Just in time for this evening’s impending ice storm—and the chilly month of February ahead—The City Bakery is rolling out a new flavor of hot chocolate (almost) every day through the end of the month to keep you warm and in a perpetual state of sugar shock as you ride out the rest of this cold winter weather.
While the focus of the month will be on crazy, somewhat vague flavors ("Happy Hot Chocolate" on the 27th, anyone?), today’s Banana Peel Hot Chocolate keeps things interesting yet mellow. Presented in a palm-sized bowl, the serving size may seem paltry at first, but rest assured: the stuff is insanely rich, and even with my four stomachs reserved for food I had trouble polishing the smallest size off. Unlike any sort of powdered or concentrate mix, this hot chocolate has a thick consistency and full-bodied taste that makes you think that the folks who made it simply melted some of the best chocolate in the world into a bowl, mixed in some flavoring, and served it to you. Given that the packages that you can take home describe it as “Ultra-Creamy Melted Chocolate,” this probably isn’t far from the truth.
I have nightmares about artificial banana flavoring, most likely due to consuming way too much banana Laffy Taffy during the fat kid stage of my childhood, so I was pleasantly surprised by the natural banana taste that comes through perfectly in this small bowl of awesome. The hint of just-ripe bananas—as if you were dipping one fresh off the vine in chocolate and eating it—permeates throughout, but the mix of both sweet milk and tart dark chocolate are given their space to shine too. It’s the perfect balance of creaminess, bitterness, and pure unadulterated sugar.
For an extra dollar, you can go balls to the wall and get a homemade marshmallow on top, a decision which I have no trouble getting behind. The bakery’s famous treats resemble oversized blocks of sugar; perfect squares that melt just so in the hot chocolate, making it effortless to break off a chunk with your spoon and cram it into your mouth. The outside is a bit tough, but the inside is airy and light with just the right amount of sweetness. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve had a better marshmallow. Kraft’s Jet Puffed these are not.
Each hot chocolate is $5 (or $6 with marshmallow), which makes my cheap self cry tears of anger and frustration, but given my current nausea and lightheadedness, you probably shouldn’t attempt to drink one of these by yourself. This is a treat perfect for splitting with a friend, loved one, or random stranger you’re creeping on at the table next to you; the choice is yours. Check out the flavors here, and don’t worry: if you miss out on today’s, it’s being offered again next week.