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Best Hot Chocolate in Boston?

In what's sure to be a contentious issue, I ask the ChowHound Masses:

Where do you go for your (best in Boston) Hot Chocolate? Maybe even with churros?

Places we've tried include Burdik's (Harvard SQ), Cafe Vanille (Charles Street) and Cafe Vittoria (South End). These all serve noteworthy, but very different, Hot Chocolates, and sorry to say, no churros.

But... maybe there's hope for something new? What about you -- where do you go for your Hot Chocolate (and churros, too!) ?

--Dave

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  1. I am all about the mexican hot chocolate from beacon hill chocolates. It has a nice kick of pepper and cinnamon that blends well with velvety texture of the regular hot chocolate. The french hot chocolate at thinking cup coffee on Tremont is also very good.

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    Tremont Cafe
    418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

    1 Reply
    1. re: BlueTrain84

      Thanks for recommending Thinking Cup. A friend and I wanted something sweet and warm last night after dinner in Chinatown. I went to TC based on your post, and we really enjoyed the French hot chocolate. I think Burdick's hot chocolate is better, but this was very good and I can't think of any other places in that area to get good hot chocolate on a Friday night. I also liked the atmosphere and the red velvet cupcake I ordered (nothing amazing but moist and tasty with tangy cream cheese frosting -- better than most of the cupcakes I've tried from cupcake boutiques).

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      Burdick's
      Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

    2. I don't know of anyplace in Boston that does churros, with or without hot chocolate. I would love to be corrected on that point, though!

      Personally, I've learned that I prefer hot cocoa to hot chocolate, especially Burdick's hot chocolate, which is far too heavy for my taste. Have not tried it at Caffe Vittoria, but I will!

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      Burdick's
      Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

      Caffe Vittoria
      296 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

      6 Replies
      1. re: Allstonian

        Ok, clarification - Hot Cocoa (melted chocolate IS too thick!)

        Still -- no churros in Boston? For real?

        1. re: dhcrusoe

          Thickness often comes from the addition of cornstarch or a similar starch-based thickener. It is particularly common in continental Europe.

        2. re: Allstonian

          I include this link merely for research purposes -

          http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=...

          I know I have had churros in Boston. Maybe at one time Orinoco had them, though does not appear to be the case now.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            I've had churros as well. I was thinking it was at Masa, but they are not showing a dessert menu on their website. So it might not have been there...

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            Masa
            439 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

            1. re: Duster17

              I definitely had them at Toro, but I don't know if hot chocolate is available there. They do come with melted chocolate for dipping.

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              Toro
              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              1. re: Duster17

                I think I had them at Avila several years ago (Stuart at Tremont) but they don't list desserts on their current menu. That and the apps and salads were highlights of the meal.

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                Tremont Cafe
                418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

          2. I can't think of a better place than LA Burdick, to be honest with you.

            8 Replies
              1. re: hiddenboston

                I agree, but I know that many find it too thick/rich.

                dhcrusoe, in case you didn't see, Boston.com posted a best-hot-chocolate slideshow recently:
                http://boston.com/thingstodo/family/g...

                My mouth is watering!

                1. re: stomachofsteel

                  i saw that and had been lusting after sofra's, which i finally had today. so good may have to make a return trip. and i'm carless in somerville:)

                  1. re: wonderwoman

                    The crowds in there are a total turn-off for me, but the hot chocolate does sound worth it. Especially since I'm not far away, and I do have a car...

                    1. re: stomachofsteel

                      Has anyone tried it @ Sofra's? I've passed by, but haven't had a chance to stop in (agree about the crowds)...

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                      Sofra
                      1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                      1. re: dhcrusoe

                        as i said, so good i may have to make a return trip.

                2. re: hiddenboston

                  I second this opinion. Burdick's has simply an amazing range, with 6 single origin cocoas I think. The white hot chocolate isn't half bad, either, with just the right amount of sweetness.

                  I'd also say that Finale's white hot chocolate is pretty great, though the other options are so-so.

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                  Burdick's
                  Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    Burdick's is my call, too, and respected CHer voodoocheese works (worked?) there. I had a colleague travel two extra t-stops each way, five days a week, to get her kiddie-size before work.

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                    Burdick's
                    Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                  2. No churros, but I've really enjoyed making my own this winter. I picked up a big bag of dutched cocoa at Penzy's in Arlington ($8.70 / lb) and have been playing with the ratios of milk, water, sugar, cream, cinnamon, cayenne, etc. As long as you don't skimp on the cocoa, you can make a really killer drink at home.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: emannths

                      I prefer the natural cocoa, but also favor the Penzey's product.

                      I've been making a hot cocoa base I call "goop," based on the mix I learned to make when I worked at the Coffee Connection back in the early1980s: use equal parts of cocoa, sugar, and heavy cream. Mix together the cocoa and sugar, and add seasonings to taste - a teaspoon of salt to 1 cup each of cocoa and sugar is good, as well as a half-teaspoon to a teaspoon of espresso powder (enough to intensify the chocolate flavor without tipping over into "mocha"), some cayenne, some cinnamon if that's to your taste. Scald the heavy cream, and add to the dry ingredients, starting with about half the amount of cream. You can mix this by hand, though a hand or stand mixer is handy to get a really smooth mix. You want to end up with a fairly thick paste, more or less ganache consistency.

                      This can be frozen or will store in the fridge for quite some time. To make into cocoa, add to taste to hot milk, heat and stir to blend - maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons of "goop" to a cup of milk. You can add sugar at this point if you like a sweeter cocoa, but I've found that I like it just fine at 1:1.

                        1. re: wonderwoman

                          Equal amounts of heavy cream, sugar and cocoa. So 1 cup cream, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup cocoa.

                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                            still miss the coffee connection after all these years. thanks for sharing..

                      1. I have had churros at the Met Club in Chestnut Hill for brunch but that was some time ago. I expect that they have a brunch menu online. My son had excellent churros at Toro in the South end last year. Sorry no up-to- date info.

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                        Toro
                        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: emilief

                          Not chowish but Costo has them at least at the Everett store,

                        2. For the churros part of the equation, they *used to* have them on the menu at Toro. Not sure if they still do since, when we ate there a month or two ago, they had gotten rid of virtually the entire dessert menu (which was tiny to begin with but did have a really amazing lemon mousse at one point on it). Iirc, churros might have been the *only* dessert they still do serve.

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                          Toro
                          1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                          1. As others have mentioned, I think they have churros at Toro. But, if I remember right they were Mexican style, not Spanish style.

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                            Toro
                            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                            1. I just tried a Midnight Sun hot chocolate at Voltage (Kendall Sq). The Midnight Sun is supposed to be flavored with cinnamon and capsicum according to their menu. Luckily it did not taste like it was flavored with bell peppers which is what capsicum makes me think of.

                              It was made with a pretty leaf-type pattern like you sometimes see in fancy cappucinos or lattes. The flavor was good, not too sweet, quite rich, with subtle cinnamon and no detectable hot pepper. The chocolate flavor was nice, but the richness came more from cream than the chocolate. I'm not sure I would call this "the best" after one try, but it certainly merits more tastings.

                              Sadly I do not know where to get good churros and hot chocolate in Boston, especially after having great ones on my honeymoon (on Hayman Island, Australia).

                              1. Churros: I think I've had them at La Verdad, but I just had them at Solea in Waltham (less than an hour ago).

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                                La Verdad
                                1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: tcd

                                  La Verdad definitely has them. Was there on Saturday and saw them on the menu but didn't try them.

                                  1. re: robwat36

                                    Great to know -- La Verdad sounds like quite the place to try (we've heard of them re: their standard plates, which are also supposed to be quite good, no?)

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                                    La Verdad
                                    1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

                                2. While it doesn't rival Burdik's, I really like the hot chocolate from Flour. It is not particularly thick (I do love pudding-like hot chocolate) but it is fairly rich and not too sweet. My usual problem with hot chocolate is it can be much too sweet.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dsackton

                                    Just returned from Barcelona with some chocolate blend from Enric Rovira -- can't wait to try! Although, I still prefer the Churros from Mexico, rather than Spain :o)

                                  2. There may be a new sheriff in town soon when it comes to Hot Chocolate. My pick for the best is Max Brenner's. I tried it in NYC this winter and loved loved loved it! Have been dreaming about it ever since. It is served in a cup you can put your hands around in a special way. The first Boston Max Brenner is opening this spring. It has been delayed and I can can not wait for it to open on Boylston St in Boston across from Lord and Taylor. Check it out and let me know what you think.

                                    1. This recipe from Tres Gatos in JP looks really good.... http://www.bostonherald.com/entertain...