I was hoping against hope that the weather would stay mild a little while longer, but I think it’s about time to throw in the towel, friends. Winter is upon us. Still, before you go into hibernation, start the season off on a sweet note Thursday at the kickoff party for Valrhona’s Hot Chocolate Festival. The chocolatier is taking over the Soho outpost of chic French restaurant and bakery Ladurée from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for an evening of whimsical hot chocolate concoctions.
Ladurée will join La Maison du Chocolat, Brooklyn Roasting Company and others in serving up samples of the hot chocolate recipes they’ve crafted just for the festival, along with plenty of baked goods to really cement your sugar high. Your $40 ticket entitles you to all the hot chocolate and pastries you can manage — and as if that isn’t sweet enough, the proceeds go to nonprofit Food Tank. Don’t worry if you can’t make the kickoff, though. The festival runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 3, with bakeries across the city offering exclusive hot chocolate creations and donating 50 cents from each cocoa sale.
If you’re not quite ready to commit to the winter body mentality, Brooklyn Grange is featuring a very different approach to warming up on Thursday: mushroom tea. From 6:30 to 9:30 pm, the rooftop farming company is hosting a fungus-focused workshop at its Brooklyn Navy Yard loft, delving into the rich history of medicinal mushrooms and their various uses. While you’re there, you’ll try teas brewed from healthful fungi and go home with a bottle of your own. Tickets are $75.