As the weather outside gets frightful, hot cocoa tastes so delightful. This is especially true in Seattle, where local artisans have raised the bar with smoked, spiced, and spiked options. Say goodbye to artificial, chalky Swiss Miss and hello to these gourmet, chocolate-y choices.
Credited with sparking America’s artisan chocolate renaissance, Fran Bigelow is one of the best chocolatiers in the nation. With 34 years under her belt, er, apron, Fran uses 65-percent Venezuelan Chocolate for her luscious hot cocoa, which can be ordered piping hot at her shops or in canisters to go. Fran’s Chocolates also makes the Obamas’ favorite sea salt caramels; now that’s a (presidential) seal of approval!
A business that began with molten chocolate cakes is destined for hot cocoa greatness. Both Ballard and Capitol Hill locations dish a variety of flavors. Try the NW Drinking Chocolate — Alder Wood smoked chocolate and organic cream steeped in orange peel and fir — and the S’mores Hot Cocoa — smoked chocolate topped with toasted marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs. Any beverage can be made boozy — a nip of scotch or Solerno, a blood orange liquor, are staff picks.
Put some ooh la la in your cup with the Chocolat Chaud at this French café. Made with bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, cream, and milk, this authentic French recipe stems from owner-chef Jim Drohman’s brief stage at a Parisian chocolatier. Each made-to-order cup comes with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, elevating this beverage into a decadent dessert.
At this Cuban-inspired café, experience south-of-the-border flavor smack dab in Queen Anne. Try the Mexican Mocha, made with Ibarra chocolate, the classic chocolate para mesa (table chocolate) found in many Mexican homes. For hot cocoa with a kick, order the famous Spicy Mexican Chocolate Mocha — Theo Chocolate, Ganesha espresso, cayenne pepper, and steamed milk.
Beloved for its handcrafted truffles, this artisanal chocolatier infuses its flavor expertise into each cup of hot cocoa. Three choices — vanilla bean, lavender, and Jamaican (spicy) — offer an intense, lingering chocolate experience. Made from premium cocoa, each delicious flavor doesn’t have dairy solids like other cocoas, making them a hit for lactose-free drinkers. Grab a cup at their chic Pioneer Square shop or a tin for home.