It’s that time of year again…the time where cool weather makes you want to surround yourself with all things cozy and warm. There are many things I love about Fall/Winter: pumpkin flavored everything, cheery holiday music, Winter White Chocolate ice cream at Baskin Robbins (!), snugly PJ’s, and a million reasons to indulge in a steaming cup of Hot Chocolate!
I feel like the world knows about all of these amazing Hot Chocolates and not sure why they haven’t shared this information with me (Mom!!) I have decided that I’m going to be on a mission this season to discover and taste really exceptional Hot Chocolates…beyond the powder and packets found at your local supermarket…I want unique, artisanal types of Hot Chocolate, the kind that with one sip you feel like you’ve just received a huge hug from your grandmother…where you can taste the quality of the ingredients that go into making this little cup of instant happiness.
My 1st discovery came on my recent trip to San Francisco. The weather that weekend was perfectly cool and crisp, and as a result, Ashley and I became obsessed with the idea of sipping mugs of Hot Chocolate in front of her fireplace while watching movies!...but we wouldn’t settle for Swiss Miss or Nestle…Ashley is a fiend for anything Williams-Sonoma and she insisted they are the makers of the absolute best hot chocolate ever!! We literally drove all over the city looking for a Williams-Sonoma that was actually open on a Sunday…we finally found one in Union Square and picked up a canister of their Rich & Creamy Original Hot Chocolate along with a box of handcrafted Vanilla Marshmallows!
I was surprised to find large chocolate shavings inside of the canister…did you know that there is a difference between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa? I didn’t! Hot Cocoa is made with cocoa powder which is pulverized unsweetened baking chocolate, while Hot Chocolate is made from solid chocolate creating a drink that is much more rich and dense. It does take a smidge more time to make than Hot Cocoa…but so worth it!! You whisk the chocolate shavings into boiling hot milk, pour into your favorite cup and then dunk one of the huge Williams-Sonoma marshmallows into the now creamy cup of liquid chocolate. Seriously the best Hot Chocolate I have ever had…it has a mild milk chocolate flavor, not too strong, not too creamy (and extra points for the sweet, puffy marshmallow and the fact that it lasts long enough to enjoy a little with each sip of Hot Chocolate!)
The 2nd one I found at my favorite Calabasas lunch spot Blue Table…they have loads of tempting gourmet confections around the tiny shop and I picked up this cute little cube of chocolate with a wooden stick shoved into the center. Was it a lollipop, fudge square, chocolate covered caramel???...no it was Hot Chocolate on a stick (!!) I’d never seen anything like it, so of course I had to try it out of sheer curiosity!
I suppose if there were an instant version of Hot Chocolate…this would be it. All you have to do it heat up a cup of milk, dip the Hot Chocolate Stick into it and swirl…so easy! The chocolate melts down pretty quickly and soon you’ll have a decadent chocolaty treat! This one has a more intense chocolate flavor than the Williams-Sonoma Hot Chocolate. So when you really need a chocolate fix…pick up a few of these and you’ll be set!
I’m continuing the search so let me know if you come across or know of any amazing, unique, beyond tasty Hot Chocolates/Cocoas/Sipping Chocolates I should try!
Hot Chocolate Sticks