An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a steaming cup of hot chocolate can surely chase the winter blues away. Sweet and smooth, or rich and slightly bitter, the creamy cups of cocoa at cafes across the county come in 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 sweetest spots to sip hot chocolate in Westchester. And, maybe have that apple on the side, just to be safe.
2 Station Plaza, Bronxville; 914.600.8139
Probably the furthest thing from Swiss Miss (no disrespect), this indulgent mug requires minimal sugar because of rich European chocolate that is crumbled up and carefully hand-blended with hot water. According to owner Charu Rana, the process creates a distinct, rich aroma that the whole shop can smell! And, the drink looks pretty, too, since it’s topped with steamed milk, latte art, and whipped cream.
200 Central Ave, White Plains; 914.686.9000
City Limits is known for its incredible food and drink selection — far beyond what most imagine a typical diner should serve. In the winter, nothing beats a rich and creamy cup of CLD’s famed Valrhona hot chocolate and house-made marshmallows. With a touch of cinnamon and vanilla bean, this is a layered, nuanced cup perfect for warming cold winter days. Pro tip: Try pairing it with a CLD s’mores cookie for maximum choco-bliss.
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2107A Boston Post Rd, Larchmont; 914.834.6464
At this quaint, locally renowned confectionery, 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 four-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.
7 Main Street, Tarrytown; 914.332.1479
If you have ever stopped by the shop on Main Street, then you are familiar with the elaborate foam art the team creates on lattes and cappuccinos. Unsurprisingly, they make a mean hot chocolate (with or without the art) as well. What’s the secret? It’s all in the sauce. The Coffee Labs crew steams up Black Label Ghirardelli sauce (liquid gold, anyone?) with any type of milk you want and will add whipped cream, should you desire it.
481 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains; 914.358.4323
With all the cold outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking an ice cream shop might not be the place to be, but with Grade-A hot chocolate made even creamier by the addition of the frozen treat, Ice Cream Social is the place to be all year long. Standard vanilla is the go-to addition, however customers can order any of the shop’s flavors in their cocoa, including mint chocolate or spicy peppermint, as well as toppers like whipped cream or marshmallows. You can even get vegan hot chocolate with vegan brownie batter!
181 N Main St, Port Chester; 914.937.9489
The hot chocolate at this always bustling Port Chester bakery is born from a whopping 10-pound bar of semi-sweet American chocolate that is melted into a thick, lusciously 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 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.
92 S. Moger Ave. Mt. Kisco; 914.733.9020
Not all hot chocolates are created equal, and the special blend from this organic market certainly stands out from the rest of the cocoa crowd. The delicious signature blend consists of 80-percent handcrafted dark chocolate, made from the exact organic cacao as the brand’s famous Tanzanian chocolate, plus your favorite steamed milk. “I recommend whole milk or oat milk,” suggests Rick Mast, CEO and Co-founder. The finishing touch, if you see fit, can be whip and/or a marshmallow, both house-made. Shop around while sipping your comfort in a cup and pick up a bag of cocoa mix for home, or purchase a product marked with a “giving heart,” which means it will be matched with a donation to a local food pantry.
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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.” Whip and marshmallows are optional for this dark beauty because, as he points out, “it’s good just by itself.”
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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.