Over the past two months, I've been taste-testing hot chocolate all around Jersey City and here are the top seven choices for every taste. The best part - these are all places where you can take it to go (meaning non-restaurant) so no delayering and relayering required.
Tied for #1
Milk Sugar Love's hot chocolate is what hot chocolate should be - comforting, creamy, rich, and with a deep chocolate flavor from actual melted chocolate that isn't overwhelmed by sugar. Plus it's the only option around that comes with your choice of freshly-made marshmallows or whipped cream. This is classic hot chocolate at its best.
Koro Koro, 538 Jersey Ave
Koro Koro's Mexican Hot Chocolate is quite different than Milk Sugar Love's in flavor, but shares a lot of the same characteristics - a lovely, rich chocolate but with a little added heat thanks to the addition of cinnamon and I suspect a little cayenne. Warming, delicious, and exciting.
These are the two best all-around great hot chocolates, ones you'll remember afterwards and crave, helping you enjoy your winter.
The Grind Shop, 360 Communipaw & The Baker Building, 234 Suydam Ave
The hot chocolate from The Grind Shop is another great all-around option with that necessary richness and nice chocolate flavor although it does get a little cloying if you drink it too quickly. A solid choice.
For the Real Chocoholics
Cocoa Bakery, 275 Grand Street
Made and served European style, this hot chocolate is absolutely, extravagantly delicious - but it's also a commitment. It will taste like you're drinking pure, high quality melted chocolate with just a smidge of steamed milk dropped in. It's worth it, but be prepared to sip slowly and savor it, making sure to keep stirring so the milk remains distributed thinning the rich chocolate out.
For Those Who Like It Fancy
L'Atelier Du Chocolat, 321 Marin Blvd, #8
This is a darker and very well-balanced cup of hot chocolate. Not too thick or cloying with a complex semi-sweet chocolate flavor, I could see this becoming the favorite for a lot of people. My issue was with the cocoa nibs they add in - a surprising and slightly more upscale touch, but one that surprised me when I started having to chew.
Downtown Yogurt, 126 Newark Ave
At only $1.50, this is the best choice for those who want to indulge, but don't love the idea of dropping $4-$5 on a cup of hot chocolate. A little on the thin side, but overall, a good choice and marshmallows are available to add on top.
Basic, 231 8th Street
Another good budget choice, this one tastes very similar, but comes in a dollar more expensive at $2.50. That said, if you're in the neighborhood and need a quick, cheap fix, this is the place to go.
Stay warm, Jersey City!