Sazon Restaurant & Cafe
941 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Sazon is a cash-only BYOB in Northern Liberties that serves home-style Venezuelan cuisine in addition to some of the finest chocolate that Philadelphia has to offer. Robert F. Campbell Jr. and Judith Suzarra-Campbell are the husband and wife team behind the restaurant with Judith in the main restaurant cooking delicious gluten-free meals made with family recipes and Robert in the front with his gourmet chocolates. Known as the Chocolate Alchemist, Robert creates over 20 varieties of hot chocolate. Varieties range from the original creamy “Clasico” made with five different cacao beans to the “Vaca Perdida” (The Lost Cow) made with dark chocolate and soy milk for a lactose-free option. “Calabaza King” is a fall favorite consisting of creamy chocolate, fresh pumpkin, a variety of warm spices and a pumpkin cream topping. These gourmet chocolate drinks are made with free-range local dairy, fairly-traded cacao beans and unrefined brown sugar and without refined sugar, gluten, artificial colors, wax or preservatives.
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The Franklin Fountain
116 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
This old-fashioned ice cream and soda shop is a summer favorite, but it also offers plenty of sweet treats for colder weather. The winter menu is offered October through February with three kinds of hot chocolate available. Choose between European-style drinking chocolate (melted fine chocolate with homemade marshmallow) and American cocoa (Dutch-process cocoa powder, steamed milk, sugar and salt with homemade whipped cream) for $6 or opt for a hot chocolate float made with hot chocolate and a scoop of ice cream for $7. For a truly unique spin on hot chocolate, try a Franklin Fountain original, the hot milkshake, with flavors like “Toasted Marshmallow Malted.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House
1310 Drury St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Known for its cozy, relaxed atmosphere, McGillin’s is a Philadelphia tradition going back to the year 1860. Come in out of the cold and enjoy a hot drink by the roaring fire. Choose from two hot chocolates (each made with shot for extra warmth) for $6. “Snowshoes” features a shot of butterscotch liquor and “Drury Sleigh Ride” is made with a 1/2 shot of Irish cream and 1/2 shot of white cream de menthe. Both drinks are served in mugs and topped with whipped cream. McGillin’s stays open in sleet or snow, so it’s the perfect spot to warm up during the harsh winter days. (And if you want to double check, be sure to look for the hashtag #OpeninPHL on Twitter.)
1205 S. 9th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Cafe Crema opened in late 2014 as a spinoff of the popular Rim Cafe – home of the famous “Volcano” hot chocolate drink. Owner and chocolatier Rene Kobietri’s new location specializes in Sicilian-imported cannolis that are filled in-house with a homemade blend of mascarpone and ricotta. A wide variety of homemade toppings and dipping options make the cannolis pastry masterpieces. Pair your cannoli with a custom hot chocolate made right in front of you at the hot chocolate bar. No mixes here. Rene makes his own chocolate in flavors ranging from the usual milk, dark and white to the more exotic spicy cinnamon with jalapeno and parmesan cheese chocolate. Choose your favorite chocolate(s) from the case, and the barista will mix them into a cup of steamed milk for a truly decadent treat. Hot chocolates average $6 per order.
10 Arts Bistro And Lounge
10 Avenue of the Arts
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The festivities don’t start for a few more weeks, but it’s certainly worth the wait. The Ritz-Carlton is famous for its seasonal splendor, and the fun begins the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 27 and runs through January 3. Visit the beautiful lobby of the historic hotel between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to enjoy the ultimate holiday hot chocolate bar. The decadent drinks are made from the Belgium luxury chocolate brand Callebaut and available as “nice” hot chocolates for children and adults alike or “naughty” for adults. The classic hot chocolate ($8) is served with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and dark chocolate curls, while the enhanced version ($10) includes an additional assortment of marshmallows, candies and cookies. Adults can add a shot of selected liquors or cordials to the classic or enhanced hot chocolate for an extra $6. Treat the family to some nibbles along with their drinks by adding on the holiday cookie plate for $12. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for more information regarding the 10 Arts Cookie Contest. For the first time ever, children will be invited to decorate a cookie and enter to win prizes via social media.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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