The Dish: Providence’s Five Best Places for Hot Chocolate
Our top five spots will help you warm up this winter.
1. The Duck and Bunny
Tucked away on Wickenden Street is a cozy little snuggery that serves specialty cupcakes and happiness. The Duck and Bunny is a reimagined house with whimsical and elegant decor. Plush white seats line the back wall, and a fireplace adds a warm touch to the small dining area. There’s a cupcake bar, a variety of coffees, crepes and cocktails and a special treat called Drinking Chocolate. The beverage is smooth and light to drink, and it’s created with pure dark chocolate syrup. It has a mild sweetness, but you can catch the back notes of a richer flavor. I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of addicting. It comes to you presented in an adorable mug. I visited during the evening and the atmosphere was calm, warm and a great way to end a cold day. For a limited time, the Duck and Bunny also serves a peppermint hot chocolate.
The Details: Drinking Chocolate is $2.50 for a regular cup or $3.50 for a large. Hours: Tues., Wed. and Sun.10 a.m.–11 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.–midnight, Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m.–1 a.m. 312 Wickenden St., Providence, 401-270-3300, theduckandbunny.com.
2. Benefit Juice Bar and Cafe
You don’t have to love juices to love Benefit Street Juice Bar and Cafe. It also serves paninis, coffee and sandwiches and there are decorative books to browse and artwork to admire on the walls. There are three different types of hot chocolate: a Belgian Dark, a Mexican Spiced and a Chocoholics Cocoa. I opted for the Belgian Dark to stray from playing it safe and I did not regret it. It tastes like a melted dark chocolate bar in a cup; slightly thicker than regular hot chocolate, robust and somewhat bitter. Those who prefer sweeter flavors should choose the Chocoholics version, but if you want a dark, richer flavor that wakes you up, this may be perfect for you. Hot cocoa is served in a steep cup, so go ahead and relax awhile at one of the tables by the windows and read a book or take it to savor on the go.
The Details: Belgian Dark Cocoa is $3.25 a cup. Hours: Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 8:30 a.m.– 7 p.m. 404 Benefit St., Providence, 401-274-6403, facebook.com/benefit-juice-bar-cafe.
3. Sweet Indulgence
Located in Pawtuxet Village, sandwiched between two businesses, is Sweet Indulgence. Despite its small cotton candy pink exterior, the space — much like the Tardis from "Doctor Who"— is much bigger on the inside. The pink, brown and white decor makes you feel like you’ve wandered into a sugary dream with Parisian touches. The hot chocolate here puts Swiss Miss packets to shame. Served in a white cup with an optional tower of whipped cream, the drink is much sweeter than you might guess and should satiate a sweet tooth. It’s certainly an indulgent beverage, but the whipped cream balances out the strong chocolate. You might get a whipped cream stache when you go to drink it, but that’s never a bad thing.
The Details: Hot chocolate is $3.50 per cup. Hours: Mon.–Wed. 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Thurs.–Sat. 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–9 p.m. 2202 Broad St., Cranston, 401-467-4850, facebook.com/mysweetindulgence.
4. Ellie’s Bakery
At Ellie’s Bakery, you can have your hot chocolate regular or spicy. The regular hot chocolate (left) tastes more like dark chocolate, crafted from Taza chocolate and steamed milk. The spicy hot cocoa (right) is not as fiery as you’d imagine. I usually stay away from items labeled spicy, but I enjoyed Ellie’s take on it better than the regular. It mixes spicy Taza chocolate and steamed milk and it’s sweeter and creamier than the regular version. Either one can be topped with a housemade marshmallow. There is a long counter and many stools inviting you to stay for a while, perhaps while eating macarons and sipping hot chocolate from a bright red cup.
The Details: Small hot chocolate is $3.25, a large is $4.25. Hours: Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–5 p.m. 61 Washington St., Providence, 401-228-8118, elliesbakery.com.
5. The Shop
If you like new flavors, look no further than the Shop in Providence. Now through the end of February is the prime time to visit thanks to Hot Cocoa Fest. Each week, the Shop will feature a new flavor of the delightful treat. I tried the yummy dulce de leche hot cocoa before its feature week finished on Sunday. It was created with steamed Munroe Dairy whole milk and a dulce de leche syrup created by the Illuminated Oven. Topped with an Illuminated Oven handmade marshmallow cube that melted into a light foam, it was a marvelous treat on which to end my hot chocolate hunt. The Shop also has a house hot chocolate made from steamed Munroe Dairy milk and cocoa syrup. Despite being on the smaller side, there are places to sit inside the Shop, including a communal table, a small sitting area and stools by the windows. Bask in the glow of string lights and watch the world wander by outside. This week for Hot Cocoa Fest, the flavor is banana. Here is a list of upcoming flavors:
2/16–2/21 Kettle Corn
2/23–2/28 PB and J
The Details: Hot Cocoa Fest hot chocolate is $4 or $4.50 with marshmallow. Hours: Tues.–Fri. 7 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. 460 Wickenden St., Providence, 401-684-1140, theshopfoxpoint.com.