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Friday, December 6, 2013

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”…Hot Cocoa Bar For The Holidays & A Hot Chocolate Primer (Read on for a deliciously good time!)

Hello everyone!  I’m so excited to be a part of the Deck the Halls party with 11 other terrific bloggers.  I hope you find lots of holiday inspiration with us.

I must tell you up front that my family loves hot chocolate and I’ve been wanting to do a hot cocoa bar for sometime now.  I’ve seen lots of photos on Pinterest and decided to create one on the sideboard in my breakfast nook.  Since hot cocoa is a popular thing at my house during the winter, I also decided to try some different gourmet cocoa mixes and have a family contest to see which was best!  Okay this is a long post and I could have broken it up into two posts, but hey, since we’re already talking about hot chocolate we might as well do it all at one time!!!  I also know technically there’s a difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate, but for our purposes here they’re one and the same!!!


You will see minor differences in the photos, because I would take pictures and add things as I was building the vignette.



I found the vintage European sled on ebay for a song.  If you keep an eye out, you can snatch these babies up for well under $100.  Pottery Barn has "found" German sleds on their website right now HERE.  They were on sale a few weeks ago for $139.


I know “Baby, it’s cold outside” is probably an over-used winter phrase, but I still love it for a hot chocolate sentiment.  If you only knew how many times I erased the chalk board!


I had lots of fun gathering all the materials I wanted to use including this white ironstone platter.


I laced vintage French ribbon that I got from Sunday Brocantes through this small milk glass compote that I used for my homemade marshmallows.  Yes, I said HOMEMADE marshmallows.


These are the best marshmallows you will ever taste!  I use the Martha Stewart recipe that Maria over at Dreamy Whites recommends. She’s having a great give-away right now so pop over to visit her and enter.

I used my glass French jam jars for the hot cocoa add-ins. 


Cinnamon sticks, crushed peppermint sprinkles, peppermint and vanilla stirrers make great accompaniments.  After several photo shoots, I added the labels I made….I knew something was missing! lol


Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table are two good sources for hot cocoa accoutrements.


I tried displaying the white mugs in a couple different places and finally stacked them on the side of the sled.  I love the little mini evergreen I got from Trader Joe’s.  A milk glass vessel tied with red burlap ribbon makes an easy Christmassy container.



This is a vignette I can leave up all winter.  It can be enjoyed for a long time. The lovely grain sack ribbon came from Ann at Sutton Place Designs.  She’s also one of the bloggers in our Deck the Halls party.


Here are the 3 cocoa mixes that were in the family contest to see which was best.  (For all you cocoa purists out there I DO make my own homemade cocoa mix using Penzy’s dutch cocoa that I give out as gifts. I’ll share later but I wanted to try store-bought cocoa this time.)


The first one is Godiva milk chocolate.  The mix is completely powdered cocoa and you use 2 tbsp. to 1 cup milk.


Next is Classic Hot Chocolate from Williams-Sonoma.  It is entirely crushed pieces of Guittard chocolate and you use a whopping 5 tbsp. to 1 cup milk.


And finally, I purchased Sarabeth’s from Sur La Table.  It’s a mix of powdered cocoa and chocolate pieces and you use 3 tbsp. to 1 cup milk.


Three totally different types of mixes….and the results are in…drum roll please…

Godiva and the Classic Hot Chocolate tied for first place!  Sarabeth’s was our least favorite. My family had tons of fun testing the hot cocoa during the Thanksgiving holiday.


And here’s what each yummy cup looked like right before it was devoured relaxingly sipped.



I got this vintage Santa in a jar from Etsy a couple years ago.  The canvas bag with attached ribbon?  Starbucks.  Yes, Starbucks.  They were selling them with coffee bean bags inside and I asked if I could purchase a couple without the coffee.


I’m sure you’re wondering about the mini drink whisk?  I picked it up at Williams-Sonoma.  I think it’s the cutest thing!


 Once you've tasted a big fluffy homemade marshmallow coated with confectioner's sugar in a cup of hot cocoa you'll never go back to store-bought again! Pure decadence!


BTW…vintage milk glass pieces with reticulated or open weave edges make great presentations for food gifts when laced with ribbon!  A favorite go-to holiday gift idea.


I hope I’ve inspired you to indulge in some deliciously chocolaty hot cocoa soon!  What is your family’s favorite hot chocolate mix?


Please visit the other blogs on the Deck the Halls party today:

 Ann Drake-On Sutton Place's photo.

 Kelly Elko Eclectically-Vintage's photo.

 Dawn DeLand Cain's photo.

 Dawn DeLand Cain's photo.

Dawn DeLand Cain's photo.

In case you missed yesterday’s posts:


Mary said...

I'll take a warm and steaming mug of your WS Classic Hot Chocolate topped with a homemade marshmallow please! It looks like a delicious treat Kim! Love your adorable vintage Santa and milk case server :)

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

What a cute, cute Cocoa station!…I love how you used the antique sled to set the wonderful cocoa accompaniments .. love how you make a family cocoa contest!!…and of course you made homemade marshmallows..I cannot wait to get my French jam jars to fill them with lovelies as you did!…thanks for talking me into to getting them :)..Have a wonderful weekend Kim!!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Gosh Kim, everything is so festively displayed and you make those marshmallows sound so good. I love the sled and was hoping to get on a the Country Living Fair, but the vendor didn't have them this year. Last year he had a huge stack all for $99. I think I will pop in the WS outlet today.

Dawn said...

How cute it all is:) and I never knew you could make marshmallows, I think I will give it a try. I do make my own chocolate mix and we drink hot chocolate all winter long.

chateau chic said...

LOVE your hot cocoa station, Kimberly!! The sled makes a great display and serving piece. Hmm, I may need to pick up one of those from the German dealer in our shop. Your bar looks so festive and yummy!!!
Mary Alice

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

I love this Kim! And thank you so much for featuring the ribbon. It looks fabulous and you did an amazing job on that bow! I think I'm going to do this for my family this year...I might try the hot chocolate in a crock pot. We'll see if I get my act together or not! Have a good weekend...I loved doing Deck The Halls with you. ~Ann

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Such a great idea, Kim! I'm a hot chocolate lover myself. If I could find a spot I'd set up one of these, even if it would be just for me most of the time!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

I'll be right over, Kim! What a beautiful and fun display. You certainly captured the essence of drinking cocoa on a cold Christmas day! YUMMY!

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Sounds delicious!! Love your red and white classic decor and beautiful pictures!!

Laura @ duke manor farm said...

After this wonderful analysis of my favorite winter drink I am a bit embarrassed to say Carnation! :)
Wonderful post. Happy Holidays
PS- I have tried them all and godiva has always been a front runner.

Tazas y Cuentos said...

Great job! Everything looks fantastic. I enjoy your post a lot!
Besos from Argentina,

Custom Comforts said...

Your hot chocolate bar looks stunning and so inviting. Simple and not overdone, just right and I sure would like to try one of those marshmellows. They make my mouth water just to think about it. A cup of hot chocolate would be perfect for this cold snowy night as the storm rolls through. Hope you're not getting hit too hard down there in Kentucky.
Fist time visitor and I'll be back to see more.

Kelly said...

Heavens to Betsy that hot chocolate looks good! I first of all just adore your set-up with the old sled. I love all of the red and white you used too. I have never made homemade marshmallows before, but may need to give them a try. I have bought that Godiva hot chocolate before and it IS good! Thanks for all the great inspiration.

Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door said...

You have truly done a beautiful job. I love all of it and your attention to detail is amazing. How I would love a hot chocolate bar right about now. :) New follower!

Pamela said...

Love it Kimberly!!

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

Kim, what a cute cocoa bar! That would be the most popular spot in our home, this time of year! The sleigh is adorable; and it sets the tone for your bar so perfectly!

Kristen Pare said...

What a sweet cocoa bar and love the greenery and classic/red white! That sleigh is wonderful. The marshmallows just make you want to pop in your mouth every time you walk by!

Eclectically Vintage said...

My girls would love this - they'd have a hot chocolate morning, noon and night if they could! Love the milk glass with ribbons - I have a few open weave pieces too.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Your cocoa bar is gorgeous, I love that sleigh and everything is stunning. Hugs, Marty

Sarah said...

Kim, our Starbucks has been giving the bags with the purchase of a pound of coffee. Since I buy our coffee at Starbucks, I've been getting the bags. What a bonus. Haven't decided how I'll use them, but thought they were adorable.

Becca Bertotti said...

Please save me a cup, Kim … perfect on this cold and gloomy day! Your cocoa bar is awesome, and I love the added sleigh … such a fun idea and conversation piece! Happy Holidays!

Unknown said...

This looks so inviting! We drink a ton of cocoa around our house so we'd get great use out of something like this! I love all the details and that little sled is adorable!

Leslie said...

I'm not sure what I love more... The cocoa bar or the hot cocoa with those fluffy homemade (wow!) marshmallows!! We also love the Williams Sonoma chocolate:)
The sled is one of the most creative uses I've seen, and I love the simplicity of your beautiful jars filled with candy stirs! Btw, where do you get the vanilla ones?
Merry Christmas!

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