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buying guide

hot chocolate

The Aztec Hot Chocolate at this New York SoHo boutique scores on two fronts: it's some of the best hot chocolate around and the handsome packaging makes it extremely "giftable". Made using single origin Columbian chocolate (not cocoa powder).

L.A. Burdick
L.A. Burdick's hot chocolate is pure and simple. Pure dark, milk or white chocolate shavings are packaged in a simple brown bag. You just add the hot milk. Along with MarieBelle, LA Burdick's hot chocolate has a major foodie following.

Fran's Chocolates
Seattle-based Fran Bigelow was one of America's first artisanal chocolatiers. Her dark hot chocolate won a prestigious Sofi award in 2007 (like the Oscars of the gourmet food industry).

Don't let the amateur-looking website fool you - this is the place to go for one-stop gourmet chocolate shopping. The hot chocolate brands to try: E. Guittard, Dolfin, Les Confitures a l'Ancienne, La Tasse de Chocolat and Valor (available in powder or tablets).

Vosges Haut Chocolat
Katrina Markoff's highly-regarded "Couture Cocoas" are like edible potpourri. Bianca is a blend of white chocolate shavings, Australian lemon myrtle, Madagascar vanilla beans and lavender flowers. The Aztec Elixir contains ancho and chipotle chiles, Mexican vanilla beans, cinnamon and organic maize (cornmeal) powder.

La Maison du Chocolat - This high-end Parisian/Madison Ave. chocolatier makes excellent hot chocolate from real chocolate pistoles (pellets).

Christopher Elbow Chocolates - One of America's finest chocolatiers makes spicy and dark European-style drinking chocolates.

Jacques Torres - This Food Network celeb has his own waterfront chocolate factory in Brooklyn. His hot chocolate is a favorite with many.