Now that the weather is finally cooler, I find myself wanting to cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate. Not the watery, too-sweet instant version I grew up with (and loved) but my grown-up fantasy version of rich, steaming chocolate, made with the good stuff.
Fortunately, there are some excellent options in Houston, including the delicious Mexican hot chocolate at Hugo’s made from cocoa beans toasted and ground at the restaurant and whipped to frothy perfection. With a hint of cinnamon and vanilla aroma, it’s heavenly.
Michael’s Cookie Jar serves another of my favorites. It's made from Vahlrona chocolate, which has an intense depth of flavor like no other. Michael tops it with mini-marshmallows for that nostalgic touch.
An over-the-top hot chocolate experience can be had at the Four Seasons poolside happy hour on Thursdays featuring extra-large mugs of hot chocolate with toppings.
An over-the-top hot chocolate experience can be had at the Four Seasons poolside happy hour on Thursdays from 4:30 until 8:30 p.m. It features extra-large mugs of hot chocolate made with your choice of dark, milk or white Callebaut Belgium chocolate.
Top it off with these delectables from the hot chocolate bar: Mini-marshmallows, whipped cream, Jimmies/sprinkles, chocolate shavings, candy canes, chopped candy bars, chopped pistachios, candied orange peel, grated cinnamon, raspberries and red hots.
Also available: A choice of syrups like raspberry, gingerbread, peppermint, espresso and caramel. Or spike up that steaming cup of cocoa with a shot of Pinnacle Fluffed or Whipped Vodka, Patron XO Café, Navan Vanilla, Wild Turkey 101 or Meyers Dark Rum. ($7 for the mug of chocolate and toppings, $1 extra for the syrup and $4 per shot for the liquor.)
If you'd rather make a fabulous cup of hot chocolate at home, Vosges offers several “drinking chocolates” (available at some Whole Foods Market and online), including La Parisienne Couture Cocoa, Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa, and Bianca Couture Cocoa.
La Parisienne is my favorite with bits of real vanilla bean in the mix. The Aztec Elixir contains chilies, Mexican vanilla beans, and cinnamon. Bianca contains lemon myrtle, lavender, vanilla, and white chocolate.
I also really enjoy the drinking chocolates from Allegro, available at Whole Foods Market. Known for coffee, the company also offers a wonderful assortment of single origin bean drinking chocolates made with cocoa beans from around the world.
Styles include Columbian, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Mayan, Peruvian. Several varieties are organic. Wonderfully complex and rich, these drinking chocolates are a treat to experience.