Shots Fired: The Great Hot Cocoa War Ignites Again

by | Nov 15, 2021

In the pale light of a rising sun, silence covers Norfolk as the city begins to wake. Somewhere in downtown, a screeching whistle breaks through. A kettle is boiling, and a determined barista steps away from a cutting board full of chocolate to grab it. They finish off the cup of cocoa and taste it. After a slight pause, they furiously scribble into a notebook filled with dozens of recipes. It’s still not quite right, so they turn back to make another. 


Anticipation floods the streets this week as baristas and chefs fill the wee hours of the morning and mid-shift breaks in preparation. Oat milk, almond milk, whole milk, and half & half take up precious real estate inside fridges. Chocolate from across the globe in bars, chips, and powders are stacking up. Experimentation and refinement are abounding. They’re hunting for the secret weapon, a recipe that will lead them to victory. The Great Hot Cocoa War is coming. 


Fierce competitors are stepping forward from a community of great culinary renown. The stakes are high. In the world of Norfolk foodies, reputation is everything. Throngs of cocoa-loving crowds will arrive on-site with fickle and changing taste buds. Competitors launch attacks from the web with memes and snarky comments. All it takes to lose it all is one missed marshmallow, cream that’s just under-whipped, or mistaking cinnamon for nutmeg; there’s no room for error. 


When the froth clears, only one small shop emerges as the champion of the 7th Annual Great Hot Cocoa War. 


Bundle up in your battle-best, grab a scorecard from any participating shop, and hit those indulgent trenches. Use #HOTCOCOAWAR and vote here starting Saturday, November 20th at noon. Taste and vote through 5:00 pm Saturday, November 27th. 



2020 – Stripers Waterside

2019 – Town Center Cold Pressed

2018 – Enjoy: The CROP Foundation (pop-up)

2017 – Zeke’s NFK

2016 – Work | Release

2015 – Work | Release


Restaurants can still register until Friday, so we’ll update you with a complete list of participating shops then. 


Paul Stetson Rice

Chelsea, NFK

Paul is the creator of He was born and raised in Norfolk, graduated from Virginia Tech, and narrowly avoided law school. Chat with him about economics, entrepreneurship, hip-hop, and hiking. When he's not working on five different projects, you'll catch him sharing a beer with friends at a local brewery.

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