- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2004

When Alison Nelson and Matt Lewis, two twentysomething former ad people, opened Chocolate Bar in 2002, the shop was billed as a candy store for adults.

It’s in the middle of a well-traveled block of Eighth Avenue at the northernmost edge of Greenwich Village, just where it borders on now-fashionable Chelsea, in New York City.

A year and a half later, everyone (including Macaulay Culkin and Marilyn Manson) loves Chocolate Bar. A vest-pocket-sized space, there are a couple of tables, a window counter up front and a comfy sofa seating area at the back.

Customers stream through for chocolate drinks, espressos and any number of delectable chocolate confections, desserts and cookies. Most of the goodies are contracted out, but the sources are the best.

Among celebrated chocolate suppliers is former Le Cirque pastry chef Jacques Torres, whose new chocolate company is as smashing a success as Chocolate Bar. In fact, there is now a line of chocolate bars from Chocolate Bar. It didn’t take long to figure out they would be a hit. In fact, they’re perfect for preparing Chocolate Bar’s signature hot chocolate.

Chocolate Bar has been selling hot chocolate since its first fall in business, and there are now four popular flavors: classic (recipe follows); peppermint (with a dash of peppermint extract); white hot, made with white chocolate; and spicy hot, with just a hint of chili. The hot chocolates are available all the time, but sales tend to soar when there is a nip in the air.

So if you crave the best hot chocolate, try the Chocolate Bar classic version. Plans are afoot for a branch store. Who knows, there may soon be a Chocolate Bar near you.

The Chocolate Bar address is 48 Eighth Ave., New York, N.Y.; phone, 212/ 366-1541; Web site, www.chocolatebarnyc.com.

Chocolate Bar hot chocolate

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon sugar

Drop of vanilla

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 cups whole or 2 percent milk

Combine cream with 1 teaspoon sugar and a drop of vanilla and whip by hand with a whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.

If the cream has separated and become watery on standing, rewhisk.

Cut chocolate into chunks and pulverize it finely in the food processor. Be careful not to over-process or the chocolate will melt.

Bring milk to a simmer in a nonreactive saucepan over low to medium heat and whisk in the ground chocolate. Continue whisking until the hot chocolate is frothy and approaching the boil.

Pour into cups, top each with a large spoonful of whipped cream and serve immediately.

Makes 3 servings.

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