Tit for Tat

The city’s best hot chocolate comes from the freezer.

Symbiosis is a remarkable thing: Bees have flowers, Tom has Katie, and the Roasting Plant has Il Laboratorio del Gelato. When this LES gelateria needs beans for its intense espresso gelato, it needn't look farther than the high-tech coffee shop down the street, where a fully automated, Wonkalike system of gadgetry roasts, grinds and brews the city's freshest cup of coffee.

In return, Il Laboratorio supplies the Roasting Plant's two locations with the surprising base for its amazing hot cocoa: dark-chocolate gelato. To turn this frozen confection into a steaming cup of goodness, the gelato is simply left to melt, then steamed to order with milk. The result is a frothy drink with a silken texture that puts gritty, powder-based hot cocoa to shame. And for an additional $1, you can turn any of the Roasting Plant's coffee drinks into a mocha.

The Roasting Plant, 81 Orchard St. (between Broome and Grand streets) and 75 Greenwich Ave. (at Seventh Ave.); 212-775-7755 or roastingplant.com

Il Laboratorio del Gelato, 188 Ludlow St. (at E. Houston St.); 212-343-9922 or laboratoriodelgelato.com