An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a steaming cup of hot chocolate can surely chase away the winter blues. Sweet and smooth, or rich and slightly bitter, cafes across the county offer a tempting variety guaranteed to please the palate of even the most discerning chocoholic.
So, bottom’s up while the temps are down! Here are some of the best spots to sip hot chocolate in Westchester. And, maybe have that apple on the side, just to be safe.
137 Purchase St, Rye; 914.481.4840
Offering artisan delicacies and European-style hot chocolate, this is the spot for a deep and crave-quenching chocolate fix. Using a mixture of Belgian dark and milk chocolates, proprietor Diane Holland makes this liquid velvet (weekends only!) like a ganache, stirring constantly.
“Chocolate is a demanding master,” she says. “You have to keep it in motion, and it can’t get too hot or too cold.” Serious addicts can take it away in quart-sized containers to microwave at home. In house, it’s served in an espresso cup, and topped with crushed candy canes this time of year.
Photo courtesy of City Limits
200 Central Ave, White Plains; 914.686.9000
Thick, creamy, and utterly delicious, hot chocolate at this White Plains mainstay is a divine concoction of premium French Valrhona chocolate chunks, heavy cream, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean that is steamed and frothed together with milk.
A honking, homemade, toasted marshmallow is plopped on top, along with a generous dollop of whipped cream, also from scratch. Both indulgences melt slowly, becoming one with the drink and leaving the beholder to wallow in what experts argue is the highest-quality chocolate in the world.
Photo courtesy of Cocoa Chocolate Shop
2107A Boston Post Rd, Larchmont; 914.834.6464
At this quaint, locally renowned confectionary, the hot chocolate is more like a thin pudding than a drink, but still goes down easy. This decadent potion flows from a hunk of superior Belgian dark chocolate that is blended simply with whole milk.
Served in a 4-ounce espresso cup — just the right amount, but you’ll still leave wanting more — it can be topped with a homemade marshmallow or unsweetened whipped cream.
Photo courtesy of The Kneaded Bread
181 N Main St, Port Chester; 914.937.9489
The hot chocolate at this always bustling, popular Port Chester bakery is born from a whopping 10-pound bar of semi-sweet American chocolate that is melted into a thick, luscious dark lava. It’s swirled with milk, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla, and left to simmer slowly in a heavy pot for several hours. It’s stirred gently and it’s stirred often.
When a customer craves a cuppa, the brew is poured and whipped into foamy bliss with the cappuccino machine’s frother, resulting in a simple, wholesome cup that begs to be sipped slowly and on the daily.
Photo courtesy of Mint Premium Foods
19 Main St, Tarrytown; 914.703.6511
Inside the walls of this ultra-cozy Rivertowns Mediterranean café and gourmet market, those in the know sip Parisian-style cocoa at communal tables beneath an eye-catching tin ceiling. This sophisticated indulgence, resembling molten chocolate, is comprised mainly of Belgian bars with a few French truffles tossed into the mix for good measure.
The ingredients are melted and steamed together with milk to yield what Moroccan-born owner Hassan Jarane describes as “liquid gold.” No whip or marshmallows top this dark beauty because, as he points out, “it’s good just by itself.”
Photo by Michelle Gillan Larkin
193 Main St, Ossining; 914.945.8909
Soul-soothing, wildly unique blends await at this long-standing Colombian coffee house, where the husband-wife team has dreamed up a staggering menu of chocolate “cocktails” (no alcohol here) made with pure, semi-sweet or unsweetened Colombian chocolate and panela, an organic sugar cane. Some are topped with thick whip, while others, like the Mexican, are dusted with cloves and cinnamon.
No cup is overly sweet or flavored, but is instead mellow, pleasant, and in some cases, like the one with peanut butter or the “chocobanana” (served cold), hearty enough to be a meal on its own.
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