Hot chocolate is the perfect drink for combating Ontario winters. The cold, the snow, and the slush would be near unbearable if not for the cup of hot chocolate waiting for you at so many cafes across the city of London.
These cafes aren’t just spooning powdered mix into a cup of boiling water, though. As the name should imply, the hot chocolate uses actual chocolate to bestow your drink with richness and flavour that no powder can offer.
The milk and the chocolate come together in holy matrimony to create an antidote to the effects of winter. Its warming capabilities are unparalleled, it’s flavour is comforting, and it’ll almost make you forget that you have to go shovel your driveway.
So, if you can brave the cold this winter, these are the places to go in London for the best hot chocolate.
Black Walnut Bakery Cafe
Neighbourhood: Downtown London & Old South
724 Richmond St. (map) & 134 Wortley Rd. (map)
Whether you’re hanging out downtown or in Wortley Village, Black Walnut Bakery Café is one of the best places to stop if you need something warm and chocolatey. In some cases, that may be a baked good, but this time it’s a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
The hot chocolate starts with semi-sweet chocolate chips. So you won’t be feeling the full bitterness of a dark chocolate, but it also won’t feel like your drink is giving you a cavity with each sip. The chocolate chips are melted down and combined with steamed milk to give you an end result of the perfect cup of hot chocolate.
Warming, delicious, chocolatey goodness. The only downside is that the cup has a bottom. You’ll want to keep on sipping on Black Walnut’s hot chocolate until the snow melts and the spring returns!
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
1018 Dundass St. (map)
10Eighteen is a charming little café in the Old East Village that have proven themselves to be among the best in London for when you need to warm up. From the best coffee in the city to this, the best hot chocolate, 10Eighteen will not disappoint.
Hot chocolate doesn’t need to be fancy to be delicious, all you need are good ingredients. Superior chocolate makes all the difference in a cup of hot chocolate, of course. It’s the driving factor towards the overall flavour. 10Eighteen uses high quality chocolate to make their drinks, as opposed to cocoa powder, which would make it hot cocoa instead of hot chocolate. By using real chocolate, the drink is thicker and richer, which is definitely our preference.
You can even add a shot of their insanely delicious toasted marshmallow syrup. It’s like drinking s’mores, what more could you possibly want?
Undoubtedly, 10Eighteen is an SKB favourite. Their hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up, whether you spent the day outside or the trip from your door to the car was enough to chill your bones.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
140 Ann St. (map)
Origins Co. is a pretty new face in London’s food scene. Opened just a year ago (almost to the day at the time of writing), they’ve made a name for themselves in the grab and go sector. From their smoothie bowls to fresh juices to baked goods, Origins Co. has got delicious and healthy food that caters to a bunch of diets, including gluten free, keto, and vegan!
Speaking of vegan, their hot chocolate has absolutely no animal products! It’s a perfect drink for the vegan or lactose intolerant chocolate lovers. No milk doesn’t sacrifice any flavour or richness though. The hot chocolate at Origins Co. is just as creamy and delicious as any other cup of cocoa, if not more so!
Your hot chocolate is served with a shot of espresso, adding some more caffeine and enhancing the chocolatiness. Cocoa and coffee have many of the same taste elements, so they meld together into a flavour unlike anything else!
If chocolate isn’t enough flavour for you, add a shot of sweet, flavoured syrup to your drink and take it to the next level. Vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, peppermint, Irish cream, and chocolate flavour can be added to any drink, including your hot chocolate (although that last one seems a little redundant) to add flavour and sweetness!
Plus, they randomly select two names every day that get a free hot drink! They announce them on social media every morning, so keep your eyes peeled for your name and maybe you can get your hot chocolate totally free of charge!
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
610 Dundas St. (map)
Just west of the Dundas/Adelaide intersection, Wisdom Teashop offers amazing hot and cold beverages and tasty treats, like Japanese-style crepes and homemade gelato. Their main focus is tea, they’ve got nearly 150 different varieties that you can order, and they’ve got incredible coffee drinks using Propeller Coffee Company’s beans, but their drink menu also has one of the greatest cups of hot chocolate that you can get in the city.
Their secret is the chocolate they use. The finest quality Belgian chocolate goes into your drink, and you can really taste the difference. No premixed powder or cheap chocolate chips here.
The hot chocolate at Wisdom Teashop comes in two varieties, either dark or white. The dark Belgian chocolate is earthy and bitter with a hint of sweetness to take the edge off. The white chocolate is sugary and rich, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
If you’re in need of an extra kick of energy, you can add a shot of espresso, turning your hot chocolate into a mocha of sorts. The flavours of the coffee and the chocolate play off each other so nicely, making a perfect beverage for those that are both coffee addicts and chocoholics.
Wisdom Teashop is the perfect spot to stop for hot drinks of all kinds. Their menu is outstanding overall, but in the case of this list, their hot chocolate really stands out. Using quality ingredients really does make a difference, plus the rare option for a white hot chocolate? It’s easy to say that Wisdom Teashop is one of the best in the city.
Hasbeans Coffee Company
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
130 King St. (map)
Hasbeans are some of London’s foremost coffee experts. Calling themselves London’s original micro-roaster, they’ve been roasting and selling their own beans since before Starbucks opened their first shop in Seattle. But today isn’t about the coffee, it’s about a different kind of bean that’s processed into an incredible drink: the cocoa bean.
Hasbeans’ hot chocolate is made from scratch with quality ingredients. With all their experience in coffee, they know that starting with the right ingredients is of the utmost importance to truly enjoying your end product.
Chocolate and milk are combined in perfect proportion to give you a luscious drink. Creamy and steaming hot, it’ll warm you up to the very core.
To top off your beverage, a dusting of cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon complements the chocolate, and the sugar adds a wonderful sweetness to your first few sips.
After a hot chocolate from Hasbeans, you’ll almost forget all about the heaps of snow, the 4:30 sunset, and all your other winter woes, which is exactly what you want from a hot chocolate.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
408 Pall Mall St. (map)
Locomotive Espresso is an awesome café on the corner of Pall Mall and Colbourne just east of the downtown core. Like their name implies, espresso is their specialty, but their menu has lots of delicious options for both food and drink that you can enjoy, including hot chocolate!
Their hot chocolate is the embodiment of creamy, chocolatey goodness. The dark chocolate is decadent and rich, making for an awesome drink.
Right now, they’ve got a seasonal peppermint hot chocolate. But unlike some other places that add a pump or two of syrup, Locomotive Espresso uses peppermint tea to instill your drink with that minty flavour. Using tea instead of syrup adds less sweetness to your drink, as well as being less processed than your typical syrup. Its natural and delicious flavour elevates the hot chocolate to top tier flavour!
Or, if you want chocolate, but also crave coffee, you can try their new smoked mocha! Their amazing mocha latte, which uses quality dark chocolate and their perfect espresso, and adds a dash of smoked salt. The salt amplifies the rich chocolate notes, while the smoke adds a complex depth that you won’t find in any other drink.
Williams Fresh Cafe
Neighbourhood: Downtown London & Westmount
578 Richmond St. & 3030 Wonderland Rd. S (map)
Williams may not be a London business, but their hot chocolate is still the bomb. Offered in both dark and white varieties, the steamed hot chocolate at Williams is definitely one of our favourite drinks on the menu.
Just for fun, you can add a flavour shot to your hot chocolate! The flavours are vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel, each sounding more delicious than the last. The hazelnut flavour shot basically makes it taste like you’re drinking a cup of Nutella, and if that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what does.
The Richmond Row Williams location is a great spot to hit when you’re downtown. This is especially true when you’re skating at Victoria Park. Williams is barely a stone’s throw from the rink, making it the perfect place to grab a hot drink to warm back up after a nice day of skating.