The City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival NYC
February means different things to different people: horrible freezingness, fun in the snow, Caribbean vacations, sometimes Leap Year. Us? The arrival of the shortest month of the year simply means we're going to be spending more time than ever at the incomparable City Bakery in NYC, drowning ourselves in the insanely rich and gloriously sludgy deliciousness that is the 18th annual Hot Chocolate Festival NYC.
On a regular day, City Bakery in NYC makes the best hot chocolate in town (Mariebelle in Soho is also good, but not quite as good). So thick and bracing, so deep in its honestly-earned cocoa flavor, it's not too much to call Maury Rubin's liquid creation a revelation. And with the addition of a plump, house made marshmallow, all sweet and gooey? Total chocolate heaven.
For the City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival NYC, Rubin ups the ante by also offering a different special flavor every day, all February long. We had heard that there might be flavor-previews this weekend, and it turns out we had heard correctly: on Saturday our bowl of Caramel Hot Chocolate (served "with", as always) was, in a word, amazing, the balance between caramel and cocoa bean done exactly right. Caramel will again be the flavor of the day on February 7, and we'll be back for more. Other can't-miss pairings: Espresso Hot Chocolate (Feb. 4), Bourbon Hot Chocolate (on the 12th), Vietnamese Cinnamon Hot Chocolate (the 15th) and the almost dangerous-sounding Darkest Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate (the 18th).
Of course, there are many other wonderful things at City Bakery in NYC, any of which would go quite nicely with… well, with anything, really, but in February, especially with hot chocolate. The cookies–notably the Chocolate Chip and the Oatmeal Raisin–are indisputably among the best in New York City. The Pretzel Croissants, delivering an intense hit of salty, buttery goodness, packaged in an unbelievably crisp and flaky shell, are so good they've inspired their own cultish web page. The Caramelized French Toast, thick and sweet and chewy, is great for brunch. Or for lunch. Or as a snack. Or for any excuse you can come up with. And if you want something savory, the macaroni and cheese/fried chicken station rivals the renowned City Bakery in NYC salad bar (as well as their grilled-cheese "bar") for an excellent quick bite.
City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival NYC Details
The City Bakery in NYC is located on 18th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Saturday from 7:30 until 6:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 9:00 until 6:00. The Hot Chocolate Festival NYC runs through the entire month of February. For a complete flavor-calender, click here. Many of City Bakery's best baked goods are also available at Rubin's other ventures, including Birdbath, Neighborhood Green Bakery in both the West and East Villages, and the revamped Vesuvio's Bakery in Soho.