A picture of hot chocolate with ice cream in a paper cup.

Where to enjoy the best hot chocolate in the world

From Paris to Vail to Rome, we've found the ultimate spots to enjoy this indulgent treat.

Hot chocolate is a universal language, but what’s not universal is how it’s made. The variations of  ingredients and proportions are endless, and even the name can be tricky to nail down. Terms like ‘hot cocoa’ and ‘hot chocolate’ are sometimes used interchangeably – but there is a distinction. The MasterClass food team breaks it down like this: “Hot cocoa is a hot, sweet drink made from cocoa powder, sugar and milk…Hot chocolate, or drinking chocolate, is a thick, hot drink made by melting solid chocolate (such as chocolate chips or bars) in hot water or milk.” From there, additional ingredients can be introduced, such as heavy cream in Parisian Chocolat Chaud and cheese (yes, cheese!) in Colombian Chocolate Santafereño. 

1. Chin Chin Ice Cream – London, United Kingdom

A picture of hot chocolate with ice cream in a paper cup.

Chin Chin (meaning ‘cheers’) Ice Cream opened shop in Camden, London in 2010. In the last 13 years, they’ve convinced British ice cream lovers that “hand-churning with liquid nitrogen [is] better than any other method” to make ice cream. It’s no surprise that The Times hails Chin Chin as “the best ice cream parlour in England.” But what is a surprise is that it’s actually their OTT hot chocolate – not their ice cream sundaes – that have become viral on social media. Chin Chin’s signature hot chocolate is made in small batches out of Valrhona 80 percent chocolate. It’s then topped with a dollop of homemade marshmallow fluff, then blowtorched for a caramelized campfire touch. Can’t make it across the pond? You can buy their homemade marshmallow fluff and hot chocolate starter online. Blowtorch not included.


2. SAID – Rome, Italy

A gloved hand holds up a mug with chocolate overflowing.

Expect sticky fingers when you order a decadent hot chocolate at SAID Coffe Shop Bistrò Restaurant in Rome. Three flavours of hot chocolate: milk- dark- and white chocolate. are poured in a mug until overflowing.


3. Honolulu Coffee – Vancouver, British Columbia

Two wooden trays with turquiose mugs of hot chocolate, a red donut and cotton candy cloud.

Honolulu Coffee has turned hot chocolate into an art form. The British Columbia-based café unveiled their “Raincouver” hot chocolate to great fanfare at the Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival this year. The “Raincouver” is made from 70% dark  chocolate and pink Himalayan salt and the cotton candy “cloud” suspended over the mug melts in the steam.  There’s also “The Donut” hot chocolate, which is designed to look like its namesake and is served with a fudge-and-raspberry treat on the side.


4. Restaurante Catedral – Oaxaca City, Mexico

A mug of drinking chocolate in a patterned cup with desserts in the background.

The foodie paradise of Oaxaca is also known for its glorious Mexican chocolate. To try the best chocolates en leche in Oaxaca (and possibly Mexico) make sure to go to Restaurante Catedral to order a drinking chocolate unlike any other.


5. The Sebastian – Vail, Colorado

A white teapot pouring chocolate over a hot chocolate bomb with marshmallows on the side.

The indulgent Signature Hot Chocolate at the Sebastian restort in Vail is so impressive that it made it into a Hallmark movie Winter in Vail.  It starts with a gold-dusted sphere of Valrhona milk chocolate filled with Baileys handcrafted marshmallows and chocolate crunch pearls. Next, spiced hot cocoa is poured over the gold-dusted sphere. As the ball of chocolate melts, marshmallows rise to the surface.


6. Chocc – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

An orange mug of hot chocolate with a dried orange slice on top.

Chocc sources chocolate from around the world and creates customizable drinks with flavours like cardamom, chilli, smoked paprika and nutmeg. Their “Savoury Orange” drink uses Belgian 55% dark chocolate, orange zest and a dried orange slice sprinkled with Maldon sea salt.


7. Belú Cacao – Santa Tecla, El Salvador

Chocolate is poured into a white mug with cinnamon sticks in the background.

Belú is the only woman-owned-and-run chocolate maker in El Salvador, making “bean to bar” small-batch chocolate with a range of Salvadoran beans. The hot chocolate – made with cacao, cacao butter, brown cane sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander seeds – can also be ordered online in dry mix form.


8. Angelina Paris – Paris, France

A light green table with desserts and hot chocolate being poured into a white mug.

Located on the picturesque Rue Rivoli and across from the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris’ Angelina tearoom is a must-visit for any hot chocolate lover. Make sure to order their Chocolat Chaud a L’Ancienne for two – you’ll even get two tiny perfect servings of whipped cream served on the side.


9. Chocolatería San Ginés – Madrid, Spain

A server in white holds a tray with hot chocolate and churros, with an empty restaurant dining room in the background.

Founded in 1894 and open until late, Chocolatería San Ginés specializes in hot chocolate served with a side of fresh churros. The restaurant has a long-running special that awards churros and chocolate to whoever posts the best photo on Instagram of the – no surprise – decadent churro and chocolate duo.


10. Kakawa Chocolate House

A blue patterned mug with hot chocolate and loose cacao.

Drinking hot chocolate was traditionally enjoyed by Mesoamerican, Mayan and Aztec cultures before settlers brought it back to Europe. Kakawa means ‘cacao’ in the Olmec language, and the chocolatiers at Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe prepare their product using recreations of traditional Mesoamerican recipes.

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