With British Columbia’s winter in full swing, many locals and visitors are looking for ways to warm up in the city. And for sweet-tooth fans, that can mean only one thing: the pursuit of great hot chocolate. Luckily, Richmond has a tasty menu of options to cup your hands around. We bundled up and headed out to uncover some delicious, chocolatey elixirs to tell you about—hey, someone had to do it!

Rocanini Coffee Roasters

115 - 3900 Moncton Street

A richly perfect concoction for traditionalists, Rocanini’s version is like wrapping your tongue in a thick chocolate blanket. The polar opposite of powdered hot chocolate, this one is made from melted dark chocolate, giving it a dense, ultra-smooth texture coupled with a deep, cocoa-like flavour. Well worth lingering over (pick up a book from the cafe’s loaner shelf), this glossy confection often comes with a lovely heart etched into its foamy top—you’ll understand why as you drink it, licking your lips after every sip.

Hot Chocolate from Rocanini - Photo: John Lee
Hot chocolate, served with love, at Rocanini. | Photo: John Lee

Hugo's Churros

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport, 1000 - 7899 Templeton Station Road

If it’s one of those days when you’ve overdone the bargain hunting at Richmond’s popular designer outlet mall, consider a pit stop at this friendly Mexican-themed eatery. Located in the complex’s bustling cafe and restaurant area, find a seat at one of the communal tables, peruse the oversized menu on the wall, and then send someone up to the counter to order a round of plump, sugar-coated churros and some tall cups of Mexican hot chocolate—a warm, sweet beverage suffused with Nutella and topped with little marshmallows. It’s the perfect way to fuel-up for another stretch of serious shopping—tips included here.

Juice Truck Cafe

12151 First Avenue

This spot’s white minimalist interior lures legions of juice and smoothie fans craving their regular fixes of healthy, freshly-prepared fruit and vegetable beverages. But in the cold season, it’s also a great place to discover a unique hot chocolate alternative. Fashioned from chocolate, coconut, and mushrooms, Juice Truck’s non-dairy, sugar-free Reishi Hot Chocolate is a luscious, velvety confection that hits all the right notes (don’t worry—you can’t taste the mushrooms). On sunny winter days, snag a table in the cafe’s hidden back garden to catch some restorative rays while you sip.

Outpost Mini Donuts

110 - 12240 Second Ave

A Steveston gem near the ever-busy Wharf area, this book-lined nook is ideal for picking up a takeout beverage before exploring the rest of the village on foot. There are two main reasons to drop by: Outpost’s tasty hot chocolate comes with the option of house-made marshmallows—superior to any shop-bought ones you’ve tried—and you can also add a naughty side order of extra treats. Fresh-made mini doughnuts frequently tumble from the store’s dedicated little machine, with irresistible toppings ranging from regulars such as chocolate icing or cinnamon sugar to seasonal flavours such as Boston cream or salted caramel. A 13-pack ‘bakers dozen’ box is highly recommended.

Sign at Outpost Mini Donuts - Photo: John Lee
Don’t forget the house-made marshmallows at Outpost. | Photo: John Lee

Choco Coo Cafe

135 - 7488 Lansdowne Road

A chatty, white-walled eatery that’s fully dedicated to desserts—a decadent slice of strawberry cake or a rich matcha tiramisu is recommended—Choco Coo is also a connoisseur of delicious chocolate beverages. Alongside their iced chocolate options (come back in warmer weather for their minty Tiffany Blue Ice Chocolate), you’ll also find several hot varieties to lick your lips over, including Belgian Chocolate, Mint Belgian Chocolate, and Banana Belgian Chocolate—and all three are available in white, milk, and dark chocolate versions. Can’t decide? Maybe you need more than one…