Take the chill out of winter with these quick and easy tips and sample set up ideas for putting together a one-of-a-kind hot chocolate bar.
How to Set Up the Best Hot Chocolate Bar – Tips and Sample Ideas
Winter is the perfect time for hot chocolate, especially here in Wisconsin. And, what better way to warm up from those chilly days and nights than with your very own hot chocolate bar.
You’ll definitely be surprised that a quick impromptu version is very easy to set up and takes minimal supplies.
But if you want to go chocoholic-wild, the sky’s the limit.
PSST…Here’s a sneak-peak I share below on some amazing examples of hot chocolate bars.
Supplies for Your Chocolate Bar
1. High Quality Cocoa
Whatever you choose be it simple or out-of-this world hot chocolate bar, be sure not to skimp on your cocoa.
I prefer Dutch-processed Cocoa simply because it has the perfect blend of smoothness and drinkability. Best of all, it melts well in hot liquids, like water or milk.
It’s also my preferred go-to for all cooking and baking recipes, again, for it’s intense flavor and smoothness.
2. Must-Know Recipe(s)
Next, you’ll need to determine whether you will have your guests make their own hot chocolate or you will provide it already made.
If you are looking for a dry mix, which by the way travels well if you are going tobogganing or skiing, try my homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe.
This recipe offers a rich and creamy drink that not only satisfies but also has that distinctive chocolatey taste–but one that you can add hot milk or water–whichever you choose.
This hot chocolate recipe is made ahead of time for your hot chocolate bar.
You can keep it warm in a hot pot or gentle heat on your stovetop.
It’s thick, rich and so chocolatey that you might just want to forego any other ingredients.
Or, if you need more inspiraton, check out this amazing must-have winter drink cookbook: Hot Chocolate – The Book
Use a standout sign to draw attention to your drink station. This one is one of my favorites.
4. Fancy Stirrers
You’ll definitely need something to stir your hot cocoa with. Fancy stirrers and/or spoons are always welcome.
DIY Candy Cane Spoons – Princess Pinky Girl (Video)
Depending on where you set up your hot chocolate bar (inside or out) will determine the possibilities of spills. But even more important is comfort and handling of hot liquids. That’s why I love these mason jar mugs. They’re perfect for outside (think back of minivan) or inside (by the fireside).
Serving Tip: Got coffee mugs that you’ve collected over the years but haven’t used in a while? Bring them out and use them for your hot chocolate bar. Deep ceramic mugs are best but even smallish ones work, too.)
Be sure to keep a handful (or two) of extra straws on hand–just in case.
Display your hot chocolate bar menu in style by listing ingredients, tips, etc. for your guest’s using this vintage-inspired chalkboard.
RELATED: Hot Chocolate Bar Printables
Keeping with the theme of mason jars, you’ll love the availability of coralling your flatware, spoons included, all in one place. This is especially handy if you’re planning on offering other delicious goodies like hot sandwiches, sides, or desserts.
You’ll definitely want a tablecloth that’s both festive and easy to clean. I love this Nordic-inspired graphic print version that you can use again and again all winter long.
10. Party Napkins
I’m all for keeping with the red and white theme, maybe that’s why I love these napkins. And, don’t think they’re just for winter parties. You can include them for other celebrations too throughout the year. Think Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, and summer picnics, too! Now that’s being frugal minded for sure!
Striped Napkins | Red and White Polka Dot Napkins
A chocolate bar isn’t complete without marshmallows. Sure you can buy the air-puffed version, but why not splurge a bit and add a gourmet touch with these Lake Champlain marshmallows. And, don’t limit yourself to just the vanilla kind–go out on a limb and try their strawberry (pink and white) marshmallows, too. Kids (young and old) will love them.
Lake Champlain Gourmet Marshmallows | Pink and White Strawberry Marshmallows
Want to really wow your guest, make up a batch of these DIY Candy Cane Marshmallow Treats that are quick and easy to make but look so yummy! Perfect too for dipping in hot chocolate!!
Source: Mom Foodie
12. Hot Chocolate Dispensers
Don’t forget about keeping your mixing drink (water or milk) or hot cocoa hot, hot, hot. That’s why these thermos dispensers are so important. Easy to switch out and perfect for hostesses who want no fuss or muss.
(Safety Note: be sure to keep all hot liquids up and way from small kiddos.)
Other Must-Have Chocolate Bar Supplies:
- Chocolate Chips
- Colorful Jimmies
- Whipped Cream
- Caramel Syrup
Amazing Examples of Hot Chocolate Bars
Not sure how to put everything together for your upcoming chocolate bar gathering?
I’ve got you covered with these nifty party setup ideas:
1. Rustic Hot Chocolate Bar
Source: Chelsea’s Messy Apron
2. Simple Setup Hot Chocolate Bar
3. Buffet-Style Hot Chocolate Bar
Source: Pen and Paper Flowers
4. Tartan Hot Cocoa Bar
Source: Lia Griffith
5. Hot Chocolate Station
Source: Your Home Based Mom
6. Layered Hot Chocolate Bar
Source: Making the World Cuter
7. Festive Holiday Chocolate Bar
Source: Hawthorn and Main
I hope you are inspired! For more great party ideas all year long, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Entertaining Section.