Hot Scoop

Pitango Gelato warms things up

Our ice cream cravings usually diminish as the temperature drops.

But Pitango Gelato is turning its hot-weather ingredients into the perfect antidote to early-fall chills.

This week, the chainlet started pouring mugs of thick Italian-style sipping chocolate ($3.25) at each of its locations. The shop makes its steaming drink by blending its organic Costa Rican cocoa with local milk and a touch of sugar. The chocolate is slightly fruity, with a long, nutty finish, and is dense enough to stand in for dessert.

Lighten the dense chocolate with whipped cream from Spring Wood Organic Farm ($4.25) or steamed milk ($4). For a different kind of heat, the staff can add chile peppers to the brew.

The mocha ($4) blends the chocolate with the special house blend of Counter Culture espresso, but the Marocchino ($3.50) is the sturdiest blend–combining the thick chocolate with a double shot of espresso.

And for those who crave gelato year-round, Pitango will also pour its hot chocolate over a scoop of any flavor ($4.50). The punchy cinnamon delivers the best kick of autumnal spirit.

Pitango Gelato, 413 7th St. NW (at D St.), or 1451 P St. NW (between 14th & 15th sts.), or 11942 Democracy Dr., Reston; pitangogelato.com