Stay Warm This Winter with Boston’s Best Hot Chocolate

By Eric Twardzik

Nothing takes the edge off New England winter quite like a cup of hot cocoa. From ultra-traditional drinking chocolate to spiced iterations—and even a dairy-free alternative—the hot chocolates these local purveyors prepare are worth every sip.

Gâté Comme des Filles

Bow Market’s resident chocolatier Gâté Comme des Filles is helmed by a Cambridge native who spent time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked as a pastry chef under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. Translation: You can expect the Parisian-style Hot Chocolate from Gâté Comme des Filles to be on-point, including its thick dollop of fresh whipped cream. The counter-service spot will be open for the winter starting January 27, 2021.

L.A. Burdick Chocolates, a chocolate-centric café with locations in Back Bay and Harvard Square, specializes in rich and viscous European-style Drinking Chocolate that feels as if a whole bar just melted in your mug. Choose between milk, dark, or white drinking chocolate—or sample one of their single-source varieties touting the terroir of cacao grown in Ecuador or Madagascar. Both locations are currently open; order online or directly in the shop.

Nothing about chef Joanne Chang’s local chain Flour Bakery + Cafe is basic, hot chocolate included. At any of the locations scattered throughout Boston you can pick up a steaming cup made with a rich chocolate ganache. It’s the perfect pairing to any of Flour’s pastries, from the homemade Oreo Cookie to the Bittersweet Chocolate Brownie. Order it for pickup or delivery online. (Vegans take note: the hot chocolate ganache contains dairy.)

Curio Coffee

Currently open for takeout, Cambridge’s Curio Coffee is located less than a mile from the Taza Chocolate factory in Somerville—a fact of geography the small cafe takes full advantage of by melting Taza’s stone-ground, Mexican-style chocolate to produce a rich and dark cup of cocoa. It’s best paired with a chewy Liege waffle that can pull dipping duty if needed.

The Mexican Chocolate prepared at all Boston-area outposts of Life Alive Organic Cafe helps the dairy-averse find their hot cocoa fix, but we’d recommend this lactose-free treat to all comers. It swaps out milk for a homemade coconut crème, gets spiced up with cayenne and cinnamon, and even includes activated charcoal for a toxin-cleansing health boost. You can order yours steamy hot or opt for it shaken and chilled over ice. Most locations are open for takeout or delivery; visit their website to view current hours and order online.

Somerville’s Vinal Bakery may be best known for its English muffins, but the spot also sells a knockout hot chocolate with a vegan ganache made from Valrhona dark chocolate. Heated with steamed milk, the resulting cup is rich, creamy, and frothy while staying remarkably light. For maximum efficiency, order your drink ahead of time and pick it up directly from Vinal’s takeout window.

Petrova Chocolates

Credit: Betty Petrova

Instead of having a storefront, fine local chocolatier Petrova Chocolates maintains an online shop. Visit the site to pick up a “Hot Chocolate Bomb,” a solid concoction comprised of dark chocolate, marshmallow, sugar, and cocoa powder. All you need is a mug and a cup of steaming hot milk to transform it into a rich, creamy hot chocolate from the comfort of your couch. And thanks to Petrova’s A+ packaging, it’s (almost) as satisfying to give as it is to receive.

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