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 warm, "hug in a mug" -- hot chocolate delights that warm frosty fingers and toes.
- Blue Tulip Chocolates, Rye: This jewel box of a shop features a creamy, decadent cocoa featuring a blend of French and Belgian chocolates.
- Chocolations, Mamaroneck: Chocolate is the base of everything here, which means you'll find high-quality grade chocolate along with what Owner Maria Valente calls, her "secret ingredient" of love.
- City Limits, White Plains: A combination of heavy cream, milk, sugar, Valrhona chocolate, a cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean is just the thing to fortify you for another foray outside.
- Cocoa, Larchmont: Known as the grand dame of hot chocolates, this version features a European-style winter warmer made with Belgian dark chocolate, a touch of whole milk and whipped cream. Homemade marshmallows are optional but worth every calorie. The same chocolate-y goodness is found across the street at Bread & Cocoa .
- First Village Coffee, Ossining: Thanks to a variety of house-made syrups, First Village can create a host of interesting hot chocolate creations including lavender, vanilla, peppermint, caramel and churro. (Owner Luis Corena predicts the purple lavender version will be his biggest winter hit). Each cup is made individually with either Battenkill Valley Creamery milk or milk alternatives (i.e almond, oat, or soy). First Village also has a "famous" (yet to be named) hot chocolate bear that delights both kids and adults.
- Kneaded Bread, Port Chester: Semi-sweet chocolates, a touch of vanilla and cinnamon make for a rich, frothy hot chocolate mixture. Paired with a pastry or freshly-baked roll and you'll soon forget about the frightful weather outside.
- Little Joe's and Katonah Reading Room, Katonah: Get toasty with 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. New this season: white chocolate or hot chocolate lattes.
- Muddy Water Coffee & Cafe, Tarrytown: Local organic milk is mixed with a dark chocolate sauce to create a decadent, rich, classic hot chocolate. You can also add any of the cafe's syrups -- think vanilla, gingerbread, caramel and peppermint -- to customize your own blend.
- Patisserie Salzburg, Rye, Scarsdale: One sip and you'll swear you've just tasted perfection in a cup. This thick mixture has a European flair and just the right amount of sweetness to get you back into your coat and out the door feeling like you can conquer winter.
- Pete's Park Place Tavern. Bronxville: Who wants a spiked drink? At Pete's you'll find a Butterscotch hot cocoa with butterscotch liqueur chocolate Godiva liqueur, hot chocolate and whipped cream or a Peppermint Patty with peppermint schnapps, hot chocolate and whipped cream.
- Red Barn Bakery, Irvington: Talk about hitting your sweet spot. Red Barn specializes in velvety hot cocoa made with dark chunks of Italian chocolate and frothy Half & Half, steamed as one would an espresso. Pair with one of the bakery's organic or gluten-free goodies and you're good to go.
- Slave to the Grind, Bronxville: Thanks to a variety of syrups -- hazelnut, peppermint, strawberry, etc. -- you can craft your own drink, or just order your hot chocolate the old-fashioned way. Popular for those with a sweet tooth: S'Mores made with graham crackers and marshmallows.
- Tazza Cafe, Armonk, Millwood, Katonah: Craft your own hot chocolate, choosing the kind of milk, and the syrup (think caramel or peppermint). Whipped cream optional.
- The Black Cow Coffee Company, Croton, Pleasantville: The aroma of fresh brew hits you in all its caffeinated glory the minute you walk through the door making it hard to pick between a latte or a hot chocolate. But, Hershey's syrup and steamed milk has its own siren call. On request, you can add a syrup like peppermint or mocha and get it topped with whipped cream.
- The Granola Bar, Armonk, Rye: 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 Peekskill Coffee House, Peekskill: Enjoy hot chocolate the old-fashioned way -- with whole milk and chocolate syrup (you can substitute with skim milk, almond or soy) for a chocolate fix that feels like coziness in a cup.
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