As the temperature continues to dip, Delhites queue up for hot chocolate in cafés and restaurants. For a spot of indulgence and comfort, here’s a list of places that offer top quality hot chocolate.
While CoLocal’s hot chocolate is easily one of the best finds in the city, the theatrics of it—served on the table with all the elements of the hot chocolate coming together—makes it an even better experience. With the cacao percentage varying anywhere between 55-85%, my favourite is the Campfire Hot Chocolate. It comes in a smoked glass topped with a very soft, pillowy flambéed marshmallow that’s balanced on a skewer on which the liquid chocolate is poured. The Banana Hot Chocolate and Caramel Hot Chocolate are excellent too.
Price for one hot chocolate varies between ₹310- ₹385 (plus taxes)
Khan Market, New Delhi
A recent visit to this newly opened restaurant on a biting cold winter night was a comforting experience. Its hot chocolate is meant to be relished slowly. Served in elegant Irish coffee mugs, the indulgent drink is generously topped with whipped cream and toasted marshmallows. Holding this warm cup between your palms is akin to hygge, the Norwegian word for ultimate comfort. It's blended with winter spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, along with melted chocolate and thick milk. They offer two comforting options: Classic Hot Chocolate and 70 per cent Dark Hot Chocolate.
Price for one ranges between ₹355- ₹395 (plus taxes)
GK 2, New Delhi
Café De Flora
Easily one of the prettiest cafés in the city, the signature hot chocolate here is aptly titled, Happiness is Hot Chocolate. Served in a double wall, clear, stemless glass, the rich and luxurious warmth of the hot chocolate is the best antidote to stress. Its premium cacao with deep, bittersweet notes is evocative of pure decadence.
Price for one: ₹259 (plus taxes)
Santushti Shopping Complex, New Delhi
The cosy interiors and understated luxury of this place is inviting on a cold and day. Its hot chocolate is made with high quality Belgian Callebaut and topped with toasted marshmallow. It’s a good old-fashioned winter experience in a mug.
Price for one: ₹275 (plus taxes)
Dhan Mill Compound, Chhatarpur
The Grammar Room
The all-day café has a fantastic vegan hot chocolate with almond milk. Thick and creamy, it uses a housemade hazelnut ganache and Callebaut chocolate with the unmistakable fragrance of nutmeg. The Signature TGR Hot Chocolate will transport you into a happy place where everything feels festive, positive and joyful. The toasted marshmallow garnished with orange zest feels like a warm hug.
Price for the Signature TGR Hot Chocolate is ₹425 (plus taxes); and the vegan version is ₹450 (plus taxes).
Mehrauli, New Delhi
Chocolateria San Churro
Their thick and velvety Spanish hot chocolates are seriously addictive. The menu is filled with variations that make use of mint, hazelnut, chillies, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more. On a winter night, the café is filled with hot chocolate fans. A special shout-out to the Couverture hot chocolate—made with artisanal and single-origin chocolates from Kerala.
Price for one ranges between: ₹190- ₹210 (plus taxes)
GK 2, New Delhi
Those who don't have access to these cafés, could make an indulgent cup at home. Melt House shares a recipe:
1 tbsp butter
50 gms dark chocolate (preferably 70% or even darker Couverture)
25 gms milk chocolate
20 gms cocoa powder
200 ml whole milk
30 ml full-fat cream
A pinch of cinnamon powder or freshly grated cinnamon bark
15 gms brown sugar
15 gms white sugar
A pinch of salt
10 gms instant coffee powder
Toasted marshmallows, optional
10 gms cornflour, optional
1. Start by melting the butter in a saucepan on low heat and add the grated or chopped dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth.
2. Add the cream, brown and white sugar, and slowly add the milk while continuously whisking to achieve a smooth base.
3. In a bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with some milk until smooth with no lumps. Add this to the saucepan and continue to whisk.
4. Add a pinch of salt, cinnamon and the instant coffee powder, and whisk until fully dissolved. The coffee brings out the deeper notes of the chocolate and the two types of sugar lend a more complex caramel flavour.
5. Bring the mixture to a bubble and switch off the flame.
6. The hot chocolate is ready. If you prefer a thicker consistency, combine some cornflour with water in a separate bowl, and whisk that into the mixture while still boiling.
8. Pour into your favourite mug, top up with some whipped cream or toasted marshmallows, and enjoy.
Abhilasha Ojha is a Delhi-based art and culture writer.