1. Shake Shack (Multiple Locations)
The awesome burgers and fries you can get at Shake Shack are no secret. But you might not know that when the weather turns colder, Shake Shack starts serving up delicious Shack Hot Chocolate, made with a blend of dark chocolates, fresh cream, and milk, at all of its locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.
Note: The Madison Square Park location is closed for renovations until mid-2015.
2. Crema (Nashville, TN)
When the nights get cooler in Music City, try the hot chocolate at Crema, which is made with Askinosie chocolate from Springfield, MO. Chocolate maker Sean Askinosie and his team work directly with farmers, pay above fair trade prices, and ensure environmental sustainability in all of their practices. So you know this hot chocolate is as responsible as it is delicious.
3. Konditor & Cook (London, UK)
At Konditor & Cook's multiple locations in London, rich and steamy hot chocolate is served up alongside the bakery's renowned cakes and brownies. Sit by the window and watch the world pass before you lose yourself in a mug of hot chocolate and the a slice of Konditor and Cook's best-selling Curly Whirly cake.
4. Confiserie Sprüngli (Zurich, Switzerland)
Of course we'd expect the Swiss to make an incredible cup of hot chocolate, and what you can get here is no exception. BuzzFeed's Hannah Jewell says the hot chocolate is "like heaven mixed with ecstasy mixed with pure joy mixed with orgasms". Get me to Zurich.
5. Angelina (Paris, France)
Angelina is one of the most famous tea rooms in Paris, having hosted fashion icons like Coco Chanel since first opening its doors in 1903. The café draws many tourists, and waiting for a table without reservation could take a while, because the African Hot Chocolate is famously good. The exact recipe is kept secret, but the special blend is made with chocolates sourced from Ghana, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast. Order the signature Mont Blanc pastry on the side, and you'll be in chocolate heaven.
6. Les Deux Magots (Paris, France)
If you prefer Paris' bohemian literary scene to its history of high fashion, swap Angelina's for Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In this historic café, writers, artists, and intellectuals including Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Jean-Paul Sartre met with other creative and inquisitive minds. Order a pot of the famous hot chocolate and get inspired.
7. Baked (Brooklyn, NY)
Thanks to Food & Wine magazine, you don't even need to go to Brooklyn to get Baked's legendary Double-Chocolate Hot Chocolate. Try their adapted recipe for this rich, cold weather treat. Two kinds of chocolate, whole milk, heavy cream, and a little bit of Jack to really warm you up.
8. The Bent Spoon (Princeton, NJ)
The Bent Spoon is the place to go in Princeton when you need to cool down (with ice cream) on a hot day or warm up (with hot chocolate) on a cold one. Flavors range from white or European-style hot chocolate to habañero.
9. Cacao 70 (Montreal, QC, and Ottawa, ON, Canada)
At all three of its locations, Cacao 70 serves up a huge menu of single-origin chocolates and chocolate treats, including multiple styles of hot chocolate. Try the American-style hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows and melted chocolate, Bolognese-style hot chocolate with a hint of orange zest, or spicy hot chocolate.
10. City Bakery (New York, NY)
City Bakery is the place to go for hot chocolate in Manhattan. This is the kind you've always imagined they would serve on the Polar Express: rich, thick, smooth, and creamy, like a bar of melted chocolate. Pair your cocoa with a pretzel croissant to reenergize during your holiday shopping, or grab a cup to go and enjoy while you stroll through Madison Square Park.
11. Caffè Rivoire (Florence, Italy)
Caffè Rivoire on Piazza della Signoria is a perfect place to relax after an afternoon browsing the Uffizi Gallery or climbing the magnificent Duomo. The cioccolato caldo is syrupy and rich, almost mimicking the intensity of espresso. If you're a dark chocolate fan, ask for it without whipped cream enjoy the pure chocolate taste. If not, the whipped cream will provide the sweetness you're looking for. Another tip is to order directly at the bar, where your bill will be cheaper than if you're served at a table.
12. Chokladkoppen (Stockholm, Sweden)
Located in one of the two narrow, brightly painted buildings in the central Gamla Stan area of Stockholm, Chokladkoppen is a warm and friendly cafe with big wooden tables, low hanging lightbulbs, and beautiful rustic mugs. Head inside to warm up with a delicious cup of varm choklad, and pick up a classic Swedish cinnamon roll for good measure.
13. Mindy's Hot Chocolate (Chicago, IL)
Mindy Segal's restaurant and dessert bar in Wicker Park, Chicago is a must for anyone looking to beat the brutal winter cold on the shores of Lake Michigan. While Mindy's serves up a range of items on their brunch, lunch, and dinner menus, it's the selection of hot chocolates that takes the spotlight. And since you can order both the hot chocolate mixes and homemade marshmallow's from Mindy's website, you don't have to brave the snow in the Windy City to try it for yourself.
14. Chocolate House (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)
Located across from the Grand Palace in Luxembourg City, the Chocolate House is a must for anyone who finds themselves in the center of this small European country. The highlight of the Chocolate House experience comes from picking out your "chocolate spoon," which is technically a wooden spoon buried in a big square of chocolate. After you've chosen your flavor, they'll bring a cup of hot milk to your table in the cozy upstairs dining room, where you can unwrap your chocolate spoon and let it melt away.
15. Cacao (Portland, OR)
At Cacao Drink Chocolate in Portland, OR, one hot chocolate isn't enough. Try the flight of three drinking chocolates, including Rivoli Dark Drinking Chocolate, Cinnamon-Infused Dark Milk Drinking Chocolate, and Spicy Dark Drinking Chocolate.
16. Churrería El Moro (Mexico City, Mexico)
There's no excuse for not stopping by this churro shop in the heart of Mexico City. Watch workers as they make big circles of churros and ladle out thick cups of chocolate late into the night. You can order churros and hot chocolate separately, but why do that to yourself? These two make a perfect pair.
17. Dandelion Chocolate (San Francisco, CA)
In San Francisco's Mission District, Dandelion Chocolate serves two kinds of hot chocolate featuring their small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolates. The European drinking chocolate is rich and thick, while the Mission hot chocolate features a hint of spices, similar to Mexican hot chocolate. After you've ordered a cup, toss in a few homemade marshmallows and watch the chocolate making process from your table, or better yet, sign up for the free tour of the factory.
18. The Little Nell (Aspen, CO)
If you're lucky enough to be spending the holidays in Aspen this winter, stop in The Little Nell to warm your fingers and toes with the "Best Hot Chocolate Ever". For those of us who won't be hitting the slopes of Aspen, The Little Nell has been so kind to share the recipe on their blog. Start with smooth and creamy hot chocolate, then "supersize" it with Amaretto, Bailey's, Frangelico, and coffee liqueur. Just don't hit the black diamonds after a hot chocolate like this.
19. Fassbender & Rausch (Berlin, Germany)
Fassbender & Rausch is home to not only a vast chocolate shop full of truffles, chocolate bombes, and chocolate sculptures of landmarks like Berlin's famous Brandenburg Gate, but also a fancy chocolate restaurant AND, of course, a chocolate café serving up rich hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream. It's not cheap, but it's sort of like Disney World for chocolate lovers: worth the visit.
20. Demitasse (Los Angeles, CA)
Even if the cold never really hits Los Angeles, you'll easily find an excuse to warm up at Demitasse. This café in Little Tokyo serves a sophisticated Lavender Liquid Hot Chocolate that pairs slightly bitter hot chocolate with the floral notes of lavender and the sweet, caramel flavors of a homemade toasted marshmallow.
21. Koko Monk (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
The selection of chocolate candy at Koko Monk is adventurous and daring, with flavors like parsnip, ghost pepper, watermelon, and balsamic vinegar — and the hot chocolates are no exception to this adventurous spirit. For example, the Harem a la Turc will transport you to far away lands with the flavors of Turkish coffee, dark Belgian chocolate, cognac, and caramel.
22. Chocolaterie Beluga (Munich, Germany)
This chocolate shop in Munich's Viktualienmarkt serves modern, artfully crafted chocolates in Munich's old city atmosphere. Get a chocolate spoon and stir away in steamed milk as you watch locals browse the nearby farmers' markets and fraternize in the biergartens. Better yet, go in December to enjoy your hot chocolate as you wander through Munich's famous Christmas markets.
23. L.A. Burdick (Multiple Locations)
L.A. Burdick's white, milk, and dark hot chocolates are prepared simply with chocolate shavings and steamed milk, but the quality of products makes for an exceptional drinking chocolate. While you're inside one of their four East Coast locations, check out the selection of handmade chocolate mice and penguins, which are almost too cute to eat. If you're not in the area, you can also order all of these products on their website.
24. Conditori La Glace (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Conditori La Glace is the oldest bakery in Copenhagen, a favorite of both locals and tourists for a slice of cake and coffee. Their European-style hot chocolate isn't available to go, so it will take a little dedication to snag a table in this popular and busy shop — but the patient will be well rewarded.
25. Butlers Chocolate Café (Dublin, Ireland)
In cool and rainy Dublin, Butlers Chocolate Café has been keeping visitors warm with their large selection of hot chocolates, available in over ten flavors. You can choose from milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, praline, chili, almond, peppermint, coconut, marshmallow, and more. Throwing in a little Irish cream probably wouldn't hurt either.
26. Oyamel (Washington, DC)
At José Andrés' Oyamel in Washington, DC, order a cup of Chococolate Caliente as a warm and soothing ending to your meal. This Mexican hot chocolate, which is blended with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves, is one of the most celebrated recipes in the nation's capital. Or instead of a cup, you can order a whole pitcher. Your choice.
27. Chocolatería San Ginés (Madrid, Spain)
At Chocolatéria San Ginés in Madrid, your mug of hot chocolate instantly becomes the best dipping sauce ever. The thick hot chocolate is served alongside a big plate of warm, freshly fried churros that will ruin any churro experience you've ever had. And once you're fully addicted, Chocolatéria San Ginés is open 24 hours, which means you can get your fix of chocolate con churros at any time of night.