A year ago in October, we were in Paris and it was absolute magic. It was a last minute decision. A purely incredible deal on Iceland Air. (Note that if you’re willing to stop-over in Reykjavík while en-route to another destination, airfare can be a bargain, and you can even extend your trip, apparently with zero penalty.) Don’t get us started on how magical Paris was, but this post is about a different landscape — a frozen dusk with quiet, twinkling stars, warm, crackling firelight, snow falling — a comforting yet invigorating experience that you can find just by tasting a chocolate bar by Icelandic brand: Omnom Chocolate.
The cherry blossoms may be on their way, but there’s still time to grab a delicious hot chocolate in the District. There are numerous articles online that list top hot chocolate spots in DC, but none of them match up with this list!
- Buttercream Bakeshop‘s Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate — If you haven’t been to Buttercream Bakeshop, first of all, do yourself a favor, please go. It’s one of Time Cupsoul’s favorite bakeries in all of DC (try a Queen Bee or a unicorn bar or a muffin) and this particular hot chocolate is absolutely unbelievable; it’s like drinking a Ferrero Rocher. Hazelnut heaven. 1250 9th Street NW.
- The Royal‘s Spice Hot Chocolate — The Royal team is super creative, constantly innovating for holidays. Did you see their White Chocolate Latte for Valentine’s Day? Have you tried their Honey Bourbon Latte? Time Cupsoul is semi-obsessed with The Royal in general. There’s a mega crush going on here. Don’t miss their Spice Hot Cocoa that comes with brûléed marshmallows and yes, jalapeño. You’ll feel like you’re in a scene of Chocolat. 501 Florida Avenue NW.
- Dolcezza‘s Askinosie Hot Chocolate — When you need a classic hot chocolate fix, this is your go-to. Journey to one of Dolcezza’s DC locations and cozy up to the Askinosie hot cocoa; it’s bright and full-bodied and has natural notes of spice and caramel. Dolcezza just knows what she’s doing, gelato, chocolate and all. Various locations.
- Bourbon Coffee‘s Hot Chocolate — Another perfect location for a classic hot chocolate fix. Bourbon has a few different hot chocolate recipes for you to try. One of Time Cupsoul’s favorite coffee locales in DC, give their cocoa a chance! Various locations.
- Little Red Fox‘s Hot Cocoa — This little gem of a shop uses DC’s own Harper Macaw chocolate in their hot cocoa. Go to Little Red Fox (or The Den) on a weekend to enjoy the ambiance and be sure to pick up some of the market and food items. 5035 Connecticut Avenue NW.
- Cafe Chocolat‘s Hot (Milk) Chocolate — The new kid on the block has some great hot chocolate offerings to keep you cozy as winter melts into spring. Be sure to pick up one of the many craft chocolate bars that the shop has for sale while you’re in town. Cafe Chocolat also has a new iced hot chocolate — hello, springtime! 1423 H Street NW.
- Emissary‘s Hot Chocolate — Time Cupsoul seriously can’t believe that more folks aren’t talking about Emissary’s coffee (roaster: Counter Culture, same as The Royal), and not to mention food! Give not only Emissary’s hot cocoa a try, but literally everything else. And yes, they have avocado toast that’s Instagram-worthy. The dining area is also unique; you will find a lively energy to inevitably boost your day. A great option. 2032 P Street NW.
- The Coupe/Tryst/Open City‘s Lavender Hot Chocolate — This hot chocolate is for the more adventurous, fantastical type. Who knew that lavender could taste so good with chocolate? This drink is unique and it will simultaneously trial and test your taste buds while also calming your mind. Try it out. Time Cupsoul loves this restaurant group! Various locations (The Coupe, Tryst, Open City).
- Colada Shop‘s Chocolate de la Abuela & Churros con Chocolate — The atmosphere at Colada shop is simply unbeatable. The Latin music and Cuban charm will get your blood pumping. Enjoy their thick drinking chocolate with some freshly baked cinnamon churros. Colada also offers hot cocoa de la abuela/grandma’s hot chocolate (“classic Cuban hot chocolate”) that’s delicious. You can’t go wrong. ¡Viva el chocolate! 1405 T Street NW.
- We used to have RareSweets on this list but they are no longer in City Center, so until we’re able to taste more hot cocoa’s ourselves and then update this page, we “softly recommend” hot cocoa at The Wydown or Un Je Ne Sais Quoi! 🙂
Bonus: Pineapple and Pearls‘ hot chocolate — another delectable option to warm your spirit! We’ve also heard that Bayou Bakery in VA has amazing hot cocoa.
Which hot chocolate on the list is your favorite? What did we miss? Please comment below. Happy sipping!
Image credit, clockwise: "CostaRica_20161107_067" by QuiRag is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, "Brunch at Le Zinc, Noe Valley" by tastingsf is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, "Hot Cocoa Foam November 22, 2011 1" by stevendepolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0, "Hot chocolate" by Taku is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Experiencing a time cupsoul is all about finding time that sparks inspiration, passion, illumination, serenity and escape. A visit to a coffee shop or chocolatier certainly may ignite this sense of creativity, but there is another avenue, via reading.
“The World Atlas of Coffee” by James Hoffmann is a perfect example of a time cupsoul in a book. The design of “The World Atlas of Coffee” is stunning, filled with gorgeous pictures of coffee berries, coffee farms, latte art, and only the best high-definition images of the coffee world that a reader could hope for.
The book starts by explaining the current coffee scene, then discusses the tree (the fruit, the varieties, harvesting, processing, roasting, and of course, tasting…), and then, delves into topics related to consumption, all in beautiful detail, with paragraphs, pictures, drawings, and text boxes filled with tidbits and explanations.
One element of the text especially relevant for Time Cupsoul is the chapter regarding brewing and drinks. Illustrations of popular espresso drinks are accompanied with the history and origin of liquid recipes, including the macchiato, cappuccino and flat white. Hoffmann provides insightful background on the name, contents and the drinks’ traditions to better equip a coffee lover with ideas for what to try next.
The subsequent part of the book is devoted to “origins,” which is most akin to a traditional atlas. Major coffee-growing regions are explored in fine detail, with maps showcasing the areas of cultivation and their flavor profiles, history of cultivation and/or drinking in the specific country, and bean traceability. As a reader, one can turn to the region (Africa, Asia, and the Americas), and then sort by country, such as, Ecuador, Colombia, or Indonesia, and discover at least a two-page spread of knowledge for each nation. Again, superb information for exploring new beans and roasts.
This book is so visually attractive that coffee novices will be delighted with the layout and typography. For coffee aficionados, this book is a gold mine.
In summation, “The World Atlas of Coffee” is filled with a great wealth of wonderful coffee information and Hoffmann serves it with an innovative atlas mentality (thus far only shared with “The World Atlas of Wine”). The amount of succinctly developed commodity research residing in one book is what makes “The World Atlas of Coffee” a beautiful addition to the coffee table, yes, and a book with an encyclopedia level of high regard.
For further information, an article regarding the opus (from the author himself), is found here.
Please introduce yourself to the best chocolate in Israel: Ika Chocolate.
Time Cupsoul had ample occasion to sample Israeli chocolate brands during her beloved travels: the famous Israeli Krembo (delicious), Strauss Group’s Elite chocolate bars (delicious), Max Brenner chocolate fondue desserts (delicious) and even the creations of many smaller Israeli chocolatiers at the Chocolate Festival in Tel Aviv (here, here). Israeli chocolate is unique and delightful and perhaps it will surprise you to learn: Israel is a great country to buy chocolate from. With all this said, Ika Chocolate proved itself as the best chocolate in all of Israel.
The Swiss patisserie, Gerald, arrived in Tel Aviv in August and immediately set the standard for impeccable service, quality, flavor and decadence. Visible from Ibn Gabriol, a major street in the metropolis, Gerald’s large glass windows allow a preview inside of the shop.
Clean, exact, methodically placed pastries line up gently in a crystal clear display bar flanked by wooden shelves filled with coffee beans, white mugs and saucers, and, of course, a shiny silver espresso machine. The attention to detail at Gerald is geometric heaven. Placement and cleanliness reign supreme in a locale where sugar and chocolate could certainly escape and decorate the counters. Yet everything about Gerald remains pristine and correct. The display case begs to be photographed and admired.
This past weekend, visiting Nashville was magical. More specifically, the coffee at Crema Coffee Roasters showcased coffee-making as an art. From bean to brew, to that first taste on the lips, Crema treats coffee like a jewel begging to be extracted, revealed and polished. This time, the jewel isn’t set in a ring, it’s set for awe (and photographs) inside of a coffee mug. Please, let it “sparkle” and sip it slowly to appreciate its craft.
There is a deep attachment and love in my family for French culture — for not only the language but the country, fashion and the food. If there was a way that this post could be hidden from just my mom, who I want to surprise with this cafe, it would be done. Given that she may find it in her travel books regardless, it’s time to share an absolutely excellent example of French food in Tel Aviv: Da Da & Da Cafe on Rothschild Boulevard.
Da Da & Da is part of the Institute Français here in TLV, and its location is impeccable. Not a far walk from Independence Hall and main attractions on Rothschild, this is an essential cafe to stop by when in the city.
Though I do not have affiliation with this film, from the moment that I heard about it, I became excited. This past week it went live online. Stunning cinematography and a wonderful weaving of stories. Rent or buy this journey through coffee on Vimeo; highly recommended for coffee lovers.