By Steven Wyman-Blackburn
4:15 PM EST, November 15, 2012
As you prepare for winter -- chopping wood, getting out the sweaters and the snow boots -- stop to enjoy one of the finest cold-weather beverages: have a cup of hot chocolate, too. Many places in Connecticut are concocting that delicious drink a little differently and, in some cases, serving hot cocoa for free!
For the last 30 years, The Village Chocolatier has participated in the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Green in Guilford. And every year owner Ingrid Collins gives away her homemade hot chocolate to those who stop by during the ceremony. She’s doing it again this year. “We make the hot chocolate in our fudge kettle,” says Collins. “If we have any Chocolate Turkey leftover from Thanksgiving, we melt it down into the pot. It’s always good when we do because it makes the mixture especially rich.” For those participating in the lighting, you don’t have to go far. Her shop is right across the street. Just follow the crosswalk and the hot chocolate is yours! The event takes place on November 30 at 6 p.m.
At New Haven food destination Claire’s Corner Copia, Manager Erin Guilb offers a variety of hot chocolate drinks that can be made under 200 calories. In addition to their regular homemade beverage, they serve a special vegan specialty. “This season, we have the Double Vegan Hot Chocolate, which is made with coconut milk and our homemade hot cocoa mix,” she says. “It’s extra chocolatey and delicious.” Claire’s also features Chai Hot Chocolate and the Triple Threat. The Triple Threat is made with chocolate mix, chocolate syrup and chocolate flavor shots. Claire’s also has Mexican Hot Chocolate -- a chili blend with cocoa powder, powdered sugar -- and many vegan offerings. “While it’s spiced, it’s not overly spicy,” she says.
Much like Claire’s, Besito in West Hartford serves a Mexican hot chocolate drink called Cocoa Caliente on their menu. According to Besito’s chef Steve Yopp, the drink was originally prepared differently. “The origins of Cocoa Caliente comes from a drink called champurrado,” he says. “Champurrado was normally made with masa corn flour, which thickened it. The drink then evolved to people using Ibarra chocolate with some warm milk, a little cinnamon and whipped cream.” One of the traditional pairings with Cocoa Caliente is warm Churro, a fried dough stick with cinnamon sugar.
Where to Get Hot Chocolate
Atticus Bookstore Cafe, 1082 Chapel St. New Haven, (203) 776-4040, atticusbookstorecafe.com. Hot Cocoa.
Bartleby’s Cafe, 46 West Main St. Mystic, (860) 245-0017, bartlebysmystic.com. Hot Chocolate with Ghirardelli chocolate mixed with steamed and foamed milk.
Bean & Leaf, 463 Bank St, New London, (860) 701-0000, bean-leaf.com. Hot Chocolate with cinnamon or peppermint.
Bella Cafe, 896 Whalley Ave. New Haven, (203) 387-7107, bellascafect.com. Traditional Hot Cocoa, Mexican Hot Cocoa, Peppermint Hot Cocoa (brunch).
Besito, 46 South Main St. West Hartford, (860) 233-2500, besitomex.com. Cocoa Caliente, Mexican hot chocolate with lbarra and whipped cream.
Book Trader Cafe, 1140 Chapel St. New Haven, (203) 787-6147. Hot Cocoa.
Cafe Atlantique, 33 River St. Milford, (203) 882-1602. Hot Chocolate, Hot Cocoa.
Cafe Romeo, 534 Orange St., (203) 865-2233, cafe-romeo.com. Hot Cocoa, White Hot Chocolate.
Chocopologie, 47 High St. New Haven (203) 786-5000. Hot Chocolate, Spicy Hot Chocolate with cayenne powder.
Claire’s Corner Copia, 1000 Chapel St. New Haven, (203) 562-3888, clairescornercopia.com. Double Vegan Hot Chocolate, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Chai Hot Chocolate and Triple Threat.
The Funky Monkey Cafe, 130 Elm St. Cheshire, (203) 439-9161, thefunkymonkeycafe.com. Raspberry Hot Chocolate made with Ghirardelli Chocolate.
Lena’s Cafe and Confections, 873 Whalley Ave, New Haven, (203) 397-5885, lenascafeandconfections.com. Hot Chocolate with soy milk substitute (brunch).
Muddy Waters Cafe, 42 Bank St. New London, (860) 444-2232. Hot Chocolate.
Village Chocolatier, 79 Whitfield St. Guilford, (203) 453-5226, thevillagechocolatier.com. Free hot chocolate for Nov 30. Christmas Tree Lighting.
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