Boston's Best Hot Chocolates

A good steaming cup of hot chocolate is tantamount to a great masterpiece. Fulfilling Bostonians cravings for sugar, caffeine and vicarious mind-trips to tropical bean-growing villages, liquid chocolate is an every day luxury, but only if you know where to get it. If you're looking to move beyond cocoa-powdered packets, sip on these five winners and warm up your soul.

Updated: November 17, 2009

Loco for Choco

L.A. Burdick Chocolate

52 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

You may need a partner in crime, because one single mugful is potent enough to knock you over: It's that intense. This Harvard Square bastion of artisan handmade chocolate melts and froths real ground chocolate (dark, milk or white) to produce a deliriously rich texture. After just one sip, you'll feel the chocolate coating parts of your insides you never knew existed.

Paris Creperie

278 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

Guilty parties who eat Nutella right out of the jar? Raise your hand, preferably with a cup. This Coolidge Corner cafe blends the infamous chocolate-hazelnut spread with milk, creating a fiercely addictive sip. If you're feeling extra crazy, go for raspberry or mint variations on the original chocolate, or vary your caffeine fix with Nutella lattes and cappuccinos.

UpStairs on the Square

91 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

UpStairs' official Afternoon Tea can easily transmorph into unofficial Afternoon Hot Chocolate with its luscious Valrhona-based drink with housemade marshmallow, shortbread cookies and "nub of chocolate" (plus Grand Marnier or Vandermint Chocolate Peppermint Liqueur if requiring extra warming power). It's liquid love in a mug, so don't be shy about inquiring about it during regular, non-tea dining hours.

Aroa Fine Chocolate

1651 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

In this fine chocolaterie (channeling a fearless fetish for the noble cacao bean), only naturally grown, ethically traded, single-origin El Rey chocolate from Venezuela passes muster. No less than eight hot chocolate varieties--Classic, White, Fiery, Spiced, Midnight, Irapa, Chai, Chaud--enriches the spirit as one's gaze wanders from Washington Street to cases of truffles and then the exposed pastry kitchen.

Flour Bakery + Cafe

12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210

Focus! The luscious sticky buns and tarts are diabolically distracting, but for today you're on a mission: Hot Chocolate. Here, the drink crosses over to the dark side with housemade bittersweet ganache mixed with steamed milk. And when gilding the lily is your M.O., add on homemade marshmallows to the madness.