Dinner Party Hot Cocoa Bar

  Hot Cocoa Bars have been popping up everywhere and I just had to get one in my own house.  I guess I really like a whole bunch of choices with no restrictions or limitations…and a whole array of choices revolving around chocolate is just as good as it gets, in my opinion.  A dinner party was the perfect time to set up a hot cocoa bar here.  Not because my girlfriends weren’t too full after appetizers, dinner, and cake (because they were), but it’s less weird than if I staged the whole thing for myself on a rainy day.  I needed a dessert bar for the dinner party that I could mostly prepare ahead of time and that would be quick to set up after dinner while still being part of the conversation with my friends.  

I staged the hot cocoa bar over on the sidetable and secretary desk in my family room.  (This is also where I staged the dessert bar for Olivia’s slumber party and the same desk that I used as a prop for the baby shower last fall.)  You know how I like to make good use of the antiques I drag home so that my husband sees how fruitful (and necessary) thrifting and antiquing is.  
Since my girlfriends usually incorporate a theme/holiday into their decorating for our dinner parties, I considered that March brings St. Patrick’s day.  And even though emerald green is the Pantone color of the year, it’s not my favorite.  Instead, I incorporated some gold and yellow accents into the decor and I think it looks festive, classy, and very spring!
I used a mixture of apothecary jars, glass cups/bowls, and white ceramic to hold the food staples for the spread.  And a quick trip to my local Goodwill store yielded a pile of white tea cups for drinking – score!!  
I was able to set up the glassware with sprinkles, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, gold-wrapped chocolate, and vanilla syrup in the days ahead of the party (I kept them kidtight airtight with plastic wrap).  The salted caramel was made ahead and kept in the fridge in a heatproof glass container so I only had to pop it in the microwave for a couple minutes just before hot cocoa time.  I also set out the hot chocolate spoons just before the party (more on that in a bit).  At dessert time, I needed only to heat the milk on the stovetop and warm the caramel and we were ready!
Since our dinner party also doubled as a birthday party, I made a yummy cake with quick, but beautiful swirled rose frosting.  Again, I needed something doable to decorate the day of the party, while also preparing dinner and cleaning the house!  I’m going to put up a separate post on the cake, so we’ll talk more about that then!  I also included a pitcher for cold milk and set out my adorable glass bottles and stripey straws that I purchased from Shop Sweet Lulu (have I mentioned before how much I LOVE THAT SHOP!!)  I don’t dare use those bottles for my little girls’ birthday parties, so I was thrilled to set them out here – I think they totally add to the decor, too!  And then I wrote up a cute menu on my chalkboard sign for fun!  I had to erase “chocolate mint” right before the party because those hot chocolate spoons were a fail (more on that below), SO I substituted “non-fat and sugar-free” on that line for the party – heeheehee!  
Alright, now about the actual chocolate for the hot chocolate….I fell in love with the idea of hot chocolate on a stick when I met face to face with a Ticket Hot Chocolate on a Stick at Alt Summit.  I love how easy it is to serve one or serve 50 without needing a big jug of messy powder.  I found a recipe for DIY hot chocolate on a stick on the Ticket Chocolate blog, and I was thrilled!  I had mixed results getting the chocolate right, though, and I’m going to share more details on this in a separate post, so stay tuned!!  
There is a TON of beautiful and clever inspiration for Hot Cocoa Bars on the web.  So many possibilities!  And really….a rainy day would be okay to set one up in your own house just for yourself.  I’m not gonna lie, I totally left mine up and have been indulging regularly.  :)  The kids like it too, but that’s a no brainer!!  Here are some great posts that might further spark your motivation to set up a hot cocoa bar of your own:
And don’t forget to stop back in tomorrow morning (6 am EST) for the launch of our first ever link party – YOU!! Inspired.   See you tomorrow – I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!!

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  1. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says

    this is so pretty Stef! You are simply amazing – I still would love to throw a party with you!!!

  2. Sweetbug Studio says

    Oh my gosh! Sooo cute–your set up is amazing and soo yummy! And I checked out Shop Sweet LULU–WOW! This party shop is better tnah anything I have ever seen! I LOVE the mini milk containers–too cute! I don’t do alot of parties but may have to!!!!!

  3. kristin says

    Geez between you and CINO, I need to move to Northern California and just ping pong back and forth between you, crashing all your fabulous parties. 😉


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