Avalanche: Quite possibly the most expensive hot choc in town (you have to enter Ski Dubai to sample Avalanche’s choccie delights), it’s certainly the most authentic. Perched halfway up the slopes, if you’re already skiing it’s definitely worth a stop and for Dhs17 you’ll get a substantial mug of delicious chocolate frothiness, topped off with whipped cream, marshmallows, M&Ms and a sprinkling of cocoa. It’s a sign of a good hot choc when you need a spoon to eat it, and scooping out mushy M&Ms from the bottom of your mug is, in our opinion, a delight not to be missed. Incidentally, you can indulge in a similar version, complete with slope views and virtual log fires at the St Moritz café.
Dhs17, Ski Dubai; Dhs18 St Moritz (04 409 4000).
Cacao sampaka: So chocolatey it makes you thirsty (choca-holics will know what we mean) this is sheer claggy heaven for grown-ups and youngsters of a more sophisticated palate. You’re basically schlurping a mug of molten chocolate (the Sampaka way is to melt down 70 per cent chocolate flakes), and the result is so gooey and thick it’s a rather filling meal in itself, particularly if you go the whole hog and squirt cream on top.
Dhs22, Dubai Mall (04 434 1427).
Caribou Coffee: Real chunks of gourmet Guittard chocolate are melted into a mug of hot milk and topped with whipped cream and indulgent choc chips. The bitter chocolate gets a big thumbs up for its sophisticated flavour and utter deliciousness, while our young tester guzzled the sickly sweet white stuff with a little too much enthusiasm and was left feeling a tad queasy. It’s a bargain, though, at Dhs15, provided you sip it slowly.
Dhs15, various locations across Dubai.
Costa Coffee: Take our advice and order the medio (the small one). Honestly, you really don’t need the massimo as these mamas are HUGE! A behemoth cup of steaming, milky chocolate, the drink itself is just as it should be, but it’s the accoutrements – a generous portion of fluffy mallows atop a cloud of whipped cream – that really steal the show. For the real ‘yummy scrummy in my tummy experience’, follow our young tester’s lead: guzzle half the cream on its own, drown your marshmallows and wait for them to melt into a sweet glob of sticky gooeyness.
Dhs19-Dhs21, various locations across Dubai.
Galler: Instead of a tea party, why not throw a chocolate party? At Galler, you can instill a bit of ceremony into your tipple, with the scrumdiddlyumptious real hot chocolate pot whisked up in a tea pot before your eyes. Pure chocolate lava, this is an ideal treat for any grown-up kid. Alternatively, combine your choccie indulgence with a history lesson with the ‘trip across time’ – three taster cups of cocoa from the 14th, 16th and 18th centuries (a replica of tastes, we assure you, and not a reflection of how long they’ve been on the Galler shelves). With subtle differences in flavour, everyone can play the guessing game. See if you can spot hints of chilli, honey, hazelnut, orange blossom, cinnamon and even aniseed. Galler, which incidentally is Harrods’ chocolatier of choice, also does a Viennois hot choc with cream, and flavoured varieties, although we reckon it would be a sin to spoil something so perfect.
Dhs20-28, Wafi Mall (04 327 9120).