by Elly Hu, Staff Writer

Welcome December! ‘Tis the season for ice skating, Christmas lights and of course, Michael Buble’s Christmas album (a solid collection of carols to get you in the holiday spirit). Now that the New England winter weather has finally settled in, I can’t help but crave hot cocoa.

At Flour + Bakery, you can get savory and sweet. PHOTO VIA ELLY HU

At Flour + Bakery, you can get savory and sweet. PHOTO VIA ELLY HU

Luckily for us, this week’s location is featured on Food & Wine’s list of Best Hot Chocolate in the U.S. Not only that, but it was mentioned in a May 2012 National Geographic article titled “48 hours in Boston.”  It’s a hot spot for locals and visitors alike!

Location: Flour Bakery + Cafe (131 Clarendon St., Boston, MA)
This popular local chain has four locations around the Boston area, with the closest one situated two streets away from Copley Square. Flour’s website says it caters to “morning commuters stopping for breakfast, area employees and neighbors enjoying lunch, friends meeting for coffee and talk, office workers seeking to satisfy their 4 p.m. sugar craving, people picking up bread, salad or dessert for their evening meal.”

As a frequent visitor to the Back Bay location, I agree that I’ve probably seen all types of people who fit its description!

As you step into the cafe, you hear customers chatting and employees calling out customers’ names for orders. The giant chalkboard menu and hanging lights are charming and welcoming. The menu is an assortment of creative sandwiches, salads and a great display of mouthwatering desserts. They even make sure to mark for gluten-free,
dairy free, vegan, vegetarian and nut-allergy customers, so there’s no confusion.

A bar wraps around the store along the windows, and large wooden tables are also set so they can cater to people who want to sit and enjoy their meal. It’s also a great place to bring a laptop and do work — free Wi-Fi!

What I Ordered: Roasted chicken sandwich with avocado and jicama, sticky bun, fiery hot chocolate

I love that Flour takes your order and your name on a handy little electric device, which sends it straight to the register, and that person is who you go to at the end of the line to pay. It’s a fantastic and efficient system.

The roasted chicken sandwich was the first time I had a sandwich at Flour — I tend to gravitate toward the tarts and other desserts — and it was the best thing I’ve had in a long time. I almost wished for a second one. It was that good.

The sticky bun was delicious. I’ve had it before, and the sweetness perfectly compliments a cup of coffee any day.

Finally, I had to try the fiery hot chocolate, which was the featured item in the Food & Wine list, and goodness, I did not expect the kick! It starts off as smooth hot chocolate, and once you finish that sip, you’ll feel a certain kind of tingly-feeling in your throat! After a little research online, I found out they add cayenne pepper and chili powder for that extra kick. A warm surprise on an otherwise icy Boston day!