I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
So you say that cupid struck out this Valentine's Day? No matter. Whether you're ecstatic or miserable, all is right with the world when you add chocolate to your day. And in whatever form you prefer it—bark, chunk, or as morsels—it is decidedly rich and downright velvety when done hot, especially when City Bakery owner Maury Rubin is behind the wheel.
You know City Bakery. Rubin's successful pastry enterprise has several locations in Manhattan, signature one-of-a-kind creations like his pretzel croissant, and among the most interesting and tastefully unusual flavors of hot chocolate going. Perhaps that's why he heads up City Bakery's Annual Hot Chocolate Festival, the only event of its kind in the United States, now in its eighteenth year.
City Bakery serves its potent and luxurious hot chocolate creations all month long (check out the calendar for specific flavors) and features specialty drinks like "Banana Peel" "Caramel" and Rubin's newest chocolaty concoction, "Moulin Rouge," a mixture of dark chocolate, espresso, pomegranate, and lemon. If that sounds little too sophisticated, purists will be happy to learn that his ever-popular milk chocolate variety is on tap as well. Did I mention that each massive cup is topped with a large homemade marshmallow?
All this chocolate business comes full circle on February 18, during the festival's centerpiece event, "A Night of Knitting and Hot Chocolate." This creative evening pairs as many as six popular New York knitting shops with City Bakery in a one-night food and chocolate extravaganza. Patrons will be treated to a full dinner, all-you-can-drink tastings of multiple hot chocolate flavors, beer, wine, and hot chocolate-inspired knitting workshops, such as marshmallow hats, chocolate bar coasters, and hot chocolate mug cozies.
Experience welcomed, but not required. Beginners new to knitting will be instructed in the basics by friendly professionals. Supplies will be made available for purchase (or you can bring your own). A list of what you'll need and much more is available here. Tickets are $30 and are available through brownpapertickets.com. And remember, if you miss out on this event, the chocolate festival continues all month. Stop by one of City Bakery's locations and learn why Rubin's creations top every New Yorker's list of must-have favorites.