News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
September 23, 2014
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Food + Drink

Hot Cocoa: Best and Worst

By Erin Behan

Nunu's Chocolate on Atlantic is No. 1 for hot chocolate
Photo by Joshua Kristal

Wrap everything that’s good about winter — the beauty of those first flakes, the sparkle under streetlights after a swirling snowstorm — into a single drink. It’s a tall order. If any beverage comes close, it’s a velvety, creamy mug of hot chocolate, the heart-warming answer to wet socks and cold fingers.

South Brooklyn is rich with options when it comes to chocolatey goodness, so South Brooklyn Post set out to find the best hot chocolate on which to spend your time and money. Our search—and our noses—led us straight to Boerum Hill’s Nunu Chocolates on Atlantic Ave., where the aroma of cocoa spills onto the street.

Known more for its hand-dipped salted caramels (Gourmet Magazine, New York Times, New York and a host of others heap praise on these sinful treats, sold at gourmet stores such as Court Street’s Union Market), Nunu turns out a first-rate hot chocolate ($4). You won’t find a better cup in the area.

Made from 65 percent dark chocolate shavings whisked into steamed, foamed milk, the drink is served piping hot in a wide-mouth black cup. A cluster of chocolate shavings tops a dark foam. The rich flavor — more bitter than sweet — hugs the mouth and lingers long after the last drop is drained.

If you’ve a little time to spare, there’s space at Nunu for quiet conversation and contemplation. Low seats skirt a window onto Atlantic Avenue, and several high-top tables overlook chocolate-making in the back of the store.

In a close second for “best hot chocolate” in the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill area, savor the recession-priced ($2.50) cup of goodness at One Girl Cookies, which has bar tables and features a sweet little seating area overlooking Dean Street. Where Nunu appeals to the sophisticated chocolate-lover with its dark and bitter grownup-ode, One Girl Cookies captures a kid’s ideal.

Sweet and chocolate-y, yet light, One Girl Cookie’s hot cocoa features homemade ganache dropped into freshly foamed milk. Order it topped with a homemade marshmallow: As the marshmallow melts into the light-as-air cocoa, memories of childhood dance around the blue-egg-shell-colored space. It’ll be hard to enjoy this cup without a sample of the shop’s famous cookies, or a show-stopping whoopie pie.

The bronze for hot cocoa goes to Sweet Melissa on Court Street in Cobble Hill. The most expensive version in our contest of cocoas, at $4.50, Sweet Melissa’s classic, sweet version is made from chocolate chips and steamed milk and served in a hefty mug. A homemade marshmallow topping adds to the sweetness.

With the good comes the bad. Who’s got the worst hot cocoa in the hood? I have to hand that award to the folks over at The Chocolate Room, on Court in Cobble Hill. Yes, I think this chocolate mecca has it in them to make a good hot cocoa — their chocolates and truffles are great. But if they continue serving “tepid” cocoa at a languorous pace, for $4.50, that tastes of more milk than chocolate, well, even that luscious homemade whipped cream won’t save them.

What’s your vote?

Nunu

529 Atlantic Avenue  (917) 776-7102 Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat-Sun 9am-9pm

One Girl Cookies

68 Dean St  (212) 675-4996 Mon-Thu 8am-7pm, Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 10am-7pm

Sweet Melissa Patisserie

276 Court St

(718) 855-3410 Mon-Thu 7:30am-10pm, Fri 7:30am-12am, Sat 8am-12am, Sun 8am-10pm

Jacques Torres

66 Water Street

(718) 875-1269 Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm

Chocolate Room

269 Court St

(718) 246-2800 Sun-Thu 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am

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