I have a confession to make: I gave up chocolate for Lent. Well, I did, and then, one Sunday afternoon, I went to the Gryphon and tried six hot chocolates. I know what you’re thinking: “Six hot chocolates? I take it you’re sinning boldly!” I reasoned that Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent, and besides, if I drink the chocolate, it’s different, right?
The Gryphon prides itself on creating homemade, old-fashioned hot chocolates; no Swiss Miss packets will be found in the place. Instead, they mingle together cocoa powder, sugar, sea salt, and creams to create the perfectly smooth treat to combat the bitter cold. Along with the six flavors I tried, the café is debuting Gingerbread and Lemon flavors, all of which are sure to entertain the bored chocoholic.
Ancho: The name intrigued me (named for the pepper with the same name), so of course, I tried it first. Upon first whiff, it smells of cinnamon. Wimpy as I am with spicy flavors, I was relieved that they didn’t overdo it with this one; it is the perfect balance of spice and sweetness. A Gryphon employee revealed part of the flavor’s winning combination: chili peppers and prunes!
Classic: There is nothing regular about this one. The creamy, liquid chocolate beckoned me. The texture was heavenly in its smoothness: no bumps, no chocolate chunks, no separation, just creamy goodness. If you’re seeking a bit of sugar but afraid to commit to a bold flavor, you won’t be disappointed by this classic.
Mint: When the cup reached my lips, I was brought back to the snowy sledding breaks of my childhood, when I would dip a candy cane into a steaming cup of hot chocolate. In those days, I always found a giant puddle of syrupy mess at the bottom of my cup. Not so in this revival! The peppermint and chocolate coalesce just enough for richness and refreshment. The mint overpowers the chocolate, in a delightful way. Who says you can’t have minty fresh breath after a cup of hot chocolate anyway?
Rose: Did you actually believe that roses and chocolate only cohabitated on Valentine’s Day? Rose essence pairs with white chocolate in this one-of-a-kind beverage, topped with crushed pistachios. Before the first taste, I feared it would bring me back to the overpowering scent of Grandma’s flowery perfume. To the contrary, this unique marriage was by far my favorite; I kept coming back to it and sipped every last drop. The bouquet stays with you long after your last sip.
White: Imagine a melted Cookies and Cream Hershey’s bar, minus the chocolate cookie pieces, plus foamy, smooth milk. A spin off of the classic option, the White Hot Chocolate is tasteful enough to compete.
Earl Grey: Tea lovers, there is an option for you! As the cup approached my lips, I breathed the distinctive and familiar comfort of Earl Grey. It is both sweet and savory, like tea and scones all in one place.