8 Hot Spots for Hot Cocoa

Try these local spots for the perfect cup of steaming hot cocoa


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Verdigris Tea & Chocolate’s popular hot chocolate prompted owner Kim Bach to open a second shop in Catskill

There are times when only a mug of hot chocolate (preferably topped off with a marshmallow or whipped cream dollop) will do to warm you up. A number of local shops specialize in the traditional chocolate-cum-milk combination, but some offer newer variations: a spicy Mexican blend with chili, or an even sweeter option with butterscotch Schnapps. Kim Bach, who opened her Verdigris Tea shop in Hudson nine years ago, eventually renamed it Verdigris Tea & Chocolate after she increased her sweets inventory. In fact, the hot chocolate became so popular that it prompted Bach to open a second shop in Catskill last April, where she has introduced new recipes, including one made from melted chocolate ganache. “It’s like drinking a chocolate bar,” she says.

2 alices coffee lounge

2 Alices Coffee Lounge Cornwall-on-Hudson and Newburgh
Both locations offer hot chocolate (right) made with dark fudge and milk — but no whipped cream. Specialty: The “Zebra” is a stripe of another color — in this case, white and dark chocolate blended together. 845-534-4717; www.2alicescoffee.com

The Alternative Baker Rosendale
Owner Essell Hoenshell-Watson’s Belgian hot chocolate uses ganache made from Boice Brothers heavy cream and Callebaut chocolate rather than cocoa powder, and he leaves off the whipped cream. “That would be like gilding the lily,” he says. Specialties: An Italian version that’s popular in winter, Caffe Ciocolatte combines half hot chocolate and half coffee. The shop’s semifreddo is a frozen hot chocolate. 845-658-3355; www.lemoncakes.com

Godiva Chocolatier at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Central Valley
This chocolate maker sells numerous chocolate candies along with cups of hot dark chocolate with the option of whipped cream. Specialty: Godiva’s version is made with cocoa powder that’s 72 percent dark chocolate, but we’re told it doesn’t taste bitter. 845-928-4393; www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/woodbury-common/stores/godiva-chocolatier


Related: Where to Find the Best Chocolate in the Hudson Valley


last chance cheese and antiques cafe

Last Chance Cheese & Antiques Café Tannersville
This popular cheese shop/café also sells 30 to 40 different chocolates. The owners serve traditional hot chocolate, a spiced version, and “gourmet” blends. Specialties: Butterscotch hot chocolate with butterscotch Schnapps, hot chocolate with an edible caramel spoon, and hot chocolate with an edible marshmallow stick. 518-589-6424; www.lastchanceonline.com

Lucky Chocolates Saugerties
This shop prides itself on its organic chocolates and unsweetened hot cocoa, as well as the staff’s willingness to customize hot chocolate for different taste buds, says owner Rae Stang. Examples include a sweetened dark version with organic sugar, whipped cream, and tiny chocolate stars; and vegan variations with almond or soy milk. Specialties: Its European version — four ounces in an espresso cup — is said to taste like hot ganache and needs to be eaten with a spoon. 845-246-7337; www.luckychocolates.com

Oliver Kita Chocolates Rhinebeck
This chocolate emporium sells a European hot drink made from its organic dark chocolate and steamed milk. “It’s seriously intense and doesn’t need whipped cream,” says Kita. Specialty: Order the hot chocolate with a store-made marshmallow dipped in its chocolate. 845-876-2665; www.oliverkita.com

Twisted Soul Food Concepts Poughkeepsie
Come for the restaurant’s affordable street food, but definitely order the hot chocolate while you’re there. Specialty: Its Mexican hot chocolate, made with La Abuelita Mexican chocolate (which is often used in Hispanic mole sauces) and steamed milk, and has a hot-cinnamon kick. Some say it’s like eating Red Hots candies. 845-454-2770; www.twistedsoulfoodconcepts.com

Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar Hudson and Catskill
Both shops sell traditional hot chocolate and variations. Specialties: Mexican is a spicier blend with some kick, says owner Kim Bach; her new “Angelina” tastes like melted ganache and was inspired by the Parisian shop, Angelina, where Proust and Coco Chanel are said to have rubbed shoulders with a fashion-forward clientele. 518-828-3139; www.verdigristea.com

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