By 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 CafÃ© 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 lattÃ©. 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.