Whether you’re out holiday shopping, going on a sleigh ride, or sitting by a crackling fire, it’s important to feel all warm and toasty with a really good mug of hot cocoa.
There are so many ways to prepare it: stirring cocoa and hot milk in a pot on a stove, tearing open a packet of the powdered stuff and mixing it with water, or ordering a gourmet cup with peppermint flakes, marshmallows, and whipped cream.
With so many options to choose from, there are also a ton of places in the Garden State to get hot chocolate.
But these are 12 of the best hot cocoa spots in New Jersey. Some, you may know. Others may be a surprise and quite the hidden gem.
44 Washington Street, Toms River
While shopping in Downtown Toms River, be sure to stop by and grab a delicious cup of hot cocoa at Bubby's. They have a variety of flavors available from its signature hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate syrup to Nutella, S’mores, and Butter Pecan hot vanilla. Don’t forget the hot chocolate with a fire-roasted marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs.
Asbury Park Roastery
They have three locations:
1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park
800 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park
803 Second Avenue, Asbury Park
Many say that the hot cocoa at the Roastery is one of the most delicious choices on the menu. It’s the perfect thing to pick up before taking a brisk walk on the beach. Just look at the shaved white chocolate and pieces of peppermint as toppings?
Busy Bee Organics
451 Palisade Avenue, Jersey City
175 2nd Street, Jersey City
If you love organic, Busy Bee is the place to be. Made with non-dairy oat, coconut, homemade cashew milk, grass-fed dairy, and natural sweeteners, this hot chocolate drink is a healthy alternative. There is a special S’mores hot cocoa made with vegan marshmallows, dark chocolate, and a gluten-free gingersnap rim.
The Chocolate Bar
112 Quimby Street, Westfield
How can the hot chocolate here not be good? The word “chocolate” is in the name. The hot cocoa at The Chocolate Bar is made with rich milk and dark chocolate straight from warm vats that are used to produce their creamy chocolate desserts.
28 Church Street, Montclair
The Belgian hot chocolate at Raymond's costs $4.50 but is so worth it because it is a freshly made very dark hot chocolate with a homemade massive square marshmallow.
Groove Ground Coffee Bar
647 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood
Yes. It’s a coffee bar. But every year Groove Ground turns into a hot chocolate bar. Starting this week, it’s the 14th Annual Hot Chocolate Bar. It features seven, sweet, seasonal flavors you’ll only find during the winter. Take your pick from raspberry, gingerbread, peppermint, salted caramel, peanut butter cup, Mexican, and S’mores hot cocoa.
Hardy’s Coffee Bar
31 Bloomfield Avenue, Flemington
Hardy’s shaved hot chocolate is made with organic whole milk, and premium shaved Fudge Shoppe chocolate, all blended into a silky smooth comfort beverage that will keep you coming back for more.
Hatch 44 Café
25 New Street, Metuchen
Be sure to try the Peppermint Bliss hot chocolate at the cafe. It’s made with peppermint white chocolate, milk, whipped cream, and white chocolate chips, topped with crumbled candy canes. Add a shot of espresso for an extra jolt to get through your busy day.
How You Brewin?
8 North Long Beach Blvd, Surf City
Lots of different flavors are offered at How You Brewin, which is a playful pun off the iconic line "how you doin'?" that Joe Tribbiani used to say on the TV sitcom, "Friends." The cocoa is topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
Sunburst Pie Company
150 Main Street, Manasquan
Sunburst has three craft hot chocolates. Traditional is made with dark chocolate, 100% cocoa, and topped with a toasted marshmallow. Vanilla bean and Cardamon features traditional hot chocolate with toasted cardamom pods and vanilla bean. Choco Mocha is traditional hot chocolate with a shot of espresso.
While the picture shows 2018 flavors and prices, it gives you an idea of how creative and tasty these hot chocolate treats can be.
The Shore House Tavern
2114 Route 88, Point Pleasant
In the mood for a boozy cup of hot cocoa? The Shore House in Point is the place to be, then.
The Boozy Hot Cocoa Line runs from December to March every year, according to the owner, Frank Gullace. There are 8 signature cocktails the most popular being Gimme S’More. It consists of pinnacle whipped vodka, RumChata, and hot chocolate topped with hand-torched marshmallows, and a graham cracker and chocolate rim.
Other favorites include the Chunky Monkey, Nilla White Russian, Marshmallow Madness, Unicorn Milk, and Peanut Butter Cup.
Each cocktail is made individually on a state-of-the-art espresso/hot chocolate machine, making it fresh every single time.
Since the cocktails are made from scratch and there is no pre-batch, kids can enjoy this delicious hot cocoa as a mocktail, too.
The Bent Spoon
35 Palmer Square West, Princeton
Bent Spoon owners, Gab and Matt rave about their hot cocoa saying it’s a thick and rich euro-style hot chocolate made with lots of fair trade dark chocolate.
Each cup is topped with real, freshly made Madagascar vanilla bean whipped cream.
They make their own marshmallows, or “marshies” as they coin them, as a topping too. Marshies are made with New Jersey honey and Madagascar vanilla, all hand-cut. They either float the marshies in the hot chocolate or offer toasted marshies on top.
They also offer different flavors of marshies in the winter such as pink peppermint (organic beets for color and organic peppermint), cinnamon, and even vegan ones.
Flavors? They have them including classic, vegan (oat milk), organic peppermint (regular or vegan), and spicy habanero (regular or vegan with heirloom peppers that they pick, smoke, and grind into their own pepper powder).
Have you ever tried mushroom hot chocolate? This is made with local mushrooms that make the dark chocolate taste even more earthy and delicious, according to the owners.
They make flavored white chocolate drinks too: white chocolate lavender, matcha white, and white magic (warming winter spices).
Through the winter, other versions will also be offered, plus they plan to bring back their vegan organic coconut whipped topping.
Sip on some cocoa and enjoy the holiday season with family and loved ones!
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Gallery Credit: Annalise Mantz & Madison Troyer