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Hot chocolate

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CACAO LABORATOIRE DU CHOCOLAT AND BOUTIQUE: Kristen Hard's tiny Inman Park mecca to all things chocolate is one of our city's sweet gems. Among the many bean-to-bar offerings, Hard serves her signature Aztec Aphrodisia Sipping Chocolate. The hot chocolate is made in-house from dark chocolate (about 72 percent to 75 percent) with six different spices. The thick and slightly spicy hot treat is poured into a glass, topped with a homemade marshmallow and placed on a silver tray. The mix is also sold by the tin so you can enjoy it at home. 312-C N. Highland Ave. 404-221-9090. www.cacaoatlanta.com.

CAFE INTERMEZZO: The European-style café manages to withstand the test of time with plenty of cozy charm and lots of chocolate. From the early morning hours to late night, diners can delight in a long list of gorgeous hot chocolate drinks. Intermezzo blends its own cocoa powder using Dutch chocolate and mixes it with whole milk. Favorites include the traditional hot chocolate mixed with Nutella, a Mexican-style hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, or a white chocolate version made with white chocolate chunks. 1845 Peachtree Road, 404-355-0411; 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, 770-396-1344. www.cafeintermezzo.com.

OCTANE COFFEE: This coffee-slinging superstar isn't a one-trick pony. Octane also serves plenty of non-coffee drinks, including stellar hot chocolate. The shop crafts a proprietary chocolate sauce made with milk chocolate and milk chocolate powder. The vicious concoction is mixed with steamed Sparkman's Cream Valley whole milk and topped with "micro-foam" (frothed milk packed with loads of tiny bubbles). In keeping with its keen eye to detail, the baristas crown each chocolaty creation with latte art such as a heart etched into the foam. 1009-B Marietta St., 404-815-9886; 1593 N. Decatur Road (Emory Village), 404-585-4210. www.octanecoffee.com.

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