Everything old is new again—at least, when it comes to hot chocolate. The wintertime drink has been around for thousands of years, dating to the Aztecs, Mayans, and even older civilizations. We can thank our European forefathers for transforming the Mexican beverage into the sweet cocoa concoction we indulge in today. Around town, you'll find several versions to chase away the cold. Vaccaro's (222 Albemarle St., 410-685-4905) uses a Nestle hot-chocolate mix with milk and adds a decadent swirl of whipped topping, plus you get a sugar cookie with your order ($2.30-3.40). In Fells Point, Pitango Gelato (802 S. Broadway, 410-702-5828) offers a really intense dark chocolate or chocolate hazelnut drink, made with all organic ingredients, ($3.75-4.50). If you're looking for an extra flavor boost, go for the mint hot chocolate ($2.80-3.65) at Spoons Coffee House & Roastery (24 E. Cross St., 410-539-6751). "It's like eating an Andes mint," our barista said. But the sweetest news comes from a Cornell University study that found a healthy twist. Researchers determined that a mug of hot cocoa contains more antioxidants per cup than a similar serving of red wine or tea. Now, there's something to drink to.
Issue date: January, 2008