Love Chocolate? 10 Places You Have to Try the Hot Cocoa
Whether you're toughing out the cold in Fairbanks or facing a slight winter chill in San Diego, there's nothing like sipping a steaming mug of delicious hot cocoa. Here are 10 spots where a few dollars can buy one of the best cups of cocoa in the country. Pair it with chocolate-covered strawberries, rich truffles, or another chocolatey treat to really indulge.
The tech boomtown is home to XOX Truffles, a chocolate shop with French flair. It produces a variety of confections and drinks, including hot chocolate. Baristas slowly whisk cream into hot chocolate, which Yelp reviewers describe as rich and creamy. Better yet, patrons get a free truffle (usually $1) with any drink.
Katherine Duncan, founder of Katherine Anne Confections, works with local farmers and uses natural ingredients for her baked goods, such as organic agave nectar for the shop's caramels. The same policy applies to all 14 flavors of hot chocolate. Patrons can try traditional flavors such as milk, semisweet, and bittersweet, while the more adventurous can opt for Mexican hot chocolate, salted caramel, or white chocolate cheesecake.
The seven senior bakers of the City Bakery have a combined 141 years of experience, so it's no surprise this New York favorite is a destination for lovers of all things sweet and savory. Throughout the year, the City Bakery serves its classic hot chocolate with a famous homemade marshmallow. But it's in February, when the bakery hosts the annual City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival, that hot chocolate lovers can really get a taste of something unexpected. The event features a different flavor each day of the month. Past favorites have included lemon, beer, and peanut butter.
Take a break from exploring this booming city by grabbing a cup of classic hot chocolate at one of the two Cacao shops in town. Classic hot chocolate is $3.50, but for even more indulgence, order the famous drinking chocolate. This pure melted chocolate comes in different sizes, but a shot-size glass sells for $2. Try a flight of three shot-size flavors such as cinnamon-infused or spicy dark milk chocolate.
Located in the heart of Austin on Rio Grande Street, Holy Cacao is a trailer-based operation that provides coffee drinks, cocoa, and cake pops to hordes of college students. This family-run business has been nationally recognized for its gluten-free and peanut-free hot chocolate (starting at $4.50), made with all-natural heavy cream. Those who can't take the Texas heat can chill out with the frozen hot chocolate (starting at $5.25).
Prefer sweets with a kick? Check out the Fiery Hot Chocolate at Flour Bakery & Cafe in Boston. Joanna Chang, the founder and pastry chef, had to meet the demands of customers frequently asking for hot chocolate at the four shop locations. As a solution, she steamed chocolate ganache with milk in an espresso cup, and the bakery's signature hot chocolate was born. The fiery version comes with chili powder and cayenne pepper.
Fran Bigelow has been in the business for over three decades, creating Parisian-inspired truffles, chocolate bars, and caramels before fancy chocolate shops were trendy. Visit Fran's Chocolates for the signature dark hot chocolate, which merges steamed organic milk with delicate slivers of dark Felchlin chocolate from Switzerland.
Chef Jacques Torres left the lauded Le Cirque restaurant to pursue his passion for chocolate sixteen years ago. Now he runs Jacques Torres, a high-end chocolate empire with eight stores in the Big Apple. A cup of the famous Wicked hot chocolate is $3.50 to $4.75. For a cheaper, DIY version, bring home a tin of the spicy hot chocolate mix ($18). It yields eight to 10 cups, working out to $1.80 a cup.
Oyamel is a modern, upscale Mexican restaurant located a few blocks from the Washington Monument. Its extensive array of desserts and warm drinks rivals the offerings at D.C.'s dessert-only shops. Several "best food" lists mention Oyamel's Oaxacan chocolate caliente (hot chocolate in Spanish), which is infused with vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon (for $4 a glass).
After devouring a Philly cheesesteak, head to Magpie for dessert. Along with unique homemade pies, the shop serves a delicious cup of hot chocolate. It's topped with three vanilla-bean marshmallows and chocolate shavings, and freshly ground pink peppercorn can be added for spice. Pair with a slice of butterscotch bourbon pie for extra indulgence.