When the rain is pouring and the wind is howling, the best way to warm up is to grab a steaming cup of hot chocolate. We wait all year for the chance to sip on our favorite cold weather beverage. But if you’re anything like us, you know not all hot cocoa is created equal. The following five spots have some of the richest, most heavenly chocolate concoctions from around the country. So grab your gloves, throw on a scarf and hotfoot it to over to one of these places. You won’t be disappointed.
1. L.A. Burdick, Walpole, New Hampshire
This cozy New England restaurant is a delight for several of your senses. Patrons are greeted by friendly staff and treated to a variety of artworks created by local artists. When it comes to the hot chocolate, it’s all about taking your pick. If you’re craving a blend, you can choose between the dark, light or white combinations. Or, if you’re feeling something different, you can test several of Burdick’s “single-source” hot chocolates. These beverages are made from cocoa beans from Madagascar, Bolivia, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador or Venezuela. Don’t you just love having choices?
2. Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Chicago, Illinois
If this joint is named after the beverage, you know it’s good. This “dessert bar” boasts a long list of hot cocoa picks. For blends, you have the regular dark and light options, but it doesn’t end there. Be adventurous and try the Mexican hot chocolate laced with cayenne pepper, a butterscotch and chocolate mix or (get ready for this) a French and Belgian milk chocolate with barley malt and ground, chocolate-covered espresso beans. Oh drool! We’ll take a cup of each, please.
3. Serendipity 3, New York City, New York
When it comes to hot chocolate, we like to be traditional: steaming, full flavor, and topped with marshmallow-y goodness. But for this ice cream parlor, we can’t help but make an exception. The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate comes in beautifully decorated goblet and is generously portioned for the whole family to share. When you’re not eyeing your desert, you’ll be ogling the décor which included Tiffany-style lamps, marble-topped tables, and gilt-edged mirrors. If the place looks familiar, you might have seen it 2001’s comedy film, Serendipity. Coincidence? We think not.
4. Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe, New Mexico
For the adventurous experimenter, this is the hot chocolate place to be. You can try a historical elixir – why yes you can taste Thomas Jefferson’s own recipe or go back in time to the pre-Colombian period– or one invented right on the premise. Far from plain, these mixes contain herbs, spices and flower extracts to add a special kick. The best part, the staff is known to be generous with sampling, so sip away until you find your right match.
5. The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado
After a fun but long day on the slopes, skiers and snowboarders flock to this restaurant to warm up, and for good reason. Located in one of the premier ski resorts in the United States, the Little Nell offers patrons a stone fireplace and one of the most delicious hot chocolate beverages around. The full, round flavor of this drink is created by using whole milk and Valrhona chocolate ganache. To top it off, you get a chocolate dipped peppermint stick with your hot cocoa. It’s nothing short of magical.
To find more hot chocolate spots from around the globe, get MSN’s full list here.