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    Bring the Family

    Cold comfort in hot chocolate tour

    Joanna Weiss/globe Staff

    Who: Globe columnist Joanna Weiss and her daughter Ava, 8

    What: Hot chocolate indulgence tour

    Where: Fazenda Coffee Roasters in Jamaica Plain; Sweet Life Bakery & Cafe in Dorchester;
    Radio Coffeehouse in Milton


    This is a tough time of year for the warm-blooded among us. The calendar says “spring,” but the weather says, “in your dreams.” How do you console a child who still needs her down coat as the crocuses rise beneath her feet? This year, our solution was to indulge in a wintry activity that wouldn’t be so pleasant in actual warm weather: the hot chocolate indulgence tour.

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    Our purpose wasn’t a taste test so much as a journey: an excuse for sampling sips and venues and touring the neighborhoods around us. We didn’t hit every stop in a single day, though if you’re sugar-tolerant, you surely could.

    We started our rounds at Fazenda Coffee Roasters Café in Jamaica Plain, across the street from the Forest Hills T station. This is a relatively new retail outpost of a Dedham-based roasting operation, and on the Saturday we went, it was packed with intense-looking hipsters. They were tolerant of Ava, her 4-year-old brother, and two of her friends, who scored a counter-height table beneath the front window. The kids loved the tall paper cups and the ultra-long spoons — flatware can be exciting when you’re 8 — and they loved watching the traffic go in and out of the station. File under: extra-grand central.

    Our next stop was the Sweet Life Cafe, a sleek and streamlined restaurant in Dorchester’s Lower Mills section. Here, hot chocolate was treated as a fancy indulgence, served in a ceramic mug, artfully topped with whipped cream. The foot traffic was less robust, but the menu offered plenty of diversions, and Ava partook of breakfast food late in the afternoon. File under: hot chocolate as high tea.

    Finally, we hit a low-frills neighborhood joint in Milton: the affordable Radio Coffeehouse, known for its retro interior and its support for local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. The hot chocolate was nothing special, but the bins of candy made up for it, and Ava was happy to sit on a couch by the window and stare at a statue of a soft-serve ice cream cone. File under: It’s good to dream.


    Hot chocolate is great, but next month we hope it’s time to undertake an ice cream tour.

    Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe, 3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain; Sweet Life Bakery & Cafe, 2243 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester; Radio Coffeehouse, 24 Central Ave, Milton.

    Joanna Weiss can be reached atWeiss@globe
    . Follow her on Twitter @joannaweiss

    Correction: Because of a reporting error, the original version of this story misspelled the name of Fazenda Coffee Roasters Cafe.