FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Anything hot sounds good just about now. Make it chocolate and you almost forget the mind-numbing cold.
What follows is a sampling of where to go for "a hug in a mug" -- hot chocolate delights that warm frosty fingers and toes.
- Café Xpresso, Newtown: Decisions, decisions. Cafe Xpresso serves up a variety of hot chocolate choices including the traditional, peppermint, salted caramel and a white version. You can also request Lavender made with Arethusa Farms chocolate milk mixed with house-made lavender syrup, topped with whipped cream and blue lavender pods.
- Coffee Barn, Wilton: This 2017 DVlicious "Best Coffee in Fairfield County" winner takes as much care with its cocoa as it does its java. Among the choices: the Mocha, rich chocolate sauce with espresso and steamed milk and the White Chocolate Mocha, sweet white chocolate sauce with espresso and steamed milk.
- Elm Street Diner, Stamford: There's nothing like a diner for a steaming cuppa joe and a creamy hot chocolate. Elm Street, known for its outrageous Instagram photos, doesn't disappoint. Though in the past they've had some crazy creations, for now, the hot chocolate is fairly traditional though you can certainly ask for extra whipped cream, more chocolate syrup or chocolate sprinkles.
- Humbled Coffeehouse, Stamford: It’s easy to shun the wintry cold with one of Humbled's pure yum in a cup options: a dark mocha or a peppermint hot chocolate. Previous Daily Voice story HERE.
- Las Vetas Lounge, Fairfield: Nutella hot chocolate anyone? This funky coffeehouse also serves up "Bonnell's Hot Chocolate," a triple threat of the sweet stuff -- think Ghiradelli chocolate syrup, dark chocolate chips, a dash of Swiss Miss, whipped cream and chocolate sauce and a raspberry hot chocolate with Ghirardelli white chocolate and raspberry syrup. No website but head to 27 Unquowa Rd., 203 255-1958.
- Lorca, Stamford, Cos Cob: Cozy up and enjoy one of Lorca's three hot chocolate varieties: Dark chocolate, Mexican or S'mores. Either way, it's a sweet deal and a great way to stay out of the cold.
- Neat, Darien: Hot chocolate is taken just as seriously as the coffee meaning you'll find artisanal chocolate made with a 72 percent dark chocolate powder from Ecuador. Top it with housemade whipped cream and you'll soon be ready to brave the elements.
- Molten Java, Bethel: In the mood for something crazy? As in crazy good? Choose from six volcanic concoctions including The Krakatoa (hot chocolate, caramel and cinnamon with coconut whipped cream) and The Molten Cocoa (hot chocolate with cinnamon, chilli powder and vanilla). Traditionalists will also find the classic made with steamed milk.
- Source Coffeehouse, Bridgeport: This creamy, must-drink number is made with Hollander chocolate and sweet ground Dutch chocolate syrup, then topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and optional whipped cream.
- Sweet Pea's Baking Company, Old Greenwich: For those days when it’s too cold to step out the door, the charming atmosphere and classic hot chocolate (made with Ghiradelli powder) makes winter in Connecticut a little more bearable.
- The Granola Bar, Westport, Greenwich, Stamford: If the Instagram photos don't get you salivating, the actual hot chocolate mug in front of you will. The baristas at The Granola Bar love making this frothy concoction topped with whipped cream, mini marshmallows and a chocolate sauce drizzle. Sometimes they even have (friendly) competitions to see who can decorate it best.
- The Pastry Hidewaway, Wilton: This artisan bakery is all about top-notch ingredients and made with love baked goods. That extends to its hot chocolate, a smooth mixture of rich chocolate and steamed milk. Go HERE for previous Daily Voice story.
- Three Bridges Coffeehouse, Shelton: Infuse your hot chocolate with a syrup (think peppermint or caramel) or just go for it plain with whipped cream.
- Tusk & Cup, Ridgefield, Wilton: Talk about rich and decadent. The Marocchino features a heavenly dollop of Nutella, cocoa and foam layers while the eatery's Hot Cioccolato is full of cinnamon, mint, spicy pepper, or espresso.
- Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe, Trumbull: Good 'ole Hershey's syrup and milk make this hot chocolate a winter winner.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.