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Red Velvet Hot Chocolate & Other Customized Variations at NOLA Ice

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LAist is hunting for the best local hot chocolate. Earlier this week we visited the popular Intelligentsia. Today we head to NOLA Ice in Sherman Oaks.

What do you do when you own a New Orleans Sno-Ball shop on chipper L.A. winter days? Since their opening a year and a half ago, NOLA Ice owners Jillian DeFrehn and Erin Earls have expanded their shop to not just serve boutique shaved ice, but flavorful cupcakes and cheesecake bites. Now they're adding hot chocolate to their list.

"We're taking nostalgic things and adding a hip twist," said Earls. After some experimentation, Earls and DeFrehn found that adding flavored syrups to hot chocolate gave the drink a nice subtle kick. That, added with hand shaved chocolate, made for a rich treat topped with whipped cream and a large marshmallow.

How does it work? You customize your own hot chocolate. Choose your milk (whole, 2% or soy), your chocolate (shaved milk, mint, semi-sweet, dark or white chocolate), your syrup flavor (not essential, but flavors include red velvet, egg nog, pumpkin pie and others), your marshmallow (toasted almond or chocolate chip) and whip cream.

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How does it taste? The red velvet with dark chocolate brings a smile. The mint chocolate is excitingly tasty. The white chocolate is damn good. The milk chocolate with peppermint is classic and rich. The variations are, well, endless. To that, DeFrehn responded, "we're all about options."

Luckily, with so many routes to choose from, the price is right. $3 for a small and $4 for a large.