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2011 - It's chilly. It's the holidays. It's hot chocolate time.

What's good?

I beautifully kicked off the season with the best Mexican hot chocolate I've ever had at C Casa in Napa.

First is was much better than real hot chocolate., The whipped cream was amazing, thick and ivory colored. The chocolate was nicely spiced, not too little not too much.

C Casa
644 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

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  1. I really enjoy the maya hot chocolate at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto. Bonus points for their ability to make it dairy free using soy milk. I'm not sure how venezuelan hot chocolate differs from mexican - perhaps the spice blend? I also love the cachapa pancake there.

    Coupa Cafe
    538 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

    1. Mmm, this thread is reminding me of the glory I experienced at Cacao Drink Chocolate in Portland. http://cacaodrinkchocolate.com/

      Other than Coupa Café, what other chocolate drinking bars are there in the Bay Area worth visiting?

      Coupa Cafe
      538 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

      2 Replies
      1. re: sairuh

        Bittersweet Cafe in Oakland: http://www.bittersweetcafe.com/store_...

        Excellent place to drink cocoa, but they also have a large selection of chocolate bars, and their cocoa mixes are great to make at home. Some times they have a killer pot de creme too.

        1. re: j mather

          I love their bicerin for my hot chocolate fix as it's spiked w a shot of espresso. Try the one made with water so that you don't think "mocha".

      2. It you want to have it on hand at home Chuao Chocolate's is very good and they're having a Black Friday-Cyber Monday special now. http://www.nexternal.com/chuao/free-h...

        1. Viva Cocolat in Petaluma serves a wonderful European Sipping Chocolate. Think of it a the espresso of hot chocolate.

          Viva Cocolat
          110 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

            A few photos of Viva Cocolat.


            Viva Cocolat
            110 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA

          2. A new SF strong contender is Ma'velous on Market near Civic Center. I wanted to like Coffee Bar on Montgomery in the FiDi, but too much globby unmelted chocolate at the bottom turned me off. Cafe Madeleine remains my favorite morning hot chocolate -- it's not so thick that it results in a daylong chocolate stupor like some of the European style drinks (Boulette's Larder, for instance).

            Cafe Madeleine
            149 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105

            1 Reply
            1. re: david kaplan

              Re Boulette's-- my thoughts exactly! That stuff is too rich for me. Reminds me of the hot chocolate that Francois Payard used to serve at his late, lamented patisserie on Madison Ave in NYC-- like drinking a melted chocolate pot de creme.

            2. Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos - in a class by itself, but not spicy mexican. I am also a huge fan of Coupa Cafe.

              Cafe Venetzia (was Del Doge) in PA - they do a chocolate that's more of a mousse crossed with a pudding in a martini glass.

              1. Petaluma PIe makes the classic American hot chocolte. This is what hot chocolate should taste like.

                I haven't been much of a fan of Tcho chocolate until this drink. Great chocolate flavor, creamy and not overly sweet. It was topped with thick, perfect whipped cream.

                When Just Dessert opened a zillion years ago, they made my favorite hot chocolate. This is so much better than that memory. It is rare that anything can top something intangable from the past.

                Petaluma Pie Company
                125 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

                1. We had a delicious cup of drinking chocolate at Saratoga Chocolates (in Saratoga and SF). http://www.saratogachocolates.com/ind... It has a nice body (not too thick) and a good level of sweetness (not too sweet).
                  While there we had to also buy the toffee tiles with little layers of carmel and sea salt. I intended to give them as a gift, but oh well, will have to go back and get some more.

                  1. Went to Coupa Cafe Downtown Palo Alto after Oren's Hummus dinner Fri 12/9/11. I got a small cup of Spicy hot chocolate $3.50 & with tax $3.79, tasty enough. Paid cash, but they take credit card.

                    Ask the cashier to see if the barista can make a "bear" on your hot chocolate. It's very cute! Barista did an awesome job. I should have asked for his name - he had a close-shaven head, Hispanic.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hhc

                      That is legitimately adorable.

                      1. re: hhc

                        Speaking of Palo Alto, the gianduja hot chocolate at Monique's Chocolates is quite good. Also comes in an iced version.

                      2. It has been a bit of a while since I have been but i have always liked the cocoa at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park., definitely of the Mexican variety.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: artychokeasana

                          GF loves their hot chocolate, although likes Coupa Cafe better.

                        2. The hot chocolate at Chocolatier Blue is very good -- I had it at their 4th St. location; don't know if it's available at the original shop on University as well. $3.50 for an 8-ounce cup; $4.50 for a 12-ounce. (Also, their chocolate chip cookie is outstanding.)

                          1. Lake Champlain Organic Hot Chocolate mix is wonderful, creamy and absolutely no graininess or artificial taste. Sold at Berkeley Bowl and online and probably lots of other places.

                            I heat in some cinnamon stick and slight dash of cayenne for Mexican flavors.

                            1. one of the best i've ever had was the french-style one from charles chocolates when they were selling at outside lands. sadly, they are no more :(

                              1. (Okay, I know it's now 2012, but I tried these last week. ;)

                                A couple friends and I went to Rue du Thé (same owners as Leland Tea in SF) in downtown Burlingame for tea, sandwiches, cookies and chocolate. Their hot chocolate menu had over half a dozen flavors, and I selected the "dark chocolate" one. It was delicious: thickish and creamy. Oddly, it was served in a paper cup even though we were eating and drinking there, especially since my companions' teas were served in ceramic cups. I'm afraid I neglected to note down the other flavors, and ask the source of the chocolate. :-\ They mixed up our sandwich order, but were very kind and comped us the extra, mistaken sandwich flavors. Overall, worth a revisit if I'm in the area.

                                I was also looking forward to obtaining some Jade chocolates for future consumption, but was told the owner no longer (indefinitely?) offers her chocolates through them. Alas.


                                Next up we went to Serendepity in San Carlos. They offer a bunch of chocolate truffles and bars by local chocolatiers (Michael Mischer, Au Coeur de Chocolats, Recchiutti, etc.), and I had purchased several, but haven't yet tried them. Suffice to say, though, there was a lot to choose from, so the variety was fun to peruse. They also offer coffee and macarons, neither which I tried, as I was feeling rather full and trying to set some limits, heh.

                                I did get a cup of their hot Mexican chocolate, which they appeared to make with a dry cocao mix plus flavored spice syrup and vanilla extract. It was tasty, although I confess I prefer the flavor of Ibarra (I admit it! Ibarra could be less sweet, so at home I cut it with added bittersweet chocolate, but I digress) or some Oaxacan tablets friends have obtained in the past. It wasn't thickened, but was smooth and not at all gritty as some chocolate drinks made with powdered cocao could be.

                                One friend got a cup of the sipping chocolate, made with water, without dairy. Very thick, luscious, and deserved being only in a demitasse-size cup, imo. Nearly like a very warm pot de crème.


                                Serendipity would also be worth another visit, at least to test *ahem* out the other offerings I didn't get to.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sairuh

                                  I also love Ibarra. I was really blown away by the Oaxacan Hot Chocolate at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in Sacramento; they use a ginger. So now I steep a few slices of ginger in the milk while it's heating up, and that makes Ibarra taste twice as good.

                                  1. re: ssfire

                                    I can never keep my hands off a recipe, so thanks for the inspiration, ssfire! I ought to do *something* with the ginger root sitting on the counter...