Pasadena’s Top Three Hot Chocolates to Keep You Warm This Winter

Friday, December 4, 2015 | 9:05 pm

Hot chocolate, a simple concoction made from cacao with a centuries-old heritage, was originally used as medicine in the 19th century and highly prized for its health benefits. Although hot chocolate isn’t something your modern doctor will prescribe, that doesn’t mean it can’t soothe your winter chills, lift your mood and put you in the holiday spirit.

Pasadena Now took on the arduous task of sampling the best hot chocolates the city has to offer so you can sip the smoothest, most indulgent hot chocolates. Nothing warms you up like a steaming mug of chocolate. Grab some friends and beat the winter chills with these dessert-worthy cups of joy.


Zona Rosa

Mexican Hot Chocolate to Wake Up Your Taste Buds and Even Enjoy Iced

Mexican hot chocolate is an entirely different drinking experience than the Swiss Miss packets you pick up at the grocery store. This spicy, sweet blend of Ibara chocolate bricks, cinnamon, milk and whipped cream is a dessert-worthy indulgence. The spices really shine in this drink and the cream complements the dark, sweet chocolate. Zona Rosa will also substitute non-dairy milk on request. Try it hot or iced but don’t forget the generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Zona Rosa is located at 15 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena. Call (626) 793-2334 or visit


Contessa Collections

Indulgently Smooth Italian Sipping Chocolate on a Secret Menu

This gourmet food importer focuses on real food made without genetically modified ingredients. Luisa Fabbri, the owner, has a philosophy that people should take more time out of their days to enjoy high-quality food.

“If it has ingredients on there that your grandma can’t pronounce then don’t eat it…we need to be advocates for real food,” she said.

Their sipping chocolate, although it’s no longer posted on the menu, is the real deal. This hearty drink comes in a small portion and is made from the finest chocolate in Italy. The drink has a rich texture and clean finish but isn’t for the faint of heart- the chocolate is intensely flavorful.

Contessa is located at 380 South Lake Avenue, #111 in the Burlington Arcade, Pasadena. Call
(626) 793-7761 or visit for more details.


Amara Cafe

Our Top Pick for Flavorful and Rich Chocolates in Every Flavor Imaginable

Get a taste of Venezuela in Old Pasadena. Amara Cafe, owned and operated by Amara Barroeta is an updated take on Venezuelan food and, of course, chocolate. Most impressive is their recent Bronze medal for their Gran Criollo sipping chocolate from the International Chocolate Competition at the Schokolade Gourmet Festival in September 2015.

The selection of hot chocolates and handmade chocolates is mouthwatering at best and sinfully tempting at worst. Barroeta uses only imported Venezuelan chocolate in all her drinks and offers two categories of hot chocolates.

Barroeta’s mission is to introduce people to the world of Venezuelan food and let them taste the difference freshly prepared chocolate makes.

“Most people don’t know about Venezuelan food – there’s an important balance between sweet and savory,” she said. This means that the empanada dough has a slightly sweet flavor and the drinks are not overly sweet.

Choose from Old World or Leche con Chocolate, the former is more akin to a European sipping chocolate and is made with whole milk, it is traditionally served with churros. Try the Venezuelan Old World Chocolate for an indulgently rich and slightly savory chocolate drink served with light, crispy churros dusted in sugar.

Leche con Chocolate is made on the spot and can use soy, almond or 2% milk and melted chocolate. Try a Pasadena Leche con Chocolate with locally produced salted caramel marshmallows, toasted to perfection. Barroeta adds that the churros are both dairy and egg -free so they can be enjoyed by vegans. Simply order a Leche con Chocolate with soy or almond milk and dip to your heart’s content.

If you’ve fallen in love with Amara’s hot chocolates – and who hasn’t by now- you’re in luck. Amara also offers hot chocolate for sale in store and on Amazon so you can continue to sip and savor.

Amara Cafe is located at 55 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. Call (626) 710 – 8831 or visit for more details.


It’s getting cold outside and nothing warms you up like a piping hot cup of chocolate. Sample these top three picks and tell us your favorites in the comments or on Facebook. Happy Sipping!

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