Photo courtesy of iStock / Mariha-kitchen
In the wintertime, chocolate is best served hot
Hot chocolate has been getting a lot of attention lately, what with hot cocoa bombs and hot chocolate charcuterie boards taking over Instagram and TikTok. But it’s a drink that has been enjoyed for millennia by civilizations in Mesoamerica. Once chocolate was brought to Europe by Spanish colonists, chocolate took the world by storm.
Today it's still one of the world’s most desired desserts, and when it comes to hot chocolate, chefs have gotten really creative. Here are some of the best hot chocolates across the country.
Photo courtesy of Kakawa Chocolate House
Kakawa Chocolate House | Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sipping spiced hot drinking chocolate is a tradition that stretches back to the Aztec, Mayan and Olmec people, all of whom believed that chocolate was a food of the Gods. In fact, "kakawa" is the Olmec word for chocolate or cacao.
Kakawa in Santa Fe has a line of hot drinking chocolates – called elixirs – in a variety of flavors that are inspired by pre-Columbian recipes, as well as recipes from around the globe during an era when chocolate was first introduced. In addition to elixirs with flowers and chilis, there’s Italian Citrus, French Lavender, and a Jeffersonian drinking chocolate crafted from a recipe by Thomas Jefferson.
Photo courtesy of Kristina Valdiviezo for French Broad Chocolate
French Broad Chocolate | Asheville, North Carolina
In the hip mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina, French Broad Chocolate is all about fair trade and organic chocolates. You can enjoy a silky dark sipping chocolate or creamy milk chocolate. And for anyone looking to spice up their hot chocolate, French Broad offers an aromatic chai masala milk chocolate blend.
Photo courtesy of Shane Confectionery
Shane Confectionery | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Shane Confectionery in Old City Philadelphia is an old-timey candy shop making some of history’s finest confections. In addition to classics like clear toy candies, licorice and old-fashioned cookies, they’ve recently released hot chocolate bombs in the shape of one of Philadelphia’s most iconic symbols: The Liberty Bell.
Like all of their candies, the Incredi-Bell Chocolate Bomb is made with high-quality ingredients, tempered to perfection, and is filled with housemade vanilla marshmallows. They're very popular, and because they're made with care, the Incredi-Bell Chocolate Bombs go fast.
But not to worry – their Shane Signature Hot Chocolate and Shane House Drinking Chocolate, both made with dark cacao sourced from Tanzania, are always a delight!
Photo courtesy of Katherine Anne Confections
Katherine Anne Confections | Chicago, Illinois
Hot chocolate isn’t just a sweet treat at Katherine Anne Confections, it’s an art form. There are not only a wide variety of hot chocolate flavors to enjoy, but a nice selection of marshmallow flavors as well. How about a salted caramel hot chocolate with cinnamon sugar marshmallows, or a hazelnut hot chocolate paired with vanilla bean marshmallows?
There are a dizzying array of flavorful combinations to try!
Photo courtesy of C2 Photography/The Little Nell
The Little Nell | Aspen, Colorado
After a day of skiing in Aspen, nothing can be cozier than sipping on a rich hot chocolate. The Little Nell is a luxury hotel with stunning views of Aspen Mountain, and though their year-round accommodations are certainly the main draw, their craft hot chocolate is a sweet addition.
The drink comes with housemade marshmallows and, if you’d like, you can even add a shot of liqueur for an extra dose of warmth in your hot cocoa.
Photo courtesy of Ethan Spratt and Shannon Grochowski
La Chatelaine Chocolat Co. | Bozeman, Montana
Who knew you could find a little bit of France in the heart of Bozeman, Montana? La Chatelaine Chocolat Co. celebrates the art of the French café, and their take on hot chocolate is no exception. Aromatic spices blend with the rich earthiness of cacao evoking complex profiles of fruity notes and peppery spices. Every cup of hot cocoa is elegant yet comforting.
Photo courtesy of Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
Moonstruck Chocolate Co. | Portland, Oregon
If you’re looking for a delicious hot chocolate you can make at home or give as a gift to a loved one, you can’t go wrong with Moonstruck’s line of decadent hot chocolates. In addition to classic dark and milk chocolate cocoas, there’s horchata with hints of cinnamon sugar; golden hot chocolate with notes of ginger and turmeric; and mint with the refreshing flavor of mint mixed with milk chocolate.
Photo courtesy of Teresa Floyd
Christopher Elbow | Kansas City, Missouri
All of the chocolates at Christopher Elbow are luscious, and the same goes for their hot chocolates. They offer a variety of hot chocolates you can make at home and ship around the country, but the hot chocolates they make at their in-store locations are so unique and satisfying.
Their in-store exclusive flavors include a fruit raspberry hot chocolate blend, white cinnamon, and a rich and aromatic coconut curry.
Photo courtesy of Emily Ferretti
Sucré | New Orleans, Louisiana
Everywhere you go in New Orleans, you’ll find hints of French cultural influences, especially Sucré. The French-inspired patisserie shop evokes classic French dessert and coffee culture with a touch of modern sophistication. Their le chocolat chaud, a Parisian hot chocolate, seems simple at first glance, but complex at first sip.
The hot drinking chocolate is thick and silky. It’s incredibly chocolatey but has subtle notes of vanilla.
Photo courtesy of Popbar
Popbar | Multiple locations
Popbar’s concept is simple – every treat you could ever desire on a stick. It’s a clever idea that has made its way across North America and into Portugal. Similar to hot chocolate bombs, all you have to do is add hot milk to bring your hot chocolate beverage to life.
Part of the fun is in the theatrics, but what makes people love Popbar’s hot chocolate on a stick so much is that it's simply delicious.