Not only does winter provide the perfect climate for sipping hot chocolate, but it’s also known as the season of giving and family time. Many of the shops below sell handcrafted delicacies perfect for gifts in addition to their amazing drinking chocolate. You might decide to sweeten up someone’s day by delivering a chocolaty treat.
Escazu Artisan Chocolates
In the Mordecai neighborhood, there is a retail store like no other. There the employees work tirelessly to craft elaborate truffles and confections. You can find coffee drinks made from Counter Culture coffee, freshly made ice cream push-ups, and an extensive variety of drinking chocolates. The Xochiaya dairy-free hot chocolate is a specialty that vegans and those with dairy allergies relish.
Videri Chocolate Factory
Savor the aroma of paradise in the repurposed Raleigh Depot, owned and operated by three local residents. Feel free to spend some time admiring the chocolatiers as they work on the factory floor, slip onto the outdoor patio to relax a bit, or shop in the retail space. Patrons of this company witness mocha production right before their eyes. Freshly brewed coffee, pure chocolate, and milk combine in your cup for an experience not easily replicated.
Videri purchases their beans from lush plantations in South and Central America. They prioritize fair trade and buy organics whenever possible. Their chocolate contains natural ingredients you can pronounce. If you are unable to make it to the store, you can ship their hot chocolate mix to friends directly from their website.
Since the late 1990s, this upscale restaurant has been running in a renovated 1950s building in Glenwood South. They focus on local ingredients and offer a full menu, including gluten-free and vegan options. Dine in for breakfast during the week, brunch on the weekends, and salads and sandwiches anytime. Their Alegria Menu is served Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and consists of beef Parmesan meatballs, grilled octopus, caprice salad, lamb lollipops, and more.
Whether you are meeting up with associates for a formal dinner or meeting for a midmorning energy booster, you can sip your hot chocolate in style. Flavor shots such as peppermint, pumpkin, and vanilla add a little extra oomph to your mug.
The Morning Times
After a long day, unwind in the upstairs gallery of this decade-old establishment. The baristas aim to please as they prepare you a cup of freshly-brewed Counter Culture coffee. In addition to hot chocolate, they serve a small menu from open until 4 p.m. Enjoy sandwiches like smoked tempeh, roasted turkey melt, and lox or savor some of the house specialties like French toast, chicken and waffles, or corned beef and hash. Whatever you order, they offer exceptional customer service.
Instead of grumbling on those chilly days when you yearn for summer, hop into one of the local businesses listed above for refuge from the chill and hot chocolate that is to die for. Pass on the cheer by documenting your favorite spot on Foursquare or Yelp. These small business owners can use your support to keep their doors open.