BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. -- Anything hot sounds good just about now. Make it chocolate and you almost forget the mind-numbing cold.
What follows is a sampling of where to go for "a hug in a mug" -- hot chocolate delights that warm frosty fingers and toes.
- Cafe Angelique, Tenafly: This creamy, must-drink number is made with Italian chocolate melted down from big chunks, then freeze-dried, so there's no bitterness. A touch of sugar, some steamed milk and voilà: Perfection in a cup. Try the original version or tempt your taste buds with peppermint, S'mores and/or raspberry.
- Cool Beans, Oradell: Opt for a simple version made with milk chocolate or go for broke by adding one of the shop's many syrups -- i.e. hazelnut, coconut, mint or almond. Cool Beans uses a blend of Hershey's chocolate and Big Train hot chocolate mocha mix for a combination that's super velvety and super de-frosting.
- Erie Coffeeshop & Bakery, Rutherford: Once you take your eyes off the delish-looking pastries, indulge in the hot chocolate, made with Callebaut chocolate, chocolate syrup and steamed milk. For something spicier, try the Mexican version made with cayenne and cinnamon.
- Kilwins, Ridgewood: This chocolate wonderland is full of "sweet" decisions in its Chocolate Cafe: Choose between the Classic, the Mexican, the Peruvian, the Dominican or the Sea-Salt Caramel. Suffice it to say you can't go wrong. All are thick, creamy, and guaranteed to make you forget winter's wrath.
- L'Arte della Pasticceria, Ramsey: Say hello to your new crush: Nutella hot chocolate. You'll also find a classic version as well as a spicier option.
- Raymond's, Ridgewood: The ultra-rich hot chocolate comes with a gigantic Instagram-worthy (homemade) marshmallow, perfect for fluffing your spirits on a cold, day.
- Sogno Coffeehouse & Creperie, Westwood: Decisions, decisions. The list of a dozen-plus hot chocolates will keep your mind off the cold. Flavors include bubblegum, Nutella, red velvet, cake batter raspberry and Mudpie Oreo. Traditionalists can also choose from white, dark or milk.
- Sook, Ridgewood: Get your cocoa rush here where melted Valrhona chocolate and milk make for a velvety sip of coziness in a cup.
- Stray Cat Brew, Maywood: Classic, white, mint and a catnip blend (hot chocolate with two shots of espresso) are just some of the choices here, meant to keep you warm regardless of the sub-degree temps outside.
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