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Four Cozy Cocoas


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Fine hot chocolate requires devoted attention. You must savor it in small, seductive sips to appreciate all of its assets: the taste of the cocoa, the foamy milk, and the shock of cold, sweetened whipped cream on top. The following spots offer superior mugs of hot chocolate, and cozy, romantic environs in which to consume them.


Classic Cocoa: Cherubini Coffee House in Alamo serves up a traditional, all-American cup of hot chocolate made with top-notch, local Guittard Chocolate and crowned with plenty of sweet whipped cream. Cherubini Coffee House, 37 Alamo Sq., Alamo, (925) 743-0824


Dark and Sophisticated: Bittersweet on College Avenue in Oakland has a comprehensive hot chocolate menu. Our favorite, The Bittersweet, is a deep, chocolate beverage made without milk so you really taste the chocolate. On the other end of the flavor spectrum, Bittersweet offers the White Chocolate Dream, made with Venezuelan white chocolate and a touch of spice. Bittersweet, 5427 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-7159


Nicely Spiced: Lafayette’s Papillon offers a large selection of standard espresso drinks along with a list of mochas, a hot chocolate variant with a shot of espresso. The unique offerings include the Mexican mocha, a smooth, flavored drink that is subtly spiced. It fits the bill when you want something that’s a happy medium between coffee and hot chocolate. Papillon, 67 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette, (925) 283-0466


The Dessert Course: Albany’s Fonda long has had a following for its wonderful food and cocktails, but recently, its spicy hot chocolate has been the talk of the town. The frothy drink often serves as a dessert at the restaurant. It’s a mild chocolate spiced with just enough cinnamon to add another layer of warmth. Fonda, 1501 Solano Ave., Albany, (510) 559-9006 

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