New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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5 unique hot chocolates near NYU to warm your winter days

Defy your end-of-semester fatigue with some chocolatey goodness. From milk to dark, sweet to nutty, there’s a hot chocolate in the city for everyone.

With the onset of 30 degree weather and snow flurries, I spent one chilly New York City week on a hot chocolate crawl. Beanie on and puffer jacket zipped up, I embarked on my journey in search of some unique iterations of the quintessential holiday drink. From stunning presentations to novel flavors, here are five notable hot chocolates around the city to warm your days.

Maman’s Lavender Hot Chocolate

The exterior of maman, where a flag with the cafe’s name hangs over the storefront and flowers are decorated around the windows. Three tables are placed outside the cafe with empty chairs around them.
(Imani Gomez for WSN)

67 University Place | $5 / $5.75

A quaint French cafe just over four blocks from Washington Square Park, Maman has an elegant take on the classic holiday drink. Its lavender hot chocolate is creamy and smooth, enhanced by a warm aroma from the cocoa powder garnish.

A white-and-blue cup of hot chocolate and cocoa powder in it. It is on a wooden table and on the cup it reads, “happy holidays” and "maman."
(Imani Gomez for WSN)

Though the lavender flavor is quite subtle, it’s slightly more prominent in smell than in taste, lending a mild herbaceousness to the drink. The lavender hot chocolate is best paired with a fresh pastry, such as the pistachio chocolate croissant filled with fragrant white chocolate pistachio ganache and dark chocolate morsels. Don’t forget to show your NYU ID for a 15% student discount.

Dominique Ansel Bakery’s Blossoming Hot Chocolate

An orange cup of hot chocolate sits next to a white lid on a white ledge. There are pastries in a display case in the background.
(Nathan Jung for WSN)

189 Spring St. | $8.50

The cost is steep, but the Blossoming Hot Chocolate from pastry chef and Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel is a photo-worthy spectacle. Served at a piping hot temperature, the hot chocolate features a beautiful marshmallow flower held in a white chocolate bonbon gently placed inside. As the bonbon melts, the flower blooms, floating at the surface of the drink — an innovative take on beverage art.

Aside from its performative nature, the hot chocolate has a pleasantly complex flavor. Rather impressively, the beverage was not too sweet, offering nutty, slightly bitter chocolate notes and a thick, velvety texture. With snowflake decorations and a gorgeous display of French pastries, Dominique Ansel Bakery is a must-visit for the season.

Max Brenner’s The Original Chocolate

An overhead light with multiple lightbulbs. Underneath, there are boxes of chocolate, some of them wrapped in gift-wrapping paper and tied with white bows. Behind them, there are shelves with more boxes, and to the right there is a sign that reads, “VERY MUCH CHOCOLATE.”
(Matt Petres for WSN)

841 Broadway | $6

Guests at the Union Square Max Brenner location are welcomed into a busy wonderland of holiday decorations, chocolate boxes — which make a perfect last-minute gift, by the way — and a family-friendly atmosphere. Served in the shop’s signature teardrop-shaped Hug Mug, Max Brenner’s original hot chocolate was frothy, though a bit too sweet.

A red-and-white cup of hot chocolate, against a blurry background. The cup has a white lid. On the cup, there is a white box with text that reads, “MAX BRENNER” and “CREATING A NEW CHOCOLATE CULTURE WORLDWIDE.”
(Matt Petres for WSN)

While certainly iconic, the drink was not well mixed. Most of the melted chocolate sank to the bottom of the mug, creating a disproportionate amount of syrupy sweetness in the last few sips. In addition to the original hot chocolate, Max Brenner sells nine additional flavors, including a seasonal peppermint variety — a testament to the “chocolate is good for you!” motto displayed on one of the restaurant’s walls.

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates’ Spicy Dark Hot Chocolate

The interior of L.A. Burdick Chocolates. There is a cashier counter in the foreground, and a menu with white text on a black board against and green-and-yellow striped wall. White fairy lights are at the top of the frame.
(Krish Dev for WSN)

156 Prince St. | $7 / $8.50

This small SoHo chocolatier specializes in dark chocolate products, offering picturesque chocolate pastries and bonbon gift boxes. Wooden accents and icicle lights hanging from the ceiling set the holiday mood for L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates’ spicy dark hot chocolate.

This was the creamiest beverage of the week, delectably frothy and deep brown in color. The quality of the chocolate itself lent just the right amount of sweetness to the drink, accompanied by a comforting warmth and light kick from the chili pepper flavor.

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop’s Wild Hot Chocolate

A yellow hot chocolate mug with a yellow plate underneath. It is on a wooden table.
(Kiran Komanduri for WSN)

28 E. 13th St. | $6.50

Despite having the same founder as Max Brenner, Blue Stripes Cacao Shop seems to be its contender. Its Wild Hot Chocolate is less of a holiday drink and more of a “cacao superfood beverage,” as its menu states. Supplemented by condensed milk or coconut milk, the Wild Hot Chocolate is not a sweet beverage. Its aroma is similar to that of a typical hot chocolate, but the base of the drink is 100% unprocessed cacao.

It has a thin consistency and natural chocolate flavor, but does not intend to achieve a standard level of sweetness — a pertinent reminder of the opportunity for uniqueness within the realm of hot chocolate. Nevertheless, Blue Stripes also sells four types of regular hot chocolate — 70% dark, milk, white and nutella — each with an optional addition of spice or sea salt. Also noteworthy are the shop’s Chocolate Clouds, a frothy, mousse-like dessert beverage.

Contact Lauren Ng at [email protected].

About the Contributors
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with the other Multimedia Editors, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres
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