January 16, 2013

Soup to Nuts: Trending hot! Hot chocolate, that is

For hot chocolate (or cocoa) lovers, Portland may well be paradise.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 3)

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Marguerite Swoboda uses the frother on her espresso machine to make her salted caramel hot chocolate.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Marguerite Swoboda of Sweet Marguerites in South Portland melts chocolate that she’ll use in her salted caramel hot chocolate.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


SOME PEOPLE ARE MARSHMALLOWS. Others are whipped cream. People feel strongly about what they put in their hot chocolate, and they can get awfully creative, too. I asked folks on my Twitter and Facebook pages to tell me what they like to add to their hot chocolate, and here are some of their suggestions:

Cayenne, cinnamon and maybe whiskey

Peppermint Schnapps


Homemade marshmallows

A shot of Bailey's Irish Cream with a dust of cinnamon and shaved chocolate on the whipped cream

Cinnamon, ancho chile and cardamom, just like the lovely sipping cocoa from Black Dinah Chocolatiers

Marshmallow Fluff

Godiva liqueur

A candy cane to stir it with

Toasted coconut marshmallows

Cinnamon and cardamom,a bit of ginger

Mini marshmallows

"I like to dip buttered toast into it"


Amarula liqueur


Plain cake doughnuts

A touch of chai


Coffee ice cubes

"Booze! Kahlua, Bailey's, Chambord, Nocello, Fra Angelico, etc. All good"

-- Meredith Goad, staff writer


For toppings, you can have either whipped cream or a big homemade marshmallow shaped like a star. I chose the marshmallow, and the woman behind the counter got out a little hand-held torch and "roasted" it for me.

This drink was just exquisite. Extremely rich, but exquisite.



82 Middle St., Portland

Varieties: Double dark, white chocolate mocha, Aztec

Cost: $10.50 for a 9-ounce package that makes 8 to 10 cups

White chocolate mocha: Aztec: three-and-a-half cups of hot cocoa

You can't buy individual cups of Dean's Sweets hot chocolates. They are only sold in take-home mixes.

Dean Bingham recommends using a heaping tablespoon of mix for each cup, then letting his cocoas sit for about 45 seconds before drinking so the chocolate chips in the mix have a chance to melt. Then, he says, it should be whipped or shaken to get it nice and frothy.

I tried two of Bingham's three cocoas, adding froth to both with my hand blender. The white chocolate mocha contains unsweetened cocoa powder, white chocolate chips and a Coffee By Design Italian roast coffee in a Turkish grind. That, Bingham says, "means that you end up with a little bit of residue at the bottom of the cup, but it gives you great coffee flavor."

The white chocolate mocha is for the person who doesn't like their hot chocolate very sweet. It had a mild bitterness to it, and I couldn't detect much white chocolate flavor -- maybe I didn't spoon enough white chocolate chips into the cup. I like mochas, though, and this was a nice change of pace after trying so many other sweet hot chocolates around town. But it's not something I would have, say, every weekend.

I much preferred the Aztec chocolate, which Bingham says is his favorite as well. The hot chocolate's heat and flavor comes from a blend of cayenne, cinnamon and star anise. I thought the star anise was an especially nice touch. The cayenne gave it plenty of heat, but not enough to overwhelm the chocolate flavor.

Dean's Sweets also makes homemade marshmallows for those who prefer something better, and lighter, than what comes in the plastic packages at the grocery store.



9 Monument Square, Portland

Varieties: Peppermint cocoa, plus others made with flavored syrups

Cost: $2.75 for a smallTwo-and-a-half hot cocoa cups

This is your standard cocoa, made with cocoa, sugar, whole milk and flavored syrup. But it was good, and the peppermint flavor wasn't too strong. If you like peppermint cocoa and want to just grab one on the way to work, this one will serve you well.Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:


Twitter: MeredithGoad


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Additional Photos

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Ingredients include Maine sea salt, caramel, cinnamon, whole milk and El Rey bittersweet and milk chocolate.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Gelato Fiasco's hot chocolate

Photo by Meredith Goad/Staff Writer

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Hot chocolate at Gorgeous Gelato

Photo by Meredith Goad/Staff Writer

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Sweet Marguerites hot chocolate

Photo by Meredith Goad/Staff Writer


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