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The Best Hot Chocolate in NYC

hc3Now matter how grown up you get, you just never seem to grow out of hot chocolate.  It’s one of the perks of winter weather, coming in from out of the cold, and cozying up to a warm mug of hot chocolate, preferably with a homemade marshmallow on top.  City Bakery in Union Square definitely seems to share our sentiment.  In fact, the cafe devotes the entire month of February to a Hot Chocolate Festival, offering a different take on cocoa for every day of the month. (Think Chili Pepper, Banana Peel and Bourbon Hot Chocolate, for starters.)  But City Bakery’s not the only place to satisfy a craving once the temperature drops.  Shops like Vosges Haute-Chocolat and Jacques Torres also specialize in the steamy, sweet stuff.  Ever had Italian Hot Chocolate?  Consider it your duty to visit Otto Enoteca Pizzeria,  start with pizza and end your meal with the Gianduja Calda, a hazelnut-laced version.   Check out our other picks for the best hot chocolate in NYC!

City Bakery's Banana Peel Hot Chocolate

City Bakery's Banana Peel Hot Chocolate
3 W 18th St # 1
Union Square,New York 10011
(212) 366-1414

It’s always smart to stop at the eclectic Union Square cafe, City Bakery, when you’re lusting for hot chocolate.  After all, they’re largely considered to make one of the best cups of cocoa in the city.  But during the month of February, it’s practically a requirement.  This is the 21st year running that they’ve held their Hot Chocolate Festival, celebrating the glory of cocoa by offering up a  different flavor daily.  Think Bourbon, Vietnamese Cinnamon, Banana Peel and Darkest Dark Chocolate.  And of course, each cup is topped with a giant, homemade marshmallow.  The one downside?  February only lasts for 28 days.

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MarieBelle's Aztec Hot Chocolate

MarieBelle's Aztec Hot Chocolate
484 Broome Street
Soho,New York 10022
(212) 925-6999

If you can see your way past the shelves of Ganache-filled Bonbons and Whisky-infused Truffles, there’s an elegant Cacao Bar at the back of this classy SoHo shop.  That’s where you’ll find coffee, tea, freshly baked pastries, and best of all, Aztec Hot Chocolate.  It comes in four different flavors… Original (63% Cacao,) Dark (73% Cacao,) Mocha, and Spicy, brewed with cinnamon and chipotle chile.  And MarieBelle never uses cocoa powder.  Just melted down Columbian chocolate, that can be prepared European style (with water) or American style (with milk) for an even creamier concoction.

Van Leeuwen's Mocha Hot Chocolate

Van Leeuwen's Mocha Hot Chocolate
81 Bergen Street
Brooklyn,New York 11217
(718) 701-1630

This Brooklyn-based ice cream shop started life as a sought after truck, before expanding to multiple brick and mortar locations.  And though Van Leeuwen is best known for artisanal, organic ice cream, you don’t have to wait until summer to pay them a visit.  That’s because they happen to make a superior cup of hot cocoa as well, using decidedly high-end, Michel Cluizel 72% chocolate.  Try the Mocha version, which combines their house hot chocolate with a shot of strong espresso — our two favorite beverages in one delicious drink!

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Jacques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate

Jacques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate
66 Water Street
Brooklyn,New York 11201
(718) 875-9772

When it comes to New York’s greatest hot cocoa, how can we not mention “Mr. Chocolate” himself, Jacques Torres?  His eponymous DUMBO cafe and workshop is as famous for its solid chocolates as it is for its warm, melty liquid version.  The signature, “Wicked Hot Chocolate”  is appropriately fiery, made with a mix of allspice, cinnamon, ground ancho chiles and smoked chipotle peppers, as well as two kinds of Belcolade Belgian chocolate.  And forget about cocoa powder… what you’ll get at Jacques Torres Chocolate is pure, melty goodness in a cup.

FP Patisserie's Classic Hot Chocolate

FP Patisserie's Classic Hot Chocolate
1294 3rd Avenue
Upper East Side,New York 10021
(212) 717-5252

Renowned pastry chef, Francois Payard, may be better known for his baked creations, namely  macarons, but he’s no slouch when it comes to making a serious cup of hot cocoa.  Combined with heavy cream and milk, the hot chocolate at FP Patisserie is one of the thickest, richest renditions you’ll find in the city.  Meaning, it’s probably all you’ll need when it comes to dessert.  That’s okay… you can always order one of Payard’s Seasonal Fruit Tarts, Orange Blossom Brioche, or a box of Parisian Macarons to go.

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Vosges Parisienne Hot Chocolate

Vosges Parisienne Hot Chocolate
132 Spring Street
Soho,New York 10012
(212) 625-2929

You might expect a confectionary that makes chocolate bars like Crispy Carrot, Cherry Rooibos, and Dark Chocolate Bacon to deliver some truly out of the ordinary hot cocoa.  But when it comes to Vosges’  trio of rich drinking chocolates, they’ve taken a “less is more” approach.  And you won’t argue with the results.  There’s “Aztec Elixir,” with dark chocolate, chilies, and cinnamon, “Bianca,”  a blend of white chocolate, and our favorite, the “Parisienne,” with dark chocolate and vanilla bean — a wonderfully aromatic cup.

Otto's Gianduja Calda

Otto's Gianduja Calda
1 5th Avenue
Greenwich Village,New York 10003
(212) 995-9559

It may seem strange to head to an Italian trattoria for a cup of hot cocoa.  And yet, Otto’s Gianduja Calda is the perfect way to cap off a meal of Antipasti, Lardo-topped Pizza, and homemade Spaghetti Carbonara.  Pastry Chef Meredith Kurtzman whips up her own hazelnut paste for the delicious drink by steeping leftover hazelnut shards in milk for two days.  Then, she combines it with water, sugar, and two different types of chocolate for a taste treat akin to a liquid Nutella.  Topped with Cinnamon Cream and served with a cookie, it’s the ultimate wintertime indulgence.

L.A. Burdick's Spiked Hot Chocolate

L.A. Burdick's Spiked Hot Chocolate
5 E 20th Street
Flatiron District,New York 10010
(212) 796-0143

This New Hampshire-based import makes a welcome addition to the Flatiron District, showcasing glorious handmade chocolates, extravagant cakes, and even specialty items like whole cacao pods.  But you came here for the hot chocolate, right? (Keep your eye on the prize.)  The version at L.A. Burdick is top-notch.  It starts with sustainably sourced, single-origin chocolate, which gets whisked with steamed milk and finished off with grated spices and homemade whipped cream.  Oh, and did we mention you can order it spiked?  Choose from cherry-flavored Kirsch, pear-infused Poire Williams, or Ron Zacapa rum.  We’re sold!

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One Comment

  1. Great! I will be checking these out!

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