54 Railroad Place
Westport, CT 06880
Waiting for the morning train can be a chilly torture, but at the Saugatuck Train Station in Westport, there is warmth, joy and solace to be found in a gourmet cup of hot chocolate made fresh at Cocoa Michelle. The Euro Cocoa in particular is a special treat, as it is prepared from a recipe designed by the owner, a trained chocolatier who hand picks designer and artisan chocolates and coffees from around the region – and who has pastries brought in daily on the morning train from New York. The café inside her chocolate shop has baristas who use beans delivered fresh from Bonjo Coffee Roasters of Stamford, and who will, if asked, add hot chocolate to the espresso, latte, cappuccino or regular coffee. And while that combo of chocolate and caffeine provides a nice kick, the Euro Cocoa alone is a great way to start – or end – a day commuting to or from the city.
12 Main St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
For hot chocolate fans, Café Chocopologie is a welcome addition to the Knipschildt Chocolatier store in Norwalk. Owner and master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt has a wall of local and regional awards that attest to his craftsmanship, but as with any gourmet candy store, the proof is in the tasting – and this Danish immigrant uses only top-notch ingredients in his confections. The “open kitchen” environment allows customers to watch as he and his staff make their candies and treats, and such viewing is made all the more enjoyable with a frothy cup of his very special hot chocolate, made with “deep, rich, dark chocolate” and espresso and topped with lavender foam.
Related: Top Apple Pie In Connecticut
Modern Pastry Shop
422 Franklin Ave.
Hartford, CT 06114
Despite its rather bland name, Modern Pastry Shop is an old-fashioned, old-school Italian bakery and café – and that means not only really good espresso and cappuccino to go with the fine pastries, but also top-notch hot cocoa to match. The “coffee counter” is a 1950s-style sit-down lunch counter complete with little round stools. The coffee and hot chocolate are made fresh and rich, and are the perfect accompaniment to a plate of home-made Italian cookies, a slice of cake or a pastry.
133 Washington St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
At Sono Caffeine, the hot chocolate comes in dark and light. The regular hot chocolate is deep dark and delicious, and made with what the baristas call “creamy” steamed fresh whole milk. Then there is the light variety – made with white chocolate. The nice people at Sono will add chocolate to any espresso, cappuccino or other coffee drink (the Mochaccino is made by pouring the espresso over the dark chocolate after it has been frothed), but the “Hot Blanca,” as the white chocolate drink is known, is unique, warming and a bargain at $3.95
Klekolo World Coffee
181 Court St.
Middletown, CT 06457
With its “funky purple walls” and fair-trade products, Klekolo World Coffee is meant to transport the customer to the quirky coffee shops of Seattle – and nothing helps complete that journey more than the “White Hot Chocolate” or the “Witches Brew.” The former is “creamy goodness” in a cup; a “unique and unparalleled drink” claims the menu. As good as it is, however, the “Witches Brew” gives it a run for the money as the top hot chocolate drink in the place. It combines espresso, hazelnut and caramel syrups with dark hot chocolate and “velvet-y steamed milk” to produce a lovely layered drink which is served in a glass mug to better show off this stratification effect. There are other variations (the Hendrix, the Dragon, etc.) but these two are reason enough to made the trip to Seattle via Klekolo’s in Middletown.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.