Dessertbuzz | Recommended New York City hot chocolate: as a meal or easy-to-drink?


Recommended New York City hot chocolate: as a meal or easy-to-drink?

25 Jan 2012, Posted by Niko in City Bakery, Dessert Truck Works, Donatella, Francois Chocolate Bar, Jacques Torres, L.A. Burdick, Reviews, Wafels and Dinges

I have found that New Yorkers are particular about their hot chocolate.  Usually, they fall in one of two camps:

1) The hot-chocolate-as-dessert camp.  These people believe that no hot chocolate is too thick or too sludge-like.  They’re happy if a plastic spoon can be stood on end, supported only by the pudding-like contents.  They view hot chooclate as a meal.

2) The hot-chocolate-is-a-drink-like-coffee camp.  These people are no less fussy about quality, percent cacao, etc. but they believe that you should be able to drink hot chocolate easily in any situation where you would drink coffee or tea.  If they get a cup of hot chocolate and notice that it spills easily they are happy. 

To make things easy, Dessert Buzz is rolling out a 10-point scale to rate the density or thickness of the different hot chocolates.  A ranking of “one” means the hot chocolate is drinkable and fluid.  A rating of “ten” means it’s basically melted chocolate or melted chocolate with some heavy cream or half-and-half–you get the idea.

Don't miss the hot chocolate festival at City Bakery in February

City Bakery Notes: Very, very thick.  A solid 9 on the MCD scale.  Interesting and innovative flavors.  Annual hosts of the Hot Chocolate Festival.  Every day in February 2012 they will feature a different hot chocolate flavor such as fresh ginger, banana peel and “What would Faulkner drink”.

City Bakery’s website is here.  Main location is 3 West 18th Street.

Dessert Truck Works Notes: Valrhona chocolate.  Very thick, not quite as thick as City Bakery but at least an 7-8 on the MCD scale.  A long-time DessertBuzz favorite.

Dessert Truck Works is located at 6 Clinton Street.  Their website is here.

Donatella Valrhona hot chocolate with Nutella

Donatella Notes: Really more of a restaurant but I’m including them because they have such a great pastry chef in Andrea Jarosh and also superb pizza.  Not a thick hot chocolate–easy to drink (a 5 on the scale).  Also made with Valrhona chocolate.  Because they are a restaurant they can add a shot of alcohol.

Donatella is located at 184 8th Aveneue.  Donatella’s website is here.

Francois Chocolate Bar Notes:  Old school thick!  Made with milk and heavy cream or half and half in an Ugolini machine.  An 8 on the MOD scale.  Grab a famous Payard almond chocolate

Francois Chocolate Bar is located in the Plaza hotel food hall at 1 West 59th Street (Francois Payard Bakery at 116 West Houston St. also has this hot chocolate).

The Francois Payard website is here.

Jacques Torres hot chocolate

Jacques Torres Notes: Plenty of locations around the city, a number of different size and flavor options and a great value at $3.59 for the small or $4.36  for the large.  An 8-9 on the MCD scale.  Available in classic, wicked w/chilies, peanut butter and mocha.  Jacques Torres has five locations in the city.

The Jacques Torres website is here.

L.A. Burdick Notes: Our favorite easy-to-drink dark hot chocolate, a very pleasant shop in Flatiron where you can sit down and enjoy your drink.  A 3 on the MCD scale.

L.A. Burdick is located on 5 East 20th Street.  L.A. Burdick’s website is here.

Hot chocolate from Peels: Photo courtesy of Chef Shuna Lydon

Peels Notes: very thick, comes with a delicious honey-vanilla marshmallow.  They are in the 9 range on the MCD scale.  Try a slice of their “monkey bread” too.

Peels is located on 325 Bowery.  Their website is here and their bakery “special order” form is here.

La Maison du Chocolat Notes: Available in two grades–milk and dark chocolate (we agree with Kathy YL Chan of Serious Eats NY –go with the dark), nice shop to drink in (Rock Center).  A 6-7 on the MCD scale.

La Maison du Chocolat is located at 30 Rockefeller Center (49th Street).  Their website is here.

Wafels and Dinges "Choclotron"

Wafels and Dinges Notes: (See their website and Twitter feed for locations) Very thick Belgian chocolate, half-and-half base, uses similar machine to the Ugolini at Francois Chocolate Bar.  An 8-9 on the MCD scale.   Add a Liege waffle while you are at it. Tip: Check the Wafels and Dinges Twitter feed daily to learn the question for a free topping.

Wafels and Dinges’ website and schedule is here.

Other recommended NYC hot chocolate: Grom, Via Quadronno and Tarallucci E Vino.  Follow DessertBuzz on Twitter.

  • Vivian Mac

    I’m not a big fan of hot chocolate because the only ones I’ve tasted are those watered-down ones! I would definitely go for the super-thick hot chocolate- a little goes a long way.

  • Niko


    So you’re not a fan of hot chocolate because you can’t find one that’s not watered down? In NYC? That seems odd. I can assure you that none of the hot chocolates on this list are “watered down”. I don’t think any even contain any water! Well, here’s 9 recommended ones for you to try and 3 more that are supposed to be good (let me know if you try one of those)

  • David

    I just went to Donatella on Monday night, and they did not have any hot chocolate at all. I was very disappointed. So I went to Amy’s in Chelsea Market instead, and surprisingly they had quite good hot chocolate — I never knew.

    This list is otherwise excellent, though I might add D’espresso on the LES.

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  • Vivian Mac

    Haha, there seems to be a misunderstanding. I meant that the only hot chocolate I’ve tried are the not-so-good ones (drink mixes like the ones from Godiva). I always felt that they lacked the thick melted-chocolate drink that I was looking for.

  • Niko

    @ Vivian I think I knew what you meant–I was just giving you a hard time 🙂

  • Alex

    I’d be curious where you’d rank Via Quadrono on this list. I’ve always considered L.A. Burrdick to be super thick, and Via Quadrono comparable – I can’t imagine that Burrdick is only a 3 on your list!

  • Elliot Nichols

    Both coffee and hot chocolate fall into the ‘dessert’ category for me, so I can definitely relate to those in group 1.

  • suba suba

    Im obliged for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.