13 Decadent Places for Hot Chocolate in the United States

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13 Decadent Places for Hot Chocolate in the United States
Winter is coming (yes, Game of Thrones jokes welcome). Although it’s tempting to stay inside under a warm blanket until April comes around, we’ve got a very good reason to venture out into the cold: hot chocolate. And we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill Swiss Miss, either. At these 13 spots around the United States, the art of drinking chocolate is taken to an entirely new level.
By Alina Polishuk, AFAR Contributor
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    Portland, OR
    Cacao Drink Chocolate

    The number of “bean to bar” chocolate shops in Portland might be in the dozens, but when it comes to sip-able goods, Cacao Drink Chocolate rises far above the crowd. Its famous flight of three offers a variety of fine Ecuadorian and Venezuelan chocolates of varied cacao content, prepared with hot heavy cream for optimal decadence.

    Courtesy of Cacao Drink Chocolate
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    Seattle, WA
    Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery

    Although this Seattle bakery is famed for its gooey cakes, it also offers up a selection of innovative hot beverages. Traditionalists can order a luxurious dark drinking chocolate, but those seeking something more nuanced might sample the NW: smoked melted chocolate scented with Douglas fir oil.

    Courtesy of Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
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    Boston, MA
    Caffé Vittoria

    The perfect antidote to those harsh Boston winters? The thick and creamy hot chocolate at this quintessentially Italian bakery. If the warmth from the cup isn’t enough, Vittoria also offers a splash of a little something extra for those looking for a (ahem) flavor boost.

    Photo by @anastaasia17
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    San Francisco, CA
    Dandelion-Mission Hot Chocolate

    Although Dandelion Chocolate is fast expanding (it recently opened a storefront in Tokyo), its Mission Hot Chocolate pays homage to the cafe’s original Valencia Street location. Along with Madagascar chocolate and heavy cream, the drink is spiced with cayenne and pasilla pepper, cinnamon, and allspice.

    Photo by @dandelionchocolate
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    Santa Fe, NM
    Kakawa Chocolate House

    Sipping on the “elixirs” served at Kakawa Chocolate is like a taste of the olden days. Rather than define each blend of cocoa by its chocolate content, the menu is inspired by historical eras and divided by flavor profile: Mesoamerican (spicy, bitter, intense), European (floral, perfumed, light), and Contemporary (sweet, rich, earthy).

    Courtesy of Kakawa Chocolate House
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    Washington, D.C.
    Co Co. Sala

    What better way to experience a chocolate-centric restaurant than with a chocolate beverage on the side? With flavors like milk, salted caramel, and peanut butter to choose from, diners can order a single hot chocolate or a flight of three.

    Courtesy of Co Co. Sala
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    Houston, TX
    Cacao and Cardamom

    At this sleek chocolate boutique, grab a seat at the “bar” and order up one of its finest drinkable treats. Customers can choose the cacao content (85%, 75%, or 64%), liquid base (whole milk, macadamia milk, or water), and the preparation style (rich and thick, light and creamy, mixed with an espresso shot, or frozen).

    Courtesy of Cacao and Cardamom
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    Boston, MA
    Sofra Bakery

    At Sofra, a Cambridge bakery known for its Mediterranean goods and dukkah-spiced doughnuts, it’s no surprise that the hot chocolate is anything but ordinary. Here, plain cocoa is blended with sesame and caramel for a delightfully nutty twist.

    Courtesy of Sofra Bakery
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    Seattle, WA

    The menu at Chocolopolis is a dream for those with discerning palates. This airy café offers 15 different high-quality chocolates that can be melted into drinkable form, like the intense Valrhona Abinao from Africa, or the sweeter Cluizel Maralumi Lait from Papua New Guinea. For a less complicated decision, Chocolopolis also offers house-made vanilla marshmallows. (We say yes.)

    Photo by @jess_tupper
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    Chicago, IL
    Katherine-Anne Confections

    The drinking chocolate menu takes up half of the chalkboard at this sweet Logan Circle café. And with flavors that range from the simple (like Milk Chocolate or Hazelnut) to the divine (like Banana Earl Grey or Salted Peanut Butter), choosing just one can seem like a monumental task. Thankfully, Katherine-Anne offers an adorable three-mug flight, customer’s choice.

    Photo by @angelicalxw
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    Washington, D.C.
    Pitango Gelato

    Pitango is usually visited for its frozen treats, but during the winter months this gelateria serves up a decadent Italian drinking chocolate. Order the hot chocolate plain, blended with steamed milk, or poured over a scoop of gelato. Pitango also sells its drinking chocolate bottled, frozen, and ready to reheat and enjoy at home. 

    Photo courtesy of Abeer Saeed
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    New York
    Jacques Torres

    With nine cafes and storefronts scattered throughout Manhattan, it’s no question Jacques Torres is the granddaddy of chocolate in New York City. Besides a deliciously simple dark hot chocolate, each location also serves the famed Wicked Spicy variety, which includes ground ancho chile and chipotle peppers for an added kick.

    Courtesy of Jacques Torres
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    Walpole, NH
    L.A. Burdick

    Though L.A. Burdick has made its chocolate-covered mark in cities like Boston and New York, it all started in the tiny town of Walpole, New Hampshire. At all Burdick locations, chocolatiers melt shavings into 2 percent milk for a bittersweet but decadent drink, served in the café’s signature mug.

    Courtesy of L.A. Burdick
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