EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- With so many "named days" this season (think Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday), it's easy to lose track of the fact that today, Dec. 12, is National Cocoa Day.
Which -- if you take the leap with us thanks to this cold weather with who-knows-what in the upcoming forecast -- means hot chocolate time. After all, if you're going to indulge in this winter warmer, you might as well go for the good stuff. Some area options (in no particular order):
Hot Chocolate, Pane & Gelato : Everything about this cozy ice cream parlor/pastry shop screams Italian, right down to the Sicilian ingredients used in all of its products. That means a mug filled with rich, creamy, decadent chocolate straight from the old country; whipped cream optional. "We're all about doing what the customer wants," said owner Paolo Pilano. There's also, of course, chocolate gelato, which Pilano makes fresh every morning. Warm Up : 290 White Plains Road, Eastchester, (914) 337-1800.
Mexican Hot Chocolate, Mambo 64 : Talk about heat. A pinch of cayenne pepper adds a zingy spiciness to this hot chocolate served with cinnamon, sugar with steaming hot whole milk. To add an adult element, add Kahlua and whipped cream for a warmth that lingers long after the first sip. Warm Up: 64 Main St., Tuckahoe, (914) 222-9964, www.mambo64.com/ .
Comfort In A Cup, Cafe 72 : This coffee shop takes its chocolate seriously with two distinct varieties. There's Comfort In A Cup, a bittersweet hot chocolate featuring cinnamon and vanilla and topped with whipped cream or a rich Ghirardelli's version topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and mini chocolate chips. Warm Up: 72 Main St., Tuckahoe, (914) 268-0272.
Hot Chocolate, La Renaissance Pâtisserie Française : For a sophisticated "Left Bank" taste, duck into this French patisserie for a steaming oversized saucer made with ganache and foamed, frothy milk. Warm Up: 9 Harwood Court, Scarsdale, (914) 472-0702, www.lrbakery.com/.
Chocolate Lava Cake, Eastchester Fish Gourmet: OK, it's not hot chocolate you can sip out of a mug but it is technically hot chocolate. The minute you put your fork into this warmly served molten dessert, the chocolate oozes out, making for a perfect way to get your sugar fix and a great way to celebrate National Cocoa Day. Warm Up: 837 White Plains Road, Scarsdale, (914) 725-3450, www.eastchesterfish.com/.
Have a favorite hot chocolate we missed? Tell us about it in the Comments section below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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