As the weather begins to get colder and the days begin to get darker, I’ve been craving hot chocolate. Not a cup of Starbucks with artificial peppermint syrup, but a cup of hot chocolate with real chocolate shavings in it, steamed with milk and a dollop of whipped cream on top. Yes, I’m high maintenance. Get over it.
I’ve decided to take it upon myself to try a cup of hot chocolate from five different coffee shops and restaurants around the East area: Panache, Russell Stover’s, Hi Hat, Andre’s and the Roasterie.
Panache, a small chocolate shop on the Country Club Plaza, is known for its elaborate chocolates. The employee behind the counter said that their hot chocolate was so good that people lined up until they were out the door for it. However, of the five places I visited this week, Panache was my least favorite. They were the only ones to make the hot chocolate with hot water, and not steamed milk. Though some people might prefer this kind of hot chocolate, I think it makes the beverage seemed watered down and weak. Personally, I would not wait in a line for this one.
Russell Stovers was the one place I was the most skeptical about, because they’ve sold me stale cookies and expired caramel apples before. However, their hot chocolate was delicious. It was rich, and reasonably priced at three dollars for a small cup. Though it did take a while for the drink to be made, it was well worth the wait.
I’ve never been a fan of Hi Hat, but I decided to try their hot chocolate this week since it’s a low key business, and I was on a hunt. Their drink is the lightest of the five, with a very mild chocolate taste. It was sweet, and only cost $2.50. The delicacy of the drink surprised me and made me change my mind about Hi Hat. I’ll definitely be going back for a hot chocolate in the near future.
Andre’s and the Roasterie are my two favorites. Andre’s hot chocolate was rich and sweet, with homemade whipping cream on top. Just the way I like it. It was also the most expensive, reaching four dollars. The Roasterie makes their hot chocolate with Shatto milk, so theirs was extra thick and smooth. When I reached the last few swigs, I got a sweet surprise when my mouth filled with chocolate foam.
Both Andre’s and the Roasterie are the real deal, but Andre’s turns off their espresso machine at five and closes at 5:30 on weekdays, so getting your hands on one of their masterpieces might be tricky. The Roasterie has more flexible hours, so don’t hesitate to buy one of their hot chocolates. I give Andre’s and the Roasterie five out of five stars for their perfect hot chocolates.