Boston’s Best Hot Chocolate

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Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop, Aztec Hot Chocolate / Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Why settle for a cup of Swiss Miss at home when Boston’s best cafés and coffee shops each have brilliant twists on the classic cup of cocoa? From Flour’s spicy sipper, to Gracenote Coffee’s hedonistic craft chocolate, here are 12 decadent hot chocolates to sip around Boston this winter.

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

1369 Coffee House
Almond Joy

The Cambridge-based coffee shops claim this cup is better than the candy it’s named after. It’s made in the same manner as their award-winning lattes, but to create the Almond Joy, the baristas add steamed milk to almond syrup, coconut, Dutch cocoa, and–at the customer’s request–whipped cream.

1369 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-576-1369, 757 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-576-4600,

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Caffe Vittoria
Cioccolatto Caldo

The quintessential North End coffee shop serves the city’s most authentic cup of Italian-style hot chocolate, which is just as much a dessert as it is a drink. The secret ingredient in cioccolatto caldo is corn starch, which thickens the whole mixture. You may want a spoon–or a delicious pastry–to go with this one.

290 Hanover St., Boston, 617-227-7606,

Alex Trimm Photography

Alex Trimm Photography

Diesel Café
Tuck’s Turtle

Hazelnut, whipped cream, and homemade salted caramel combine with steamed milk to make up the decadent Tuck’s Turtle, the specialty hot chocolate at Davis Square’s Diesel Café.

Diesel Café, 257 Elm St., Somerville, 617-629-8717, diesel-café.com.

Photo courtesy of Flour Bakery + Cafe

Photo courtesy of Flour Bakery + Café

Flour Bakery + Café
Fiery Hot Chocolate

James Beard Award-winning baker Joanne Chang’s food may be the main reason to visit one of seven Flour Bakery locations, but the drinks are the reason to linger. This spicy mixture of chocolate ganache, steamed milk, chili powder, and cayenne pepper is a good bet to blast the winter blues away.

Flour Bakery + Café, multiple locations,

Photo courtesy of Gracenote Coffee

Photo courtesy of Gracenote Coffee

Gracenote Coffee
Hot Chocolate

Java may be the focus at the coffee bar brainchild of the founder of the Coffee Trike and Gracenote Coffee Roasters, but the hot chocolate is equally well made. With Mapleline milk from Hadley and Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate ganache from Eureka, Calif., it has notes of molasses, orange, raisins, and toast–but most importantly, chocolate.

Gracenote Coffee, 108 Lincoln St., Boston, 857-321-0744,
Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Jaho Coffee & Tea
Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

This red velvet cake-in-a-cup has notes of cream cheese flavor to balance the sweetness of the red cocoa, and it’s a brilliant pink color. The Red Velvet Hot Chocolate is rich, thick, and also available as part of a seasonal cocktail with rum and coconut rum at Jaho’s downtown coffee and wine bar.

Jaho Coffee & Tea, 1651 Washington St., Boston, 617-236-1680, Jaho Coffee Roaster & Wine Bar, 665 Washington St., Boston, 857-233-4094,

Photo courtesy of L.A. Burdick

Photo courtesy of L.A. Burdick

L.A. Burdick
Dark Drinking Chocolate

The drinking chocolate comes in small servings, but it’s made with a blend of dark couvertures, a high-quality chocolate with a ridiculously high percentage of cocoa butter. It’s so rich and creamy that drinking it feels like more like dessert than a pick-me-up. The molten chocolate mix is also available to purchase by the bag, for the inevitable days when Boston winter prevents you from venturing out the house.

220 Clarendon St., Boston, 617-303-0113, 52 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-491-4340,

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop
Aztec Hot Chocolate

All of Oakleaf’s hot chocolates are made with a house-crafted mix, but the Aztec version stands out. It’s made with extra Dutch cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, for a rich, hearty and sweet drink with a spicy finish. But the star of the cup is the house-made marshmallow, which can be enjoyed on its own or left to dissolve in the drink, at the sipper’s discretion.

Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop, 12 Westland Ave, Boston, 617-299-1504,

Photo courtesy of Paris Creperie

Photo courtesy of Paris Creperie

Paris Creperie
Nutella Hot Chocolate

Can’t get enough Nutella? This Brookline café makes its hot chocolate using warm milk on the stove and the hazelnut spread instead of a bar of chocolate. The result is a creamy, nutty, and chocolatey blend, topped with cocoa powder, and the option to add raspberry or mint to the whole concoction.

Paris Creperie, 278 Harvard St, Brookline 617-232-1770,

Photo courtesy of Sofra Bakery

Photo courtesy of Sofra Bakery & Cafe

Sofra Bakery & Café
Sesame Caramel Hot Chocolate

The sesame hot chocolate is a blend of the café’s creamy cocoa with sesame caramel to give the whole thing a sweet, Middle Eastern twist.

Sofra Bakery & Café, 1 Belmont St, Cambridge, 617-661-3161,

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Photo by Lloyd Mallison

Tatte Bakery & Café
White Belgian Hot Cocoa

If you prefer your cocoa on the sweeter side, seek out this version with high-quality Belgian white chocolate at Tatte’s Parisian style cafés. The white chocolate morsels are added to the bottom of the cup, melted by pouring steamed milk over them, and then mixed by hand for a light, sweet, and steamy beverage.

Tatte Bakery & Café, multiple locations,

Thinking Cup
French Hot Chocolate 

It may be hard to pass on Thinking Cup’s world-class Stumptown Coffee, but the French hot chocolate–made with Valrhona’s 64 percent Tainori drinking chocolate–is even more indulgent. When it’s cold outside, a mug pairs perfectly with a good book or some intelligent conversation.

165 Tremont St., Boston, 617-482-5555, 236 Hanover St., Boston, 857-233-5277, 85 Newbury St., Boston, 617-247-3333,

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