Move over, Europe. Your ultra thick, ultra rich, ultra luxe drinking chocolates are great, but sometimes you just want a mug of really good, everyday hot chocolate. Zingerman’s cocoa connoisseurs spent months formulating, blending and testing Next Door Café’s house blend of hot cocoa mix.
“We ordered just about every cocoa we could find – everything from the biggest to smallest chocolatier companies – and tried them all. The range of flavor profiles was huge. We found that we liked something in between an earthy, bold chocolate flavor and a little bit of fruitiness. We now use it to make all of the cocoa and mochas at Next Door Café. The mix of sweetness to bitter to earthy/fruity is just right, in my opinion,” said Reina Telin, manager of Next Door Café.
The result is a mix that’s deep flavor without being overwhelmingly rich – great for everyone in the family, especially kids in après-sled mode. You can enjoy a cup of this specially-crafted cocoa by ordering a beverage at Next Door Café, or by picking up your very own canister of cocoa to make at home.
Hot Cocoa: From Cafe Exclusive to Pantry Staple
For a while, the mix was exclusively available at Next Door Café. Over time, people started asking to buy the cocoa blend to make at home. From there, the idea of packaging the mix for retail sales was born!
“Next Door Café staff would put the house mix into to-go coffee cups for guests to stock their pantries with. We quickly realized we were missing an opportunity to create a retail product to offer to people a chance to enjoy hot cocoa in their own homes,” said Reina.
Comprised of Guittard unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar, each container of cocoa makes 16 servings and each container is sold for 9.99 or two for 15.99.
Recipe for Great Cocoa
Makes 2 servings
4 T Zingerman’s Hot Cocoa Mix
1½ cups hot milk (160 degrees. Do not boil.)
Slowly stir or whisk hot milk while adding the cocoa mix.
Combine thoroughly. Pour into your favorite mug.
Hot Cocoa Hacks: Tips from Our Baristas
If you have your special Next Door Café mix of hot cocoa in hand and are interested in adding a few barista tricks to serve up hot cocoa 2.0, check out the following tips from from Next Door Café’s resident chocolate experts:
- Pair Zingerman’s hot cocoa with a fluffy, delicately sweet handmade vanilla marshmallow from Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory
- Add a pinch of sea salt, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon
- Add irish cream flavoring to recreate Next Door Café’s Danny Boy drink, or add a splash of real Irish Cream!
- Add it to your favorite espresso drinks, with milk, or stir a spoonful into your coffee (we prefer the Next Door Café Blend)
Hot Cocoa For Sale!
To procure your very own tin of Next Door Café’s hot cocoa mix, visit the Deli’s online store, or visit zingermans.com to have it shipped to your house! The cute canister makes a great hostess gift, stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift for your most cocoa crazy friend.