I have a confession to make: I live in Bellingham and I do not like coffee. It’s shocking to many that a grown person can live their best life in a city with coffee shops on every corner, without enjoying a cup of java every morning. I just never developed the taste for it. But there are some days when I really need a delicious hot drink to warm up. This is when I treat myself to a tasty mug of hot chocolate. Here are some special spots around town where you can enjoy a unique hot chocolate experience.

Caffe’ Adagio

This is the place that started my quest to find all the best hot chocolates in Bellingham. Caffe’ Adagio is located downtown on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Champion Street. I was meeting someone here for the first time and the Mayan hot chocolate on the menu caught my eye. This mug is served with an artful design on the frothy top. The Mayan hot chocolate is special because it has some spice to it. It was creamy and rich, but with a mild heat that builds as you drink more.

The menu at Forte Chocolate has options ranging from extra rich to light: truffle shots, sipping chocolate and hot cocoa. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

I learned the cafe recently underwent a renovation and has increased in size. I’m looking forward to going back and ordering breakfast or lunch with another Mayan hot chocolate.

Forte Chocolates

If you find yourself needing a sweet treat while running errands at Bellis Fair Mall, make a stop at Forte Artisan Chocolates, located near the mall’s center. Their menu has options ranging from extra rich to light: truffle shots, sipping chocolate and hot cocoa. With a variety of flavors and milk choices, you can personalize this hot chocolate experience for any mood or taste.

I enjoyed a sea salt caramel hot cocoa made with whole milk and chantilly whipped cream. It tasted sweet and creamy, and the hint of sea salt was delightful. This shop also offers hand-crafted chocolates made by Master Chocolatier, Karen Neugebauer. The beautiful truffles are perfect for gifting and the shop sells hot cocoa mix to take home, as well.

Evolve

“CHAI”colate sipping chocolate from Evolve is a blend of 85 percent dark organic chocolate, house made chai spices and assam black tea steeped with either almond, coconut or cows milk and a sprinkle of organic cane sugar or drop of honey. Photo courtesy: Evolve.

Evolve is new to me but came highly recommended. They locally create a mix called Sipping “CHAI”colate, which is superb, especially when consumed along with artisan truffles. You can find this and more at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Or you can meet the Evolve team at their pop-up chocolate lounge at local events. Their “CHAI”colate is a mix of 85% dark organic chocolate, house-made chai spices and assam black tea steeped with either almond, coconut or cows’ milk and topped with a sprinkle of organic cane sugar or drop of honey.

Pure Bliss

Anyone who knows dessert as well as I do knows about Pure Bliss. Their display case of delights includes a rotating selection of cakes by the slice, cupcakes, cheesecake, cookies and muffins. Pure Bliss uses local Edaleen dairy in all of their hot chocolates along with a house-made dark chocolate ganache. I like to stop in during happy hour to get a hot chocolate and a slice of cake to share, or take a walk there after a downtown dinner date.

Chocolate Necessities

At Chocolate Necessities you can decide between drinking chocolate or the more rich Italian sipping chocolate. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

Also located downtown, Chocolate Necessities has been satisfying Bellingham’s chocolate cravings for over 30 years. This shop has a selection of truffles and gift-worthy chocolate, as well as gelato. As far as hot chocolate goes, this location offers both drinking chocolate and Italian sipping chocolate, so you can decide how rich you want your experience to be. Drinking chocolate flavors include: Belgian milk, caramel milk, white, 60 percent dark and 70 percent dark. The richer Italian sipping chocolate is a blend of chocolate and cream and can be used as a topping for a scoop of gelato.

Mallard Ice Cream

On those summer days when it’s simply too warm to enjoy a hot drink, you need to make a stop at Mallard Ice Cream for a Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream. Located downtown on Railroad Avenue, my family frequently stops here after having dinner at Fiamma Burger a few doors down. A scoop of this ice cream is the perfect warm weather alternative for a mug of hot chocolate.

Pure Bliss uses local Edaleen dairy in all of their hot chocolates along with a house-made dark chocolate ganache. Photo courtesy: Pure Bliss.

All of these locally owned shops are perfect to stop in for a cup of hot chocolate and a bite to eat. I have a couple that I still need to taste test — can’t wait! Please feel free to reach out if you know of a place that should be added to the list. But no matter where you sip, one thing is for sure — there’s nothing like a perfect mug of steamy hot chocolate.

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