FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. --- There's one good thing about winter weather: indulging in a mug of frothy hot chocolate. And if someone adds marshmallows -- all the better!Tuesday, Jan. 31 is National Hot Chocolate Day giving Fairfield County residents the perfect excuse to come in from the cold and have a "meltdown" with drinks that warm frosty fingers and toes.
- Bethel: Molten Java takes its name seriously when it comes to hot chocolate. There are six volcanic concoctions of interesting cocoa flavors including The Krakatoa (hot chocolate, caramel and cinnamon with coconut whipped cream) and The Molten Cocoa (hot chocolate with cinnamon, chili powder and vanilla). Then there's regular hot chocolate made with steamed milk. No hot water or mixes here! Get Your Chocolate Fix: 213 Greenwood Ave., (203) 739-0313.
- Bridgeport: Hollander chocolate and a sweet ground Dutch chocolate syrup are mixed with steamed milk at Source , then topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and optional whipped cream. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 2889 Fairfield Ave., (203) 522-5662, www.sourcecoffeehouse.com/ .
- Darien: Neat is more than just good coffee. It also has amazing artisanal hot chocolate using a 72 percent dark chocolate powder from Ecuador. Topped with housemade whipped cream and you're good to go. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 20 Grove St, (203) 202-7215, www.neatcoffee.com/ .
- Greenwich, Westport: Sip the cold away with a whipped-cream covered mug of frozen hot chocolate at The Granola Bar . This childhood favorite is topped with an army of marshmallows and an overflowing amount of chocolate deliciousness. The restaurant will debut a new Mint Chip Frozen Hot Chocolate starting in February to join the original on the drink menu. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 41 Greenwich Ave, Greenwich (203) 883-5220 or 275 Post Rd E., Westport (203) 349-5202, www.thegranolabarct.com/ .
- Fairfield: Las Vetas Lounge is known for its funky, artsy vibe and that extends to its hot chocolate offerings which includes "Bonnell's Hot Chocolate," a triple threat of the sweet stuff -- think Ghiradelli chocolate syrup, dark chocolate chips, a dash of Swiss Miss, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Another unconventional choice includes the raspberry hot chocolate with Ghirardelli white chocolate and raspberry syrup. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 27 Unquowa Rd., (203) 255-1958.
- New Canaan: Your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied at Connecticut Muffin where yummy muffins and other baked goods are paired perfectly with hot chocolate, made with steamed milk. Get Your Chocolate Fix a Spoon: 108 Main St., (203) 972-7557, www.connecticutmuffin.com/ .
- Newtown: Talk about flavorful. Café Xpresso offers winter-weary customers a surprise jolt with its Lavender Hot Chocolate. The concoction includes Arethusa Farms chocolate milk, steamed and mixed with house made lavender syrup, topped with whipped cream and blue lavender pods. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 150 S Main St., (203) 304-9955, www.caféxpressonewtown.com/ .
- Old Greenwich: It's perennially cozy at Sweet Pea's Baking Company where the cocoa is made with Ghiradelli powder. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 212 Sound Beach Ave, (203) 990-0008, www.sweetpeasct.com/ .
- Ridgefield, Wilton: Tusk & Cup , winner of our 2016 DVlicicious "Best Coffee in Fairfield County" also does its hot chocolate right. Their "Hot Cioccolato" can be created with cinnamon, mint, spicy pepper, or espresso Infused. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 51 Ethan Allen Highway, Ridgefield, (203) 544-08001 or 42 Old Ridgefield Rd., Wilton, (203) 762-6230, www.tuskandcup.com/ .
- Riverside: The J House Coffee Shop uses a rich chocolate from their restaurant's pastry department and adds steamed milk for a beautiful, velvety hot chocolate. Whipped cream on request. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 1114 E Putnam Ave., (203) 698-6980, www.jhousegreenwich.com/ .
- Shelton: At Three Bridges Coffeehouse you can infuse your hot chocolate with a variety of syrups (think peppermint or caramel) or just go for it plain with whipped cream. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 415 Howe Ave., (203) 513-2163, www.3bcoffee.net/.
- Stamford : Hot chocolate made from scratch at Franklin Street Works Cafe . Chef Erin Emmett serves a European dark chocolate ganache version that is rich and decadent and topped with perfectly steamed milk and a sprinkling of cocoa powder . Get Your Chocolate Fix: 41 Franklin St., (203) 595-5211.
- Trumbull: Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe : Good 'ole Hershey's syrup and milk make this hot chocolate a winter winner. Get Your Chocolate Fix: 4244 Madison Ave., (203) 880-5502.
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