In the heart of winter, nothing beats a decadent cup of hot chocolate. Whether you prefer rich, bittersweet chocolate or creamy hot chocolate infused with mint or chilis, you’ll find a drink to fall in love with from these 10 best cups of hot chocolate in North America.
Fran’s, Seattle, Washington, United States
When it comes to warming up in the Emerald City, nothing hits the spot quite like a cozy cup of gourmet hot chocolate from Fran’s. Four locations throughout the city offer visitors a taste of sweet, artisan treats like truffles, salted caramels and pure chocolate bars, all handcrafted at Fran’s Seattle headquarters. The best way to indulge in Fran’s chocolates, though, is with a cup of the hot stuff. After Fran’s dark hot chocolate for yourself, you can pick up a can of the shavings to take home for a cup of the very best hot chocolate any time of year.
City Bakery, New York City, New York, United States
This isn’t the first time we’ve sang the gooey, chocolatey praises of City Bakery’s phenomenal hot cocoa (we recommended it as New York City’s best hot chocolate here), and it’s no surprise that City Bakery makes the list of the very best cups of hot chocolate in all of North America. This Flatiron District bakery specializes in hot chocolate that goes down thick, creamy and rich, just like a melted bar of pure chocolate. Plus, it’s a treat for the eyes, too, thanks to the house-made marshmallow that creates a fluffy swirl of sweetness on top of the drink. In February, the bakery celebrates its very own Hot Chocolate Month, with a variety of flavors on offer all month long.
Chocol Ha, Campeche, Mexico
South of the border, hot chocolate is known as atole or champurrado. This Mexican drinking chocolate is thicker than regular hot chocolate, thanks to the addition of corn masa. At Chocol Ha in the state of Campeche, you can try a cup of this bittersweet treat – and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try a cup with a palate-pleasing addition like green tea or chilis.
Mink, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
When it comes to finding the very best hot chocolate in Vancouver, locals will tell you to head to the city’s premier chocolate cafe: Mink. This boutique specializes in all things chocolate, and the liquid versions are no exception. Take your pick of a cup of hot chocolate made from 38% or 70% cacao, or indulge in the rich drinking chocolate. Feeling spicy? Add the Cinnamink, which is spiked with ancho chilis, chipotle peppers and cinnamon. Want something a little milder? Go for the peppermint infusion of Peppermink instead.
Cacao, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
There’s little arguing over who holds the title of best hot chocolate in Atlanta: no one holds a candle to what’s being served over at Cacao. The chocolate game is upped here with a bean-to-bar concept that ensures only the highest quality cacao beans are selected and grown for the store. Then, once they’re turned into decadent bars, Cacao melts them back down into what’s undeniably the city’s best hot chocolate. Chili infusions are also a staple here, as are handmade marshmallows.
Cornerstone Music Café, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Calgary’s very best cup of hot chocolate is being churned out by Cornerstone Music Café, but if you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll believe the judges of the city’s annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest. During the 2014 event, Cornerstone Music Café’s Hot Mayan Cacao earned top accolades and was crowned “Best Hot Chocolate in Calgary.” Luckily, you don’t have to wait for the next YYC Hot Chocolate Fest to roll around to indulge in a cup – just head to this funky music studio-meets-café to order the Hot Mayan Cacao any time of year. Made from Canadian Papa Chocolat chocolate and a blend of Mexican spices, the hot chocolate is a hit in Calgary, but you can also order the drink sans spices for a milder version.
Spazzio Caffe, Los Angeles, California, United States
The best hot chocolate in Los Angeles can be found tucked away amidst the streets of Santa Monica, where Spazzio Caffe takes the city’s hot cocoa game to the next level. This international brand serves up a hot chocolate menu that includes additions like strawberries, whiskey, crème brulee and almond. Plan to take your time to explore Spazzio Caffe’s extensive hot chocolate menu.
The Four Seasons, Vail, Colorado, United States
A trip to the mountains for a weekend of skiing or snowboarding simply isn’t a winter getaway without a cup of hot cocoa to warm you by the fire, and you’ll find the best in all of Vail being poured at The Four Seasons. In the lodge’s Fireside Lounge, the star of the drink menu is the Haut Chocolat, served in a traditional French hot chocolate pot and poured through an intricate chocolate lattice into your cup, right at your table. Gourmet chocolate, steamed milk, house-made marshmallows and chocolate shavings round out the experience.
Holy Cacao, Austin, Texas, United States
Austin’s very best cup of hot chocolate comes not from a café or chocolate boutique but a food truck. That’s right, a food truck. Holy Cacao, also known for its enticing array of cake balls, has earned quite the reputation for serving up Austin’s best hot chocolate. They start with the purest of chocolate, ensuring it’s all-natural and GMO-, gluten- and peanut-free. Then, they add heavy dairy cream and a shot of peppermint or spicy Mexican syrup, if you’re feeling feisty. And if your visit happens to fall during one of the hotter months, you can still get your chocolate fix: Holy Cacao offers a frozen hot chocolate, too.
Co Co. Sala, Washington D.C., United States
When locals in the nation’s capital want to warm up, they head to Co Co. Sala for a cup of Washington D.C.’s very best hot chocolate. Billing itself as a chocolate lounge and boutique, Co Co. Sala offers six varieties of hot chocolate, which can also be served frozen. Varieties include white, milk, dark, chipotle, peanut butter and salted caramel. Best of all, you don’t have to choose just one: Co Co. Sala offers a hot chocolate flight, so you can sip on your choice of three flavors.
(Main image: macinate)