WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. ----There's one good thing about winter weather: indulging in a mug of frothy hot chocolate. And if someone adds marshmallows -- all the better!
Tuesday, Jan. 31 is National Hot Chocolate Day giving Westchesterites the perfect excuse to come in from the cold and have a "meltdown" with drinks that warm frosty fingers and toes.
Armonk, Millwood, Katonah: At Tazza Cafe you can pretty much craft your own hot chocolate, choosing the kind of milk, and the syrup (think caramel or peppermint). Whipped cream optional. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 400 Main St., Armonk, (914) 273-0788; 230 Saw Mill River Rd., Millwood, (914) 488-5227; 197 Katonah Ave., Katonah, (914) 232-3500, www.tazzacafeny.com/.
Bronxville: It's hard to choose at Slave to the Grind where any kind of syrup -- hazelnut, peppermint, strawberry - can be added to your hot chocolate order. Popular for those with a sweet tooth: The S'Mores version made with graham crackers and marshmallows. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 58 Pondfield Rd., (914) 961-7777.
Croton, Pleasantville: The aroma of fresh brew hits you at The Black Cow Coffee Company in all its caffeinated glory. But when you want something a bit sweeter, try the hot chocolate made with Hershey's syrup and steamed milk. On request, you can add a syrup like peppermint or mocha and get it topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 4 Old Post Rd S., Croton-on-Hudson, (914) 271-7544; 7 Wheeler Ave., Pleasantville, (914) 495-3727.
Irvington: Organic goodness -- and lots of gluten-free goodies -- define Red Barn Bakery. But it's also where you'll find a thoughtful and delightfully rich hot cocoa made with dark chunks of Italian chocolate, and frothy Half & Half, steamed as one would an espresso. Some heavy whipped cream and a touch of powdered sugar and one could say you've hit your sweet spot. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 4 S Astor St., (914) 231-7779, www.redbarn-bakery.com/.
Katonah: At both Little Joe's and Katonah Reading Room you'll find Ghirardelli hot chocolate made from a variety of milks, including almond or soy. Top it off with whipped cream or a chocolate or caramel drizzle. And, since hot chocolate isn't just for kids, there are adult versions as well including hot chocolate with espresso, mocha latte, and a cocoa caramel latte. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 26 Katonah Ave., (914) 232-7278, www.joescb.com/.
Larchmont: You have your choice of white or traditional hot chocolate (complete with a turret of whipped cream) at A Proper Cup at Voracious Reader where afterwards, you can go book browsing. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 1997 Palmer Ave., (914) 630-4581, www.thevoraciousreader.com/.
Also in town, Cocoa, which many consider the grand dame of hot chocolates. This version features a European-style winter warmer made with Belgian dark chocolate and a touch of whole milk and whipped cream. Homemade marshmallows are optional but worth going for. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 2107 Boston Post Rd., (914) 834-6464, www.cocoachocolateshop.com/.
Mamaroneck: With chocolate in its name, you know the hot chocolate at Chocolations has got to be good. Owner Maria Valente uses high-quality grade chocolate along with what she calls, her secret ingredient of love. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 607 East Boston Post Rd., (914) 777-3600, www.chocolations.com/.
Rye: Expect a creamy, decadent European-style cocoa at Blue Tulip Chocolate featuring a blend of French and Belgian chocolates. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 137 Purchase St, (914) 481-4840, www.bluetulipchocolates.com/.
Rye Brook: Dig Inn lets the customer choose their milk option -- soy, amond, whole half, then mixes it with chocolate from Boston-based Taza Chocolate which prides itself on its farmer to chocolate-maker relationship. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 112 S. Ridge St. Rye Brook; (914) 305-8463, www.diginn.com/.
Scarsdale and Rye: One sip of the dark and mercilessly rich hot chocolate at Patisserie Salzburg and you'll swear you've just sipped perfection in a cup. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 1 Christie Place, Scarsdale, (914) 472-8300 and at 77 Purchase St., Rye, (914) 921-4458, www.patisseriesalzburg.com/.
Peekskill: Hot chocolate served the old-fashioned way is how The Peekskill Coffee House does it. Just whole milk and chocolate syrup -- about a three to one ratio of dark chocolate to white. You can also substitute with skim milk, almond or soy. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 101 S Division St., (914) 739-1287, www.peekskillcoffee.com/.
Port Chester: The breads and pastries alone are worth the visit to the Kneaded Bread. Add to that the hot chocolate made with semi-sweet chocolates, a touch of vanilla and cinnamon for a rich, frothy mixture. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 181 N. Main St., (914) 937-9489, www.kneadedbread.com/.
Tarrytown: Drinks are taken seriously at Coffee Labs Roasters, and the hot chocolate is no different. Find a seat and relish in the combination of chocolate syrup and milk created with the same care that goes into their coffee. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 7 Main St. (914) 332-1479, www.coffeelabs.com/.
White Plains: City Limits is known for its coveted Valrhona Hot Chocolate, a combination of heavy cream, milk, sugar, Valrhona chocolate, a cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean... just the thing to warm you up on a winter's day. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 200 Central Ave., (914) 686-9000, www.citylimitsdiner.com/.
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