There’s something about hot chocolate and winter that go together. You think of roaring fireplaces, dimly-lit rooms with Christmas decorations, and coming in from the frozen New England tundra for something warming.
To validate this winter-was-made-for-hot-chocolate theory, just think of drinking hot chocolate during the summer. It just doesn’t seem right, does it? Drinking hot chocolate at the hottest time of the year is equivalent to watching A Year Without Santa on July 4th Weekend. It’s not exactly a beach drink, either.
The place you drink hot chocolate matters, too. For example, Arby’s doesn’t seem like a good match for drinking hot chocolate. I don’t think Chinese restaurants and hot chocolate go especially well together. Sipping on hot chocolate at, say, a Blue Oyster Cult reunion tour doesn’t really seem compatible, either. Or on the jury bench during jury duty.
I think it’s also best to be with a significant other when consuming hot chocolate. Conversations seem to go hand-in-hand with the drinking of hot chocolate. Many years ago when I was single, it just didn’t seem right holding my own hand when going out for some hot chocolate.
So now that we’ve seemed to get the funny stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at some dining spots in New England that are just ideal for hot chocolate. It goes without saying that spending just a few dollars on a cup of hot chocolate — and often with added whip cream at no extra charge (how cool is that?) — is a great cheap activity — and one that helps get us through the sometimes miserable New England winter. Without further ado, here are some of the best hot chocolate destinations in New England:
Dirt Cowboy Cafe, Hanover, N.H. This downtown cafe and coffeehouse near Dartmouth College serves hot chocolate that looks like something out of a food and drink magazine, or The Food Network — or even one of those small town Hallmark Christmas movies! Substantially served, exceptionally flavorful and beautifully presented, this hot chocolate surely ranks amongst the best we’ve tasted in New England.
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vt. The charming, relaxing Austrian-style resort setting and spectacular hills and mountains provide the ideal spot for a nice cup of hot chocolate at the Trapp Family Lodge Kaffeehaus. We remember visiting the Trapp Family Lodge many years ago for a nice cup of hot chocolate in the afternoon, and still remember this beautiful resort’s fabulous ambiance. Many of you probably know the Trapp Family Lodge as the setting for the Sound of Music movie starring Julie Andrews!
Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, Conn. This cozy, casual restored 1800s farmhouse in one of New England’s most beautiful small towns offers the ideal place for a cup of hot chocolate. The Vanilla Bean Cafe seems to be an unofficial town meeting place for those that enjoy good conversation and freshly-made breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I don’t know what the source is for its hot chocolate, but is it ever good!
LA Burdick, Walpole, N.H. This is the flagship LA Burdick location, nestled in the downtown of another wonderfully, quintessential small New England town. From the bakery, you can have your hot chocolate in dark, milk or white chocolate. The shaved chocolate and cocoa powder with steamed milk and topped with foam and a spice ball make for an amazing hot chocolate. You can choose from different chocolate sources, too, including Grenedian, Venezuelan, Dominican, Bolivian, Madagascan and Ecuadorian. I’m not sure what I had, just ordered “hot chocolate” and it was just fantastic! LA Burdick also has a French restaurant on the premises. LA Burdick also has locations in Cambridge, Mass., and New York City, N.Y.
Perks Coffee House, Norwood, Mass. This southwest suburban Boston coffeehouse and bakery serves up an excellent hot chocolate — full bodied in an ample serving. The funky, kind of laid-back Harvard Square feel of the place belies its suburban location. Lots of self-perceived cool people here, but also a place where townies like to frequent for some quality high lunches and baked goods.
Caffe Vittoria, Boston, Mass. This famous and longstanding North End of Boston Italian bakery is best known for its authentic Italian desserts. Coupled with some rich “Cioccolatto Caldo” — hot chocolate with whipped cream as we know it — you feel like you’re in the heart of this bustling, fun Italian neighborhood. It’s crowded, occasionally brusque and full of character and personality. Back to the hot chocolate, those 21 and older can order their drinks with Bailey’s mint and peppermint schnapps or hazelnut liqueur, kahlua and brandy.
Do you have a favorite place in New England for some hot chocolate? Please feel free to share with us in the “Leave a Reply” box below!
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