5 Kickass… Hot Chocolate Havens
While many of us love to warm up in the winter by taking part in libations at our favorite neighborhood bar, sometimes that pint is not enough to warm the toes. Try sitting down with one of these delectable, gourmet cups of hot chocolate. As each haven is reasonably priced and has plenty of options, you are sure to find the perfect frothy, cocoa deliciousness to satisfy your taste buds.
Hot Chocolate | hotchocolatechicago.com
1747 N. Damen Ave, Wicker Park
If we’re going to make a list of hot chocolate havens, we’ve got to include the eponymous Hot Chocolate, located in Chicago’s Wicker Park. Head over to this swanky, hip restaurant to sample one of their six different hot chocolates including Light—with “eggnog” white chocolate,—Dark—with 72 percent dark chocolate,—and every shade in between. Don’t forget to plop on your homemade (and square!) marshmallow.
Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and after-dinner desserts, this place has it all. If you’re not feeling the “hot” in your chocolate, why not try the Cold Chocolate? It’s vanilla cognac, vodka, and house-made chocolate milk.
Vosges Haut Chocolat | vosgeschocolate.com
520 N. Michigan Avenue (North Bridge Mall), River North
951 W. Armitage, Lincoln Park
773-388-5560 / 888.301.YUMM (9866)
If you’re aiming to drink the most decadent hot chocolate in the city, go for Vosges’ Drinking Chocolates at Vosges Haut Chocolat. Take a seat at their hot chocolate bar and order your favorite or purchase a bag to bring home. Rachael Ray calls Vosges’ “La Parisienne Couture Cocoa” the best hot chocolate. If she’s in, we’re in.
Vosges will be an instant favorite as soon as you walk in. Not only do they have divine drinking chocolates, but they hand out free samples of their unique chocolate creations. They are famous for their Bacon & Chocolate line. Be careful at Vosges, however, as it is a little pricier than the other locations on this list. Walking away with a gourmet bag of hot chocolate mix for $15? Worth it.
Kopi Traveler’s Café | Learn more about Kopi on UPchicago
5317 N. Clark Street, Andersonville
With a substantial drink list including both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, Kopi Traveler’s Café seems to specialize in everything—including hot chocolate. With six variations, all containing premium Ghirardelli chocolate, Kopi satisfies any weary traveler trekking through the barren Chicago tundra.
Bring a book (this place doesn’t have WIFI), settle in next to their many traveling books or worldly paraphernalia, and try a Peppermint Patty— Ghirardelli hot chocolate, green mint monin, topped with whipped cream.
449 N Clark St, River North
You’ve probably heard about the trio of Rick Bayless restaurants on Chicago’s North Side, but have you tried the hot chocolate? XOCO, a Mexican cuisine sandwich and soup shop, boasts several varieties of Mexican drinking chocolates that will have you coming back again and again (not to mention their stellar churros). Their trick is they grind fresh-roasted cacao beans on-site. They have four variations including Authentic (chocolate + water), Aztec (add some spices), Classic (add some milk for a more traditional hot chocolate), or Barcelona.
XOCO gets packed, however, so plan your visit well. Otherwise you’ll find yourself standing in a snaking line behind other chocolate and churro fans. Either way, XOCO drinking chocolates are worth it.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop and Soda Fountain | ghirardelli.com
830 North Michigan Avenue, Streeterville/Magnificent Mile
Go straight to the source to suck down some gourmet hot chocolate at this chocolate mega store. The Magnificent Mile giving you the chills? Stop in this chocolatier and try their delicious hot chocolates. You can browse or buy other treats, or even purchase some hot chocolate mix to bring home. The servers are frequently handing out free samples of chocolate and peppermints, which are sure to hit the spot while you wait in line at this popular ice cream, chocolate, and gourmet drink shop.
And if you haven’t already checked it out, go read our tips on Surviving the Chicago Winter. With these tips and a nice cup of hot chocolate in hand, you might actually start to enjoy winter in Chicago.