Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

Photo by mike and meg

Nothing signals winter like a cup of hot chocolate, perhaps topped with marshmallows or swizzled with a peppermint stick. While hot cocoa and hot chocolate are used interchangeably, cocoa and chocolate are two different things. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate pressed free of the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into cream.

Whichever you fancy, restaurants and dessert venues are stepping up their hot chocolate game. The soothing cup is becoming a dessert in its own right. Here’s a few places to try for a cup of chocolatey, creamy deliciousness!

Mindy’s HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar – Chicago, IL

When it’s right in the name, you know it’ll be good. Mindy’s Wicker Park location not only offers lunch, dinner, and cocktails, but also seven different types of hot chocolate. Perfect for the season? Pumpkin hot chocolate, a white chocolate drink with pumpkin spices and a touch of molasses.

Dandelion Chocolate – San Francisco, CA

Sip on a cup of hot chocolate while you watch cacao go from raw bean to finished bar as it is roasted, cracked, sorted, winnowed, ground, conched, tempered, hand molded, packaged, and signed before your eyes in the working chocolate factory.

Kopplin’s Coffee – St. Paul, MN

Try grass-fed cow’s milk steamed with Rogue Chocolatier’s chocolate. The handmade chocolate bars are 70% cacao, and the drink is topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Sabor y Cultura Café – Los Angeles, CA

This corner coffee shop in Hollywood’s Little Armenia specializes in Mexican Mocha – low-fat milk, fresh-ground espresso, and authentic Mexican chocolate and ground cinnamon.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – Brooklyn, NY

You want rich? Try a cup made with 99% Michel Cluizel cocoa. But don’t worry… you don’t have to skip out on a sundae. Get both.

Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man – New York, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Boston

The signature Max Brenner hot chocolate is served in a “hug mug,” shaped to encourage you to hug it with both your hands. If you need an extra bit of warmth, have it served with amaretto or a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

XOCO – Chicago, IL

Rick Bayless’s restaurant specializes in upscale Mexican street food, including a delicious take on Mexican hot chocolate made from cacao beans that are roasted on-premises.

Cacao – Atlanta, GA

Even the name of the drink is sumptuous: Azteca Aphrodisiac Sipping Chocolate. Made with an extra-dark chocolate and six chilis, you’ll melt as surely as the housemade marshmallow on top.

Flour Bakery + Café – Boston, MA

The three Boston bakery locations steam rich chocolate ganache and milk together. Try the fiery version spiced with chile powder and cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

Fran’s Chocolates – Seattle and Bellevue, WA

Fran’s hot chocolate combines 65% Venezuelan dark chocolate with steamed, locally-sourced organic milk from Fresh Breeze Dairy in Washington.

Artfully Chocolate – Alexandria, VA

This part-art-gallery, part-dessert-bar offers 12 varieties of hot chocolate, all named after Hollywood celebrities. The Marilyn Monroe is a creamy white-chocolate with mint, whipped cream, and crumbled Oreo cookies.

Jacques Torres – New York, NY

Living up to his “Mr. Chocolate” nickname, Jacques Torres’s Wicked Hot Chocolate infuses thick, rich chocolate shavings with Ancho chilies, chipotle and cardamom.

Do you have a favorite place that we overlooked? Weigh in below!

Posted by on December 10th, 2012

Filed In: Beverages, Chocolate

Kim Kohatsu judges the quality of her relationships on the ability to share food. If she can't split an appetizer with you, in her eyes, you are pretty much worthless. Kim's current food adventures revolve around ramen, sushi, Indian curries, Sichuan food, and fried chicken. Oh, and cheeseburgers. Kim loves a good cheeseburger.

Dave Jensen

Dave Jensen
Craft Beer

David R. Chan

David R. Chan
Chinese Restaurant

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich
Fast Food

Justin Chen

Justin Chen
Menuism Co-Founder

John Li

John Li
Menuism Co-Founder

Kim Kohatsu

Kim Kohatsu
Managing Editor