When the Hot Chocolate Run began in 2004, we knew we wanted to serve REAL hot chocolate–the good stuff, made with just milk, cocoa, sugar and vanilla. We expected a few hundred participants our first year. Jen and John, the event’s founders, got up early that morning and made about 40 gallons of hot chocolate in big pots in their kitchen. No problem!

In our thirteenth year, we find ourselves needing hot chocolate for 6,000 people. That’s more than 500 gallons, and Jen and John’s stove just isn’t big enough. Still, it’s no problem, thanks to three incredible local businesses offering their support.

Since 2009, the Northampton Brewery has made our hot chocolate as only the Brewery can! For one day every year, the brewers clean out their giant beer-brewing kettle and fill it up with hot chocolate. Early in the morning–very, VERY early–head brewer Donald Pacher begins mixing and slowly heating the hot chocolate. With the help of many volunteers, Donald and Tina McElmoyl (our Hot Chocolate Director) transport all the hot chocolate across the street, to be served out of large thermoses to thousands of runners and walkers! After you walk or run, visit the Brewery for a celebratory lunch or beverage. They’re opening right after the event, at 10:30 a.m.!

We are delighted to offer hot chocolate made with 100% local milk. Our Family Farms, a cooperative of eight small Western Massachusetts dairy farms, is donating over 400 gallons of fresh and delicious local milk. “Our farmers have pledged not to use rbST (artificial growth hormone) because we care about the health of our families, friends and the community. We maintain the highest standards for animal care and treat our cows as if they are our children. Our cows generally eat breakfast before we do! Our cows spend part of their day grazing on lush, green pastures in the Spring, Summer and Fall. All of our farms use sustainable agricultural practices to protect our natural resources and preserve open space.” Our Family Farms products are available in stores throughout Western MA. Please support this terrific business!

Since the very first Hot Chocolate Run in 2004, Northampton Coffee has generously donated all of the high-quality cocoa, sugar and vanilla for the hot chocolate. This year we’ll need hundreds of pounds of cocoa and sugar–and three gallons of pure vanilla extract. Visit Northampton Coffee (or its other locations: Amherst, Greenfield, and Tart Baking Co.) for the very best single-origin coffees and espresso drinks, an extensive variety of full leaf teas and botanicals, delicious baked goods, and more.

We are so very grateful to Northampton Coffee, Our Family Farms, and the Northampton Brewery. Please join us in thanking them for their incredible support!