of Venezuelan cacao-growers-turned-chocolate-makers. The Nevett sisters use their Carenero superior chocolate and add a little sea salt for a thick, European-style beverage. You can also purchase a tin of drinking chocolate mix to take home.
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate | New York, New York
Next door to Michelin-starred Gabriel Kreuther in New York, Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate takes just as much care and finesse with their chocolate bonbons, desserts and hot chocolate. Each hot chocolate here is made to order, with a scoop of 76% dark chocolate ganache.
Whole milk is recommended for the silkiest texture, but there's skim and almond milk, or even water available upon request. Pair your drink with creative bonbons like Taggiasca olive and pistachio balsamic praline or honey saffron ganache.
Photo courtesy of Vesta Chocolate
Vesta Chocolate | Upper Montclair, New Jersey
This charming new artisan chocolate shop in Upper Montclair, New Jersey serves three delectable flavors of hot chocolate: classic single-origin hot chocolate with a touch of vanilla; spiced hot chocolate with Vietnamese cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and cloves; and a limited edition peppermint flavor.
Roger Rodriguez is a triple threat – chocolate maker, chocolatier and pastry chef – and returns home to New Jersey after honing his craft at Brooklyn's Cacao Prieto. At Vesta Chocolate, he partners with his pastry chef wife, Julia Choi-Rodriguez (Gramercy Tavern, Jean-Georges, and Bouchon Bakery) to open a cafe and chocolate shop with a bird's-eye view into the kitchen to watch bean-to-bar chocolate and confections being made.
Photo courtesy of Recchiuti Confections
Recchiuti Confections | San Francisco, California
San Francisco's top chocolatier, Michael Recchiuti, is best known for his perfectly tempered and balanced bonbons, but also serves a killer hot chocolate at his Dogpatch location of Recchiuti Confections.
The dark chocolate pistoles are made with a blend of South American cacao that took Recchiuti more than a year of tasting and development to perfect. You can also purchase the pistoles to make your own mug of cocoa at home.
Photo courtesy of Clementine's Creamery
Clementine's Creamery | St. Louis, Missouri
Clementine's Creamery may be an ice cream parlor, but this St. Louis small-batch scoop shop is debuting a new treat this winter: an affogato with European sipping chocolate topped with a gold leaf homemade marshmallow.
For the ultimate hot chocolate, they blend Christopher Elbow's Cocoa Noir and Ecuadorian Costa Esmeraldas cacao for a warming beverage topped with a scoop of Clementine's Midnight Pleasures chocolate ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Taylor Morabito
Intelligentsia | Various U.S. locations
Intelligentsia might be best known for coffee, but their hot chocolate is pretty exceptional too. Their single-origin hot chocolate is made with heavy cream and house-made ganache with direct trade Askinosie chocolate from Davao, Philippines.
The collaboration with Askinosie is especially poignant because Shawn Askinosie learned about direct trade from Intelligentsia’s Vice President of Coffee, Geoff Watts, and this was the first time the direct trade model that Watts created almost 20 years ago expanded beyond coffee into another industry.
Photo courtesy of Josephine
Josephine | Nashville, Tennessee
Executive pastry chef Kayla May serves hot chocolate at Josephine in Nashville accompanied by housemade graham crackers, marshmallows and peppermint bark – all nostalgic accoutrements inspired by her childhood. She uses 64% bittersweet Guayaquil chocolate from Cacao Barry for its strong cocoa flavor.
"We use brown sugar, which is the secret to good hot chocolate, and vanilla with just a pinch of salt to elevate the flavors," May explains. "Our hot chocolate is made with whole milk and lots of really good chocolate, so it’s thicker than a traditional American hot chocolate but smoother than a European drinking chocolate."
Photo courtesy of Fresh
Fresh | Los Angeles, California
The superfood hot chocolate at Fresh in Los Angeles aims to fuel endurance and stamina with maca, mesquite and raw virgin coconut oil. "We use a high-flavanol dark cocoa powder – the less processed the better – to maximize the health benefits," says founder Ruth Tal. Instead of cane sugar, this creamy hot cocoa is sweetened with maple syrup and steamed for a frothy finish.