8 Spots for Hot Cocoa in the Hudson Valley
Try these local cafes for the perfect cup of steaming hot chocolate in the region.
Verdigris Tea & Chocolate’s popular hot chocolate
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 11 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, where she serves new recipes, including one made from melted chocolate ganache. “It’s like drinking a chocolate bar,” she says.
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Cornwall-on-Hudson and Newburgh
Don't let the name fool you. This coffee shop also serves up a mean hot chocolate, in both locations, the chocolatey concoction is made with dark fudge and milk — but no whipped cream. If you like white and dark chocolate, try a combination of both in the "Zebra" hot chocolate.
This shop's Belgian hot chocolate uses ganache made from Boice Brothers heavy cream and Callebaut chocolate rather than cocoa powder, and leaves off the whipped cream. Specialties: an Italian version that’s popular in winter, Caffe Ciocolatte combines half hot chocolate and half coffee.
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.
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.
Although this shop is under new ownership, the chocolate destination is still serving stellar hot cocoa. Examples include a sweetened dark version with organic sugar, whipped cream, and tiny chocolate stars; and vegan variations with almond milk. One of the special hot chocolates features a "shot" of melted dark chocolate topped with whipped cream and eaten with a spoon and pretzel.
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.
This is a sweet tooth's paradise. Not only does this shop serve homemade hot chocolate, made with hot fudge and steamed milk, but it also cranks out ice cream, smoothies, pastries, and handmade chocolates.
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.