While San Francisco is known for its ultra-healthy, gourmet and locally-sourced cuisine, the city also delivers when it comes to indulgent sweets and treats. In fact, as the air garners a crisp winter chill, San Francisco becomes the ultimate haven for hot chocolate aficionados. While exploring the city with family and friends this holiday season, stay cozy and get into the spirit with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. Whether it’s a classic, spiced or spiked libation you seek, you’ll find that San Francisco satiates any and all chocolate cravings.
Just moments from The Harrison lies Socola, a chocolatier and barista that has the friendliest staff in all of SoMa and an unforgettable cup of hot chocolate. Take a seat in their darling, family-run storefront and order a cup of cocoa with a delicious baked good on the side.
A bean-to-bar chocolate factory in both the Mission District and Ferry Building, Dandelion Chocolate features a seemingly endless array of hot cocoa recipes. Order their incredible house hot chocolate, spiced mission hot chocolate, Italian-inspired drinking hot chocolate or frozen hot chocolate, served with a cookie and homemade marshmallows.
For those seeking a sweet and spiked hot chocolate, look no further than Tosca Café. Although there’s no espresso added to the mix, their “House Cappuccino”—also known as an adult hot chocolate—is made with Dandelion chocolate ganache, organic milk, Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Sit back, relax, sip and take in the café’s inspiring old-school ambiance.
One of the city’s most sought-after cafés and bakeries, Jane on Fillmore pours up a hot chocolate that doubles as a piece of art. Made with equal parts of 63% Guittard chocolate and 72% Valrhona chocolate, this decadent cup of cocoa is topped an artistic design and a homemade marshmallow.
Set within the Ferry Building, Boulettes Larder serves up an unforgettable cup of European-style hot chocolate. Incredibly thick and decadent, this sweet treat is best enjoyed whilst watching the boats float by amongst the bay.
Located in the Mission District, La Oaxaqueña serves one of the best Mexican hot chocolates in the city. Pulverized blocks of cacao are mixed with almonds and cinnamon, dissolved in steamed milk, frothed then topped with guajillo chili powder for an extra kick. This sweet and spicy dessert drink is served in a pitcher with two mugs, because they’re confident you’ll order another.
Tartine is one of the most coveted bakeries in the city, so it should come as no surprise that their hot chocolate is top-notch. A classic winter libation made with valrhona chocolate, this craveworthy cup of hot cocoa is best served with homemade whipped cream—it’s so good, in fact, that you’ll have to ask for it off menu.
Craftsman and Wolves, a contemporary patisserie in the Mission District, makes a valrhona hot chocolate that is served with homemade dark chocolate spearmint marshmallows; the perfect combination of rich cocoa and mint.
Recchiuti Confections has become so renowned for their European hot chocolate that they decided to ultimately share the recipe. Dark, hot and bittersweet, this rich delicacy is only available seasonally at their store, served with delicious homemade vanilla bean marshmallows.
Located in the Westfield Shopping Center, Caffé Central serves up a spiced hot chocolate made with TCHO cocoa that’s both organic and fair trade; which means you don’t have to feel guilty about having a cup or two.
And, if you find that your sweet tooth isn’t yet satisfied, sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k to work up an appetite for your favorite winter treat. Coined as “America’s Sweetest Race,” the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is both a laudable charitable effort, with proceeds donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a subsequent chocolate extravaganza. On January 13, 2019, runners will hit the streets of San Francisco and delight in a post race party with music, a family-friendly kid zone and—of course—a boundless spread of hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and tasty dippable treats. Register for the event here.