The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Nothing like a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a bitter cold day. Here are some places on Long Island that do a fine job:
Herrells , 46L Gerard St., Huntington, 631-673-1100
Its something I wish all ice cream stores would do in winter: make really good hot chocolate. Well, at least Herrells has stepped up to the plate. The Huntington shop offers seven hot flavors: original, malted, peppermint, coconut, Irish cream, Mexican (with cinnamon) and hot hot chocolate (with cayenne). $2.25, $2.75 with freshly whipped cream.
Fresco Creperie , 150A E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-897-8097 and 72 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-280-6630
The moccachino at this crepe-centric restaurant is made with dark Belgian chocolate, steamed milk, amping it up with a shot of espresso. Served in a tall parfait glass, it's finished with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup. $4.25.
Azure Chocolat , 72 Broadway, Greenlawn, 631-425-1885
Chocolatier Heather Foley uses two kinds of dark Belgian chocolate to make the drink, done with a dulce de leche base and milk. In original, mocha (with espresso and cocoa), fall spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ginger) and spicy (fall spice plus chipotle and cayenne). All can be had in a nondairy version made with rice milk. House-made marshmallows are optional. $3.50
Sweets of the Spoon
, 597 Route 25A, Rocky Point, 631-849-4771
At this ice cream parlor/cafe, a blend of imported cocoa powder is mixed with steamed milk and caramel syrup, topped off with freshly whipped cream and a caramel drizzle. The result is both creamy and frothy. $2.95 for 12 ounces, 16 ounces for $3.45.
Or, if you don't want to leave the warmth of your own home:
BASIC HOT COCOA
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups milk
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar with water. Bring to a simmer, shaking pan occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add cocoa powder, whisking until it is completely dissolved. Add milk and place over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until mixture is very hot, but don't let it boil. Makes 3 to 4 servings.
PARISIAN-STYLE HOT CHOCOLATE
This recipe from Carol Blooms All About Chocolate (Macmillan, $ 17.95) re-creates the rich beverage served at Angelina, the famous tea salon in Paris. This hot chocolate isn't as sweet as you may be accustomed to; you can add sugar at the table, if desired.
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream (optional)
1. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, cream and cocoa powder. Warm over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the cocoa. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until it melts completely. Bring mixture to a simmer, but do not boil. Return the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Stir mixture to cool briefly, then ladle into serving cups. Top with dollop of whipped cream if desired. Makes 3 to 4 servings.