By Sam Kislia
When that winter chill sets in a little earlier than you’d hoped, there’s nothing like a great big mug full of hot chocolate to help you cope with the freezing temperatures. Sure, you can always whip up a batch from a store-bought mix at home, but trust us when we say there’s nothing like the real deal!
Here are some places serving hot chocolate that will make braving the winter weather completely worth your while.
Barriques uses genuine Omanhene cocoa, which is imported from Ghana by a Milwaukee-based company. If you’re looking for something to really thaw you out from a deep freeze, try the Mexican hot chocolate made with vanilla and a dash of cayenne pepper. The variations don’t stop there – for an extra treat, adults can spike their cocoa with a shot of Kahlua, Irish cream, amaretto or even peppermint schnapps.
This award-winning bistro might be best known for its gourmet French cuisine and baked goods, but their European-style hot chocolate is worthy of equal praise. La Reve begins by grinding their own cocoa beans before blending them into a cup of freshly steamed milk. The result is one of the creamiest cups of cocoa you’ll ever experience! While you’re at it, pair off your cocoa with one of La Reve’s famous pastries – it’s a match made in chocolate heaven!
A cup of hot chocolate at Sjölinds is more than just a warm treat. With so many ways to customize your cocoa, it’s truly an experience in itself! Sjölinds roasts their own cocoa beans and gives you the choice of dark or milk chocolate as your base. From there, you can choose from nine different flavors – from a “Norwegian” with warming peppermint to a “German” topped with gingerbread spices.
Of course, there will always be times when venturing out into winter weather is simply not an option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a gourmet cup Wisconsin-made cocoa from the comfort of your own home! Mack & Jack were double cousins who created a tried and true hot cocoa recipe after growing up on their family creamery near Monroe. While this delectable cocoa isn’t served in cafes, you can pick up a batch of mix at Brennan’s Country Farm Market's locations in Monroe, Madison (University Avenue or Watts Road), Brookfield and Oconomowoc, or through the Mack & Jack’s website.