Hot Chocolate: Four Creative Menu Ideas – US food trends

30 March 2010
Hot Chocolate: Four Creative Menu Ideas – US food trends

Diners seek cold-weather comfort in steaming sips of sweet, smooth hot chocolate.

This article first appeared in the 1 February2010 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. Visit the R&I website to find out more about the magazine or to search its recipe database.

By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor

White Hot Chocolate (pictured above)
Jazzman's Cafe & Bakery, multiple locations.
White-chocolate sauce mixed with steamed milk offers customers a warming winter alternative to standard hot chocolate at this 220-unit chain from Gaithersburg, Md.-based Sodexo's Retail Brand Group. What remains classic is the generous dollop of whipped cream drizzed with chocolate.

Haute Chocolate

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.
Executive Chef Kevin Hickey's ritzy rendition stars artisanal chocolate heated with half-and-half. Delivered on a silver tray and churned tableside in traditional French hot-chocolate pots, the drink is poured into cups topped with a chocolate lattice. House-made chocolate marshmallows and cream are served alongside.

Chocolate Caliente

Cascabel Taqueria, New York City.
Chef Todd Mitgang's Mexican-accented recipe features 72% dark chocolate steeped with whole milk, cloves, a Mexican-cinnamon stick, evaporated cane juice, vanilla-bean paste, sea salt and an ancho chile. Before serving, the hot chocolate is frothed with a wooden whisk called a molinillo, shown below left.

Dark Chocolate Mocha

Caribou Coffee, multiple locations.
Most coffee shops add chocolate-flavored powders or syrups to espresso and steamed milk to make mocha drinks. Minneapolis-based Caribou recently changed its mocha recipe to feature chunks of real dark, milk or white chocolate, which are melted into the milk. Chocolate chips dot the whipped-cream topping.

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