It’s winter again. Blistering winds blow hats and scarves around and chap our lips and cheeks. People from warmer climates always ask, how do you do it? Well, we in Minnesota are just tougher, that’s all. We were born and bred to handle the elements in all their fury. But we do have a secret weapon, something that Texans couldn’t appreciate the way we do, that Arizonians don’t know about and that Floridians can’t touch: hot chocolate. On a cold day, there’s nothing like a nice, rich mug of hot chocolate to warm the soul. With marshmallows, whipped cream, peppermint, sprinkles or straight up, the hot chocolate at these spots helps get us through the winter.
2038 Marshall Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Kopplin’s serves a hot chocolate that is so uniquely delicious, you can’t help but wonder how it was made. Here’s the secret: Kopplin’s adds a handmade Rogue chocolate to its milk and cocoa, creating an unbelievable, and unmatched, flavor. It is dark chocolate, so it has that delectable bitterness to accompany the rich milk and cocoa. It might not be the traditional cup of hot cocoa, but one sip will have you coming back, through snowstorms and icy blizzards, for more.
Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe
394 S. Lake Ave.
Duluth, MN 55802
The winters in Duluth can be especially long and brutal, with towering snowdrifts on every corner and frigid winds coming off Lake Superior. Luckily, the proud citizens of Duluth are prepared, and there’s no better place to stay warm with a rich, velvety hot chocolate than Amazing Grace. Located in a cozy basement, it feels like more of a living room than a cafe; the perfect place to settle in and order a one of the best warm drinks in Minnesota.
Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau
579 Selby Ave.
St Paul, MN 55102
As the name implies, Dr. Chocolate’s understands chocolate. The store is filled with everything from individually wrapped pieces, to chocolate-themed board games and other chocolate delights. But the hot chocolate is special. On a cold winter day, the turn-of-the-century mansion is the perfect place to find yourself holding a cup of hot chocolate in your freezing hands, and the charm of the building is matched only by the comfort of the warm drink. Even the strongest chocolate cravings will be satisfied by the time you see the bottom of the cup.
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3220 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
A steaming mug of hot chocolate is the perfect complement to a fresh baked good. Or is it the other way around? This popular Minneapolis bakery makes everything to perfection, and the hot chocolate is no exception. Smooth, rich sweetness fills your heart and soul with the warmth of a thousand hugs and puts a smile on your face no matter how far below zero the temperatures have dipped. While it does get very busy, especially on the weekends, the hot chocolate is worth waiting for.
Bread and Chocolate
867 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
For 30 years B&C has been serving Grand Avenue the finest in cookies, scones, croissants, espresso and coffee. The best thing on the menu, however, might be the real-cocoa hot chocolate. You can watch the baristas steam the milk, and stir in the rich, cocoa goodness; none of that Hershey’s syrup stuff. This chocolate is imported straight from Switzerland, and the rich, creamy result will have your toes tingling. You can find the same quality of hot chocolate across the street at the store’s flashier sister, Cafe Latte.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.