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In the Mood for Something New: A search for the best hot chocolate in St. Louis
I hate the winter — the snow, the bitter wind, the dry hands and the need for an ice scraper in the morning. I’d prefer my snow finely crushed in a Styrofoam cup, covered in sour cherry syrup with a little umbrella on top.
However, winter does have a few perks — seasonal-musts, the things that get me through the below-freezing temperatures. I’m talking scarves, boots, fireplaces, Christmas lights and HOT CHOCOLATE!
I went on a mission to find the best hot chocolate St. Louis has to offer while keeping the driving distance from Webster University in mind.
Close to WU — Bissenger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier
Located at 32 Maryland Plaza in the Central West End, Bissenger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier sells more than assorted fine chocolates; they have a drink menu. That’s where I ordered the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I could have typed that sentence in all caps and bumped it up to 100-point font, and I still wouldn’t have done this mouth-watering beverage the justice it deserves. Recall the taste of a fresh homemade chocolate chip cookie as it is pulled from the oven — the crispness, the warmth of the melted chocolate chips — and imagine drinking that thick, creamy flavor out of a large mug overwhelmed by whipped cream. Absolute bliss. And, it’s affordable. You can get a large gourmet hot cocoa for less than $5! (And did I mention that you’ll be sipping by candlelight?)
Closer to WU — White Castle
Who would have thought, right?! White Castle definitely has the same flavor, with hot chocolate powder mixes you can make right at home. But the restaurant must go heavy on the cocoa, because it’s surprisingly thick and rich. It’s also one of the most affordable hot chocolates you’ll find on-the-run, costing you a little more than a dollar — a small price to pay for some winter warmth satisfaction! Plus, drive-thrus are also among my winter-musts. Anything to stay in that toasty car. The nearest White Castle is located at 7945 Watson Road.
Closest to WU — Kaldi’s Coffee
Kaldi’s Coffee isn’t only close to Webster, it’s right in the middle of our campus, serving up drinks and pastries from the library café on the first floor. Listen closely because this is important; there is plain hot chocolate there, and then there is Aztec Hot Cocoa. Try the latter! Before trying Bissenger’s cocoa, Kaldi’s Aztec was my long-time favorite hot chocolate. Like Bissenger’s, it’s packed with flavor, but imagine that hot cookie I mentioned earlier coming out of the oven with chocolate chips AND cinnamon chips. It’s almost spicy, but in a sweet way, like Starbucks’ Chocolate Chai Tea (but that’s a whole other column, isn’t it?).
Perhaps, we will have an early spring, but until groundhog Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow, continue sipping that chocolate goodness. It tastes like the holidays.