The dark hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick chocolate shop and cafe is so thick it coats the spoon. Its intensity is a distraction from the biting chill outside. To achieve the richness, the chocolatier blends high quality South American and Caribbean cocoa beans and melts shaved chocolate into steaming milk. There are several other choices here too: milk hot chocolate — sweeter than the dark but equally as luscious — and a creamy, vanilla-tinged white made from cocoa butter. The spicy dark hot chocolate has a hint of piquant heat from chili peppers (all $4.75 small; $6 large). A rotating selection of single-origin hot drinking chocolate is also offered. In January the cocoa beans come from Madagascar; next month it might be Bolivia, Ecuador or Peru. Each have their own complexity and nuanced flavors. Once you try a cup of hot chocolate here you’ll be craving more. Bags of the mixes are conveniently for sale ($22 to $26 for 12 ounces). 220 Clarendon St., Boston, 617-303-0113 and 52 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-491-4340, www.burdickchocolate.com.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND