Shake off the winter blues by enjoying the perfect cup of something hot and steamy. St. Louis greets the winter weather with great local coffee bars, bakeries and restaurants that know just how to warm you up, even if you are frozen to the core. Melt away the winter with a piping hot cup of one of these drinks.
Chris Shearman & John Donavan
Gelateria del Leone
3197 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63116
Gelateria del Leone owner Chris Shearman and manager John Donavan take their coffee, pastries and calzones very seriously. In the Tower Grove neighborhood, very special attention is paid to providing great food, atmosphere and hot drinks because it’s the best way connect with community. Coffee and hot chocolate may seem familiar and ordinary to most, but Gelateria del Leone does it with extraordinary flair. During this frigid, snowy season, drop in and try a few of its crowd-pleasing, hot drinks to ward off the winter cold. Because they roast all coffee beans in house, you can’t help but taste the love and attention in every cup.
Most of the coffee is espresso based, so, for starters, try the house favorite, a Traditional Cappuccino. It’s two ounces of espresso with six ounces of steamed milk. You might want to pick up one of the delicious calzones or freshly made pastries to enjoy with this frothy goodness.
Many Gelateria patrons love the rich fall flavors of the Dirty Chai Latte. As chai tea becomes more popular, this version adds a jolt for those looking for the extra octane. It’s just the right blend of chai latte with a double shot of espresso. It’s a great way to enjoy the cooler seasons of St. Louis, perhaps with a side of biscotti.
If a hot chocolate drink is more your speed, the possibilities are endless. A must-try beverage is the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Gelateria del Leone blends a special, house-made cocoa powder of Dutch cocoa, a rich French Brute cocoa powder and sugar granules, steamed with whole milk, drizzled with caramel sauce and topped off with a garnish of sea salt. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and salty, rich and wonderful.
A richer, condensed version of the original hot cioccolata is the Raspberry Cioccolata. The same house blend of Dutch and Brute cocoa powder is steamed with half and half and a shot of raspberry syrup. This warm chocolate and fruity combo is a real crowd pleaser.
Try a simple Macchiato if you are on the go. Two ounces of espresso dropped into two ounces of foam milk thrust you into the day in the gentlest and creamiest of ways.
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Gelateria del Leone is famous for its hot drinks, but it’s equally famous for its café and bakery menus, as well. The perfect complement to these tummy-warming beverages is a freshly made calzone or bakery treat. All baked goods are made fresh daily, so pick up a fruit and cheese Danish, your favorite variety of scone, frittatas, turnovers, cookies or quiches as a side to your espresso or cioccolata.
Fight off the winter, cabin fever blues by packing the family up or rendezvous with a significant other and make a trip to Tower Grove to enjoy one or more of these soul-warming treats. Gelateria del Leone is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Lisa Payne-Naeger, a native of the St. Louis area, is a freelance writer, blogger, political activist and a homeschooling mother of two children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.