When the mercury plunges to 60° Fahrenheit, and you’re braving the frigid breeze in search of a warming beverage, you’ll find relief from the cruel Los Angeles winter at these familiar spots.
La Monarca Bakery, multiple locations
This local pan dulce chainlet makes its hot chocolate mix with ingredients from the chocolate growing region of Oaxaca. La Monarca’s drink has the signature spicy cinnamon flavor of Mexican hot chocolate, with a rich consistency and lingering texture of pulverized cacao. Half the fun at La Monarca is picking a pastry to pair with your drink. The wall of pastry cabinets will tempt you with cookie-topped conchas and whole wheat croissants, a dessert case holds slices of the bakery’s famous tres leche cake, and at the counter are cookies and sweet empanadas.
Locations in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Boyle Heights, Highland Park, South Pasadena, Huntington Park, East LA, Pico Rivera, Cesar Chavez, and Whittier / 310-451-1114
Swork, Eagle Rock
With extra outlets for laptop warriors, couches for conversationalists, and a kid-friendly zone, Swork is the multi-tasking capital of Eagle Rock. This coffee shop has been serving caffeinated drinks to the community since 2001. Experience counts when attempting to offer the public a mocha with a mouthful of ingredients. The Midnight Mint Mocha contains espresso, imported Dutch Hollander 78% dark cacao, creme de menthe, organic whole milk, and is topped with real whipped cream and sweet mini chocolate blossoms. This could be your next favorite hot chocolate if you’re a fan of mint or well conceived ideas.
2160 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, 90041 – 323-258-5600
Come for the freshly made donuts, stay for the hot chocolate. This food truck is dedicated to beignets, the pillowy fritter made famous by New Orleans. While their beignets get the classic drizzle of chocolate sauces, you can go a step further with an order of hot chocolate. Iced chocolate is also available, as well as chicory coffee, another New Orleans must-try.
Chokolatta, North Hollywood
The owners of Chokolatta show their passion for chocolate with ancient Mayan and other pre-Hispanic recipes. You can sip hot chocolate from a colorful earthenware mug while you admire the artistic chocolates sculpted in-house to look like stiletto shoes, log cabins and bears. The shop is most known for its chocolate covered cereal. For Christmas, Chokolatta is offering a hot chocolate ornament. Made with the shop’s own blend of hot chocolate mix, the ornaments can be dropped into a pot of milk or water and the result serves six people. Flavors are regular, Mayan spicy, and vegan.
5264 Tujunga Ave, North Hollywood, 91606 / 818-643-2017
Waffleshots at Zia Valentina, The Original Farmers Market, The Grove
Waffle cones aren’t just for ice cream any more; now you can eat your hot chocolate waffle cup at Zia Valentina. These tiny edible cups called Waffleshots come in several flavor combinations, all coated with chocolate on the inside and around the rim, sometimes embellished with nuts or sprinkles. Depending on the flavor, you’ll find an extra surprise for your tastebuds when you bite through the bottom of your cup. The barista at the shop fills cups with hot chocolate, coffee, espresso, or granita. Waffleshots are also available by the box online.
6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036 – 310-689-9760
More Choc To Chug
There’s no shortage of celebrated chocolate stirrers in LA, so keep these on your list:
Demitasse (multiple locations) serves a lavender hot chocolate with a single roasted marshmallow that’s charred with a blowtorch.
ChocoVivo in Mar Vista is a bean-to-bar shop in which the owner personally travels to Mexico and returns with choice beans for serving. Purists will find their ultimate hot chocolate here: beans are stone ground much like the ancient method, and the beverage contains no milk powder, soy lecithin or additional cacao butter – just cacao nibs and spices.
Amara Chocolate & Coffee in Pasadena offers Venezuelan sipping chocolate. You can adjust your order by getting it freakishly strong with espresso or velvety smooth with milk and cream.