Rhode Islanders are not used to 12-foot snow berms or cold spells that last more than a couple of days, so this winter has been an especially cruel test of our endurance. But if there is one silver lining to The Blizzard of 2015 (aka The Blizzard That Never Ended), it is this: we’ve had a justifiable excuse to order hot chocolate like it’s no one’s business. Granted, that’s my M.O. year-round, and if you’re like me, you don’t need a historic winter to entice you to order hot chocolate. These decadent beverages require no excuse, but just in case you find yourself in need of a drink that warms you from the inside out, here are the top 5 hot chocolates in Providence.
1. The Shop
The Shop is new to Providence, having only opened in August 2014. The owners are a young couple often found ringing up orders and creating beautiful latte art. They care about quality service and are happy to answer questions, particularly those about their coffee and their locally sourced selection of Humble Pies. The Shop is perfect for setting up a laptop and getting cozy with your neighbors on the bench-style seating. What makes this hot chocolate unique is its flavor profile. During the month of January, the owners experimented with different flavors of hot chocolates: Peanut Butter, Raspberry, Peppermint, and Banana, all topped with a homemade marshmallow. Even though I went back every week and thought all were delicious, the peanut butter hot chocolate was like drinking a melted Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. WOWZA. Currently, patrons are voting on Facebook for their favorite flavor, which will then become a staple menu item, so it’s safe to say I hope Peanut Butter gets the vote!
460 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI
2. New Harvest
New Harvest is a Rhode-Island-born coffee roastary that got its start fifteen years ago in a drafty shed in Rumford, Rhode Island, and now their coffee is sold in shops and Whole Foods Market stores across New England. Their namesake shop is located downtown, inside of the newly revived Providence Arcade. One of the benefits of New Harvest, aside from their prime location and killer coffee, is that they’re open early in the morning and stay open well into the night (10pm weekdays, 12am Thursday-Saturday). There are business suits by day and hipsters by night, and the baristas are magicians. Not only do they create the fluffiest hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted (i.e., it was as light and airy as it was creamy and chocolatey), they also create masterful latte art. Bonus? After noon, they offer a full bar, so if anyone likes Baileys in his or her hot chocolate…I’m just saying.
130 Westminster St, #118, Providence, RI
This is one of the better known establishments in Providence. The restaurant calls itself a “snuggery” to allude to its coziness, and it was built into an old house. The original floors and fireplaces still remain intact, and it feels as if you’re walking into a family’s home. They’re known for their brunches and selection of cupcakes, but their hot chocolate is the best kept secret in Rhode Island—it is, I think, my favorite of them all. They offer a “regular” hot chocolate, but I advise going for the one on their cocktail list, the Drunken Raspberry Chocolate. It’s out of this world. This drink epitomizes “sinfully delicious” with its rich raspberry flavor, its smooth finish, and its dangerously sweet intoxicant: ChocoVine’s Raspberry Chocolate wine. I would have never thought a dessert wine would blend well with hot chocolate, but one cannot taste wine; rather, one experiences an added sensation of warmth and an almost immediate buzz. Even my guy friend, who arrived skeptical, wished he’d ordered a larger size after his first taste. Anyone who likes raspberry and chocolate (surely anyone with a pulse) will fall instantly in love.
312 Wickenden St, Providence, RI
This is one of my favorite places in all of Rhode Island. It’s located in Pawtuxet Village, only a ten-minute drive from Duck and Bunny, and is worth the journey because the ambiance cannot be beat. It’s a tearoom by classification, and their tea list is as extensive as a beer list is in Belgium. They offer sweet and savory crepes, and because I can never decide between them, I usually get one of both. One Friday night, following tea-infused cocktails (brunch and lunch are their prime times, but they have live music on weekend evenings), the chef asked me if I would like to try their hot chocolate, and I’m so glad I did! With homemade whipped cream that tasted like melted marshmallows, it was pure bliss.
2170 Broad St, Cranston, RI
Also located in Pawtuxet Village, Sweet Indulgence has won multiple awards for offering the Best Cupcakes of Rhode Island. And no wonder: this is the Mecca for all things chocolate and dessert. Imagine Willy Wonka’s idea of heaven, add the color pink, and you’ve created Sweet Indulgence. Designed and run by Johnson and Wales graduates, this shop offers chocolates, cupcakes, brownies, lemon bars, homemade waffles, and best of all, the most exquisite hot chocolates you ever did see. Topped with marshmallows and chocolate shavings, they like chocolate bars melted and stirred. And if you visit in the summer (or just prefer cold drinks), you can try a frozen hot chocolate. It tastes better than smoothies because it still maintains the essence of a hot chocolate despite being blended and cold. I don’t question it; I just enjoy it. You should, too.
2202 Broad St, Cranston, RI
About Jenny Currier
Jenny is a transplant to the east coast from Roswell, New Mexico. She used to swim with dolphins for a living, but now she writes, eats, and travels. She also holds down several jobs in order to support her eating habit. Her tagline likely reads, “Sometimes I’m funny.”