January is the calendar equivalent of a hangover from the year before: a cold, dark post-holiday stretch with stacks of bills and barely a vacation day in sight. That's why we'll take any excuse to celebrate at the start of the year—New Year's resolutions or not.
Once again, the chocolate connoisseurs at Valrhona have come to the rescue with the third-annual Hot Chocolate Festival, an initiative that brings together the city's finest bakeries to celebrate the not-so-simple pleasures of a steaming cup of cocoa, all while supporting a good cause.
From January 20 through February 4, an impressive lineup of top sweets specialists—Dominique Ansel Bakery and Kitchen, Ladurée, Fika, La Maison du Chocolat, Baked, Épicerie Boulud, Daily Provisions, Petrossian Bakery, Brooklyn Roasting Company and Pâtisserie Chanson—will show off their artisanal takes on the steamy bev. With 25 participating locations offering their exclusive—and elevated—spins on the elixir, chocoholics could try a different cuppa every single day of the fest.
But you don't have to run around town to try them all. To get revved up for a monthlong chocolate infusion, head to Laudreé Soho on January 18, where a $35 ticket grants guests unlimited access to sample the hot chocolate creations and delicious pastry treats while chatting with the chefs behind it all.
And there's no need to feel guilty for indulging at the start of the year: 50 cents from each cup—plus all proceeds from the kickoff ticket sales—will go to support Careers through Culinary Arts Program, which helps prepare underserved high school students for culinary careers. Cheers to that!