A version of hot cocoa was first created by the Aztecs over 2,000 years ago, which means there's been plenty of time to perfect the sweet indulgence everyone loves to sip on cold winter days. And though hot chocolate is a beloved part of childhood, these 11 San Francisco spots all pour cups that are grown-up and sophisticated. Each one has something that makes it unique and totally delicious, which probably means you'll need to try them all.Read More
11 Indulgent Hot Chocolates to Drink in San Francisco
When the temperature drops, these are the hot chocolates to crave.
European-style hot chocolate is so thick and decadent, it might as well be a dessert. (Because American hot chocolate isn't?) And the Eastern European hot chocolate at Boulettes Larder in the Ferry Building is no exception. This hot chocolate is made for slowly sipping, since it's much like eating a bar of liquid chocolate (and since it's a little pricey at $6.50, you'll want to savor it). In fact, it's so thick, you might want to split it with a pal, or order the maple sugar beignets for dunking. Or both.
Craftsman and Wolves
The Valrhona hot chocolate at Craftsman is described as "sipping chocolate" because it's so thick and intense that it would be a disservice to do anything but savor it slowly. Each cup is served on a wooden block with homemade dark chocolate spearmint marshmallows that are both fluffy and divine, and perfect for delicate dunking.
Dandelion's house hot chocolate is the perfect classic version of American hot chocolate you drank as a kid... only way, way better. It's creamy and sweet (but not too sweet), comes with a little cookie, and delicious housemade marshmallows if you want them (you want them). And, if that's not enough, they also have a Mission hot chocolate (foamy, spiced, and spicy), a European drinking chocolate (Italian-inspired and thick), and, wait for it: a frozen hot chocolate, which is totally over the top in the best way possible.
Five Star Truffles and Coffee
First and foremost, drop in for a box of truffles (20 pieces for just under $20), but make sure to get a cup of hot chocolate while you're there. The chocolate flavor is rich, not too sweet, and has a hint of spice. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the coconut hot chocolate; it’s a total dream. Plus, you get a free truffle, which makes gifting that box of truffles you bought a little less bittersweet.
Jane on Fillmore
Jane's hot chocolate comes with latte art and a big homemade marshmallow, which might make it one of the most attractive hot chocolates on this list. It's also just as tasty as the others, thanks to a recipe that uses half Guittard 63% chocolate (a local institution) and half Valrhona 72% chocolate, a combination that lends to a perfectly balanced cup of hot chocolate ideal for enjoying on a cold, rainy day.
La Oaxaqueña Bakery & Restaurant
There are three things to know about the Mexican hot chocolate at La Oaxaqueña. First, is that it's made from pulverized blocks of cacao that are mixed with almonds and cinnamon, dissolved in steamed milk, and then frothed so that it's light and airy. Second is that you should add the guajillo chile powder for a kick of heat that doesn't overpower the drink. And third, is that it is served in a pitcher that fills two mugs, which makes it by far the best value on this list.
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Chocolatier Michael Recchiuti might be known for his truffles and desserts, but his dark hot chocolate is also worthy of attention. This is another hot chocolate that's exceptionally rich and decadent, even more so thanks to the homemade vanilla bean marshmallows the float on top. And while you likely won't love it if you're not a lover of dark chocolate, fans of the more bittersweet stuff will find something to crave. Unfortunately it's only available seasonally, so drink up. Summer's never felt so long.
Once you commit to the wait at Tartine, you might as well also commit to enjoying as many delicious treats as possible, which includes the silky hot chocolate made with Valrhona chocolate. Be sure to ask for the homemade whipped cream because at this point, why not?
You'll find some of SF's best spiced hot chocolate at a kiosk on the second floor of The Westfield Shopping Centre. This intense hot chocolate is so thick it almost has the consistency of a melted chocolate bar, but considering it's TCHO chocolate, that's a good thing. The cinnamon adds just enough kick to balance it all out, with the additional satisfaction of knowing that TCHO's chocolate is organic, fair trade, and made from scratch.
Yes, Tosca calls it a house "cappuccino," but the famous cocktail starts with Dandelion chocolate ganache and organic milk and omits the espresso, which sounds a whole lot like hot chocolate to us. Add in Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac and Buffalo Trace Bourbon and you've got yourself one of the best adult hot chocolates in town.
You'll want to watch the barista go to work when you order the hot chocolate at this North Beach truffle shop. It all starts with a thick melted chocolate that's poured into a cup and whisked up with frothed milk, resulting in a light, but creamy and totally indulgent cup of happiness. Bonus: you get a free truffle to enjoy while you sip.