Last month, my friend went on a Tinder date. The guy, being all cute and whatnot, promised her “the best hot chocolate in all of Rochester.” Great plan. Just one issue: he had no idea what that was. Thus, Tinder Boy turned to Reddit, creating a whole suggestion thread for a magnificently romantic experience of hot chocolate and hot feels.

With the help of my boyfriend Ryan, I managed to narrow the options down to four highly-suggested Rochesterian hot chocolates for the week-long Cocoa Crawl 2K19.

First up was Equal Grounds’ hot chocolate. (Yes, last week’s Equal Grounds review was part of something larger. Surprise, y’all.) The flavor was pure chocolate, none of that sugary Swiss Miss fake chocolate flavoring — just deep, rich ganache. The airy sweetness was paired with notes of a dark chocolate bitterness. To top it off (literally), the fresh homemade whipped cream had a lovely vanilla flavor and the proper richness to stand up to the chocolate. With that, we were off to a great start.

Next came Café Sasso. As far as the hot chocolate went, it was good, but I was definitely hoping for more. It was pleasantly sweet but lacked a rich chocolate flavor. The whipped cream was more like a foam than a whipped cream — flavorless and too light. Overall, good to order if you’re already there, but not worth seeking out.

(If you are already at Sasso, however, here’s a non-cocoa tip: try the “Sweet Caroline,” a bagel sandwich with egg, sausage, cheddar cheese, and maple syrup.)

The next stop on was Laughing Gull Chocolates, which offers a unique chocolate experience. Not gonna lie: Ryan and I were a little bit sketched out when we first walked in. The interior smelled of bleach, and a mysterious large window looked into the daycare next door. The only place to sit was a small, high table squished into a corner. Nevertheless, we persisted.

Laughing Gull lets you pick your hot chocolate flavor from that day’s featured truffle flavors. Then, they blend that truffle up into warm milk to create a fresh ganache hot chocolate. We went with the salted caramel and the pomegranate honey truffles.

The flavored truffles in liquid form were definitely an acquired taste, which Ryan and I both acquired by the end of the trip. Both flavors were wonderfully strong and showed through the chocolate. I loved the honey pomegranate truffle drink. That chocolate bitterness paired so well with the sweet fruitiness of the flavorings. Laughing Gull isn’t a sit-down place, so not a fitting choice for a date, but I’d recommend picking up some prime chocolate products.

Finally came Pittsford Farms Dairy. It has an impressive array of fresh products ranging from dairy goods to pastries, but the hot chocolate is more of an accessory to the rest. The hot chocolate will fulfill your hot chocolate cravings, but it isn’t the star of the show. It was similar to Café Sasso’s: it lacked the deep chocolate companion to the sweetness.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and my gal pal’s Tinder date, I determine the most appropriate joint for a regular ol’ Rochester cocoa date to be Equal Grounds. It’s a cozy and relaxing place to hang — and, if you run out of things to say, you can just pretend you’re really focusing on whatever board game you’re playing. Then, if you’re looking to surprise your valentine with some unique chocolate products, Laughing Gull is a great place to go.

However, this does not have to be simply about the romance. All of places we visited are great in different scenarios. Ryan and I had the best luck with savory food at Café Sasso, with that blissful bagel sandwich. And, as for sweets, Pittsford Farms Dairy is definitely the place to be.

Four uniquely wonderful experiences — I decree Cocoa Crawl 2k19 to have been a whopping success. Now, go forth and drink hot chocolate, friends.

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