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This year, we’ve talked about the best places to score a good drink in Williamsburg. From summery, scenic wine-tasting experiences to the best seasonal brews in town, we’ve covered a lot of ground on the Williamsburg Tasting Trail.
But today, we’re here to talk about another type of seasonal drink that can have just as much punch as a Chardonnay or IPA: hot chocolate! First, here’s a quick history lesson (and an amazingly useful conversation starter): the chocolate found in hot chocolate comes from the cacao tree, which was domesticated by ancestors of the Aztecs over 3,000 years ago. The Aztecs used to mix roasted cacao beans with water to make a slightly bitter, room temperature beverage that they enjoyed regularly.
It was actually the Spanish conquistadors who were the first to sweeten it with sugar and call it chocolat. Since sugar has to be hot in order to melt, humanity was blessed with the gift of hot chocolate. It was thought by many to be a healthy, stimulating beverage, which is a sentiment we completely respect and support. For more on the history of hot chocolate and how it made its way into the American colonies, click here!
So, where can you find a cup of this marvelous drink in Williamsburg?
MAD About Chocolate
MAD About Chocolate is a café and artisanal chocolate bakery that serves a rich, decadent chocolate beverage – both hot AND cold. As they like to tell their customers, “We don’t just bake chocolate, we make happiness.” Sounds promising, no?
If you’re looking for a fancier version of this winter beverage, you’ve got to get over to the Blue Talon Bistro. Customers positively rave about it, and for good reason. Their recipe comes complete with a little spice, a dash of cream and a giant homemade marshmallow. Seriously, just look at it.
Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream
Besides having novelties that seem like they came out of Willy Wonka’s imagination (see: pecan logs and eggnog fudge), Kilwins in Williamsburg serves some mighty fine hot chocolate as well. Since they’re a chocolate shop, their recipe is no secret—just melt real chocolate, add a little milk, and voila! A cup of Aztec gold.
This coffee shop has not one, not two, but THREE varieties of hot chocolate: Java Chip Hot Chocolate (with melted java chocolate chips and half and half), European Drinking Chocolate (a little thicker and richer—think melted chocolate bar), and for the purists, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate. All come topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
This little Williamsburg gem has a way of convincing you that even chocolate is good for you. That’s because they work with local farmers to source food that’s close by, so everything is fresh and from the earth. That includes their hot chocolate, which is made in-house with chocolate sourced from Virginia. We’re pretty sure this doesn’t actually make it healthy, but we can dream, right?
This winter, we challenge you to go on a tasting spree and try Williamsburg’s most talked-about hot chocolates. And we know a great place you can stay! From cute cottages to spacious estates, King’s Creek Plantation has just the solution for your Williamsburg vacation. Happy holidays!