Hot chocolate rightfully earns as much respect as coffee at Cafe Grumpy, where an exclusive blend of stone ground chocolate by Taza Chocolate serves as the foundations for one very frothy, expertly finished cup of hot chocolate.
Spiced Hot Chocolate from Locanda Verde is easily drinkable, relying more on flavor than fat. Karen DeMasco's cinnamon and cardamom-spiked chocolate ganache is blended with steamed milk to concoct a light hot chocolate, perfect to satisfy a whim without weighing you down. A duo of house-made vanilla marshmallows to top— classy finish indeed.
Tarallucci e Vino
Hot chocolate at Tarallucci e Vino is the kind you can drink every day. Neither too thin nor too thick, it comes completely unsweetened. There is sugar, if you prefer, but I'd recommend it un-tampered—just the pure, heady flavor of dark chocolate slowly making its way down your throat.
No hot chocolate roundup is complete without City Bakery, where the chocolate is bold and thick enough to marvel over, with a fine balance between milky and sweet. Also comes in a shot size for smaller appetites. Whichever size you choose, don't forget to top with their homemade marshmallows.
La Maison du Chocolat
La Maison du Chocolat offers two types of hot chocolate, and it's the Caracas which best highlights their chocolate quality in liquid form. Ideally enjoyed in the cafe where the creamy, barely sweet drink is presented in china and accompanied by a chocolate square. Fresh whipped cream to top? Yes, please.
At Kaffe 1668 in Tribeca, they turn a slightly sweetened cocoa powder from Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company into a syrup for a satisfyingly loose and light cup of hot chocolate. Could easily replace my daily cup of coffee.
Chocolate from Valrhona and Guittard make hot chocolate at DT Works the thickest cup in town. It's not just whole milk in this drink, but heavy cream. Bring a friend—this is one to share, sip by sip.
Hazelnut-steeped milk meets meets a duo of melted chocolates in Meredith Kurtzman's Gianduja Calda at Otto. Served in a ceramic espresso cup, and topped with a flurry of whipped cream. Dip the golden shortbread right into the steamy hot chocolate, and nothing can ruin your day.
The Hot Chocolate at Peels has a pudding-like consistency, almost rich enough to rival City Bakery. Silky and on the sweet end of NYC's hot chocolate spectrum, it's a dark-chocolate-only concoction and comes with one extra chubby vanilla bean marshmallow.
There's a Classic hot chocolate, but the Wicked (right photo) is my favorite. Spicy, but not excessively so, sweet enough to call dessert, and thick enough to warrant a spoon. Drink inside the shop where it's warm. Once you take this out into the cold, the thick liquid turned into pudding within minutes.