Braving Missouri's wintertime cold and snow is the perfect excuse to reward yourself with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. No, I'm not talking about ripping open a paper packet and adding hot water (although, in a pinch, that will suffice). Envision a delicious amalgamation of high-quality chocolate and hot, creamy milk (dairy, nut or otherwise) – it's the perfect winter treat to warm you from head to toe. Missouri has an appealing variety of hot chocolate spots to choose from, including these you won't want to miss:
Three Story Coffee - Jefferson City: Locally owned and operated, Three Story Coffee is not only a direct-trade coffee roaster with a passion for supporting small coffee farmers, they make a killer hot chocolate with Askinosie cocoa powder from Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, Mo.
Mudhouse Coffee - Springfield: On your way to one of Missouri's top attractions, Wonders of Wildlife, grab a sinfully rich "Mudturtle" hot chocolate from Mudhouse Coffee. Melted gourmet chocolate is mixed with real caramel and topped with whipped cream to create a cup of decadence to wrap your hands around.
Second Best Coffee – Kansas City: An espresso-centric slow bar located in the Waldo neighborhood, Second Best Coffee touts Kansas City's first Slayer Espresso Machine (look it up, it's a big deal). Order a steamer hot chocolate with vanilla, lavender-honey, blackberry-juniper, or cinnamon house-made syrups. They also make almond milk in-house!
Barista's Coffee Bar - Cape Girardeau: Sometimes something a little stronger is required to banish the winter blues. Visit Barista's Coffee Bar, located in Cape Girardeau's historic Marquette Tower, on Bloody Mary Weekends (also known as every weekend) and choose from a variety of coffee and hot chocolate cocktails, including the Chocolate Kiss (the "Kiss" is Kahlua).
Bailey's Chocolate Bar – St. Louis: Specializing in all things chocolate (as indicated by the name), Baily's Chocolate Bar offers a classic hot chocolate made with semi-sweet, white or dark chocolate. Or be daring and try the "Smoky Spicy Rich" with chipotle and pepita.
Written by Amanda Long