In the Drink

Liquid Decadence

Photo by Heidi ReuterBy the time February rolls around, the thrill of winter’s chill starts to fade. But before you don an arctic pout, there is relief in sight: luscious, velvety-smooth European-style hot chocolate, which is easy to make at home and even easier to order. Naked Chocolate Café has a half-dozen varieties of this wintertime elixir, and all will make six more weeks of cold weather feel like a walk in the park.

Thick and creamy—not watery and gritty like those grocery-store versions you’ve been torturing your taste buds with at home—European-style hot chocolate is made with melted bars of chocolate for a rounder, more deeply flavored alternative that falls somewhere between an espresso and a latté. And depending on the percentage of bittersweet chocolate used, it can be far more bracing. NCC’s basic formula is a blend of 58-percent dark chocolate, 72-percent dark chocolate, and a portion of powdered cocoa.

Other flavors include the Aztec, like eating an apple pie filled with chocolate; the Spicy, which has cayenne, chili and cinnamon powder; and the Hawaiian, whose lava salt and caramel combines for a taste reminiscent of a chocolate-covered pretzel. For do-it-yourselfers, there’s a $15 16-ounce package of premixed Classic that comes with directions for how to whip up more exotic varieties at home.

3421 Walnut St., (215) 222-3710; 1317 Walnut St., (215) 735-7310; Philadelphia; nakedchocolatecafe.com.

 

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