The holiday season isn’t just the most wonderful time of the year because of celebrations and presents. It’s also the most wonderful time of the year to indulge in some of New York City’s finest hot chocolate. Here’s a look at 10 places that shouldn’t be missed.
1. Australian Homemade
115 St. Marks Place • 212-228-5439
With several locations throughout New York City, you can pick up this hot chocolate with great ease. The original NYC location is on St. Marks Place. The hot chocolate is rich and creamy and is little more than their Belgian chocolate ice cream melted down with some extra milk added. Positively sinful.
2. Cafe Orlin
41 St. Marks Place • 212-777-1447
For a truly European chocolate experience sit down with a cup of unsweetened cocoa at this East Village eatery. Unsweetened cocoa is extremely bitter, and most will want to add their own sugar (even four packets results in a stronger taste than is typically available in the U.S.). Try it with a dish of cinnamon ice cream. Pre-sweetened cocoa is also available for the less daring.
3. City Bakery
3 W. 18th St. • 212-266-1414
Perhaps New York’s most legendary cup of hot chocolate, be prepared to face big lines at lunchtime and throughout the holiday shopping season as people stop in for a break from the stores of lower Fifth Avenue.
841 Broadway • 212-388-0030
This Australian chain has finally come to the United States. Here, hot chocolate comes in multiple types (dark, milk and white), styles (regular, Italian and what’s just a pure cup of melted block chocolate) and flavors (Mexican and other spice combinations). Most of the food is chocolate, too – from ice cream and fondues to a chocolate dessert plate.
5. Jacques Torres
66 Water St., Brooklyn • 212-414-2462
Brooklyn isn’t without fine hot chocolate, thanks to Jacques Torres. This is their factory location, so you can watch the various candies being made while you snack on a chocolate croissant with a cup of their fine cocoa. It’s rich and a little goes a long way!
762 Madison Ave. • 212-249-4585
At MarieBelle it’s not just about the cocoa, it’s about the ambiance. With opulent tea salons and cocoa rooms at both locations (there’s another one in SoHo) you’ll feel like old European royalty while you sit and sip your hot chocolate. This is a destination cup. Don’t get it to go.
7. The Chocolate Room
269 Court St., Brooklyn • 718-246-2600
A dessert cafe with two locations in Brooklyn, The Chocolate Room has gourmet hot chocolate, fine chocolates made on premises and also a wine and coffee bar. It’s the perfect adult way to be a really big kid.
8. Panera Bread
280 Marsh Ave., Staten Island • 718-494-2450
Sure, it’s a chain, but it’s a chain you can’t find anywhere else in the five boroughs, and it does have amazing hot chocolate in a host of flavors including honey, vanilla, cardamon, cinnamon and ginger.
9. La Maison du Chocolat
1018 Madison Ave. • 212-744-7117
La Maison du Chocolat is primarily for lovers of European chocolate. Chocolate here is dark, rich and just a bit bitter. Mostly an upscale candy store, they also make a spectacular cup of hot chocolate. Don’t worry about the small size. Its richness makes up for it.
10. Le Pain Quotidien
38 E. 19th St. • 212-673-7900
With a dozen locations around Manhattan, this French bakery offers communal tables, light lunch menus and one of the most potent hot chocolates in the city. Order it with a chunk of buttered baguette and you can pretend you’re a starving artist in Paris.