Cariana Fasciano is the woman behind Merry Hot Cocoa, a pop-up hot cocoa (and now, frozen hot cocoa) bar that made its debut in November 2022, just in time for the holidays. The shiny black trailer decorated with greenery can be found at Church Square Park in Hoboken and popping up throughout Hudson County — but now Cariana is putting down permanent Hoboken roots. Merry Hot Cocoa has been approved for a kiosk at Pier A, joining local favorite Alessio’s in the beloved Hoboken park. A few days ago, the spot announced that its kiosk location will be opening for business this Sunday, July 23rd from 12PM-7PM. Read on to learn more about Cariana’s background and the delicious hot cocoa available at her truck, plus details on the upcoming Pier A kiosk.
Cariana, a self-proclaimed sweet tooth, calls herself a hot chocolate connoisseur. “When I take a sip of hot chocolate, I take myself back to being 5 years old on the couch watching a Christmas movie in front of the tree,” she said. “I want to give everyone that vibe in one sip.” While Cariana and her family currently live in Secaucus, her family has roots in Hoboken and she lived in Hoboken for several years.
The hot cocoa truck isn’t Cariana’s first food-related business — she is also the owner and baker behind Why So Jelly doughnuts, a custom doughnut bakery. She had the idea to have a hot chocolate pop-up after playing in the kitchen with her four-year-old son. “I’m a sweet tooth and he loves sprinkles,” she said. “We were messing around and came up with some ideas, and I thought I could really do something with this.”
Cariana got the necessary paperwork and leased the shiny black trailer. She was popping up in Hoboken right after Thanksgiving. The timing is deliberate, she says. “I wanted to do something with the holidays,” she said. Don’t let the truck’s diminutive size deceive you: everything served is high quality. “The recipe for the hot cocoa is exactly what my Grandmother used,” Cariana said. “It’s real milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and some other fun stuff.” Almond milk is also available, but nothing mixed with water can be found here.
The hot cocoa itself is the base of Cariana’s creations. There are six styles of hot cocoa on the menu, but customers can pick and choose what they would like. “I wanted a Chipotle vibe,” she said. “People can get exactly what they want.” So far, the two most popular menu items are the Milk and Cookies, and the Merry.
Most of the drinks from Merry Hot Cocoa are decorated with a special rim, whipped cream, and of course, sprinkles. The Merry is a classic hot cocoa, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows, and sprinkles. Cariana has a petite blowtorch on hand to give the marshmallows the perfectly roasted flavor to complete the S’mores Hot Cocoa. The Candy Cane Lane tastes like essential winter, made with a peppermint rim and topped with whipped cream and more crushed peppermint.
Following the success of the truck, Cariana’s venture didn’t end with the holiday season — the truck continues to make its way throughout town, serving up frozen hot cocoa + cold brew beverages that are equal in decadence to their warm counterparts.
Where to Find Merry Hot Cocoa
The best way to find where Merry Hot Cocoa will pop up is to follow the truck’s Instagram account. In the winter, the truck was at many Hudson County tree-lighting celebrations.
Cariana said she’s been pleasantly surprised with the positive reception she’s gotten with the hot cocoa truck. “I wanted to be out through the holidays and into January,” she said back in 2022. “But it’s going really well, even better than I expected. I am booked for private events for Valentine’s Day and several weddings.” She said that once the truck made its appearance on social media, things really took off — and months later, this still rings true.
Putting Down Permanent Roots
Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 Merry Hot Cocoa took to Instagram to share some exciting news via a Kourtney Kardashian meme (our two favorite things). The post shared that Merry Hot Cocoa got approved for a kiosk at Pier A Park, and would be coming to town “so soon.” See the post below.
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Merry Hot Cocoa shared with The Hoboken Girl that the new kiosk will be permanent, serving up a variety of frozen hot cocoas, milkshakes, ice cream, and refreshers, as well as carnival treats and other bites. The kiosk will also have a popcorn bar in conjunction with Hoboken’s Movies Under the Stars — a summer-long event for which you can see the schedule here.
A few days ago, Merry Hot Cocoa announced via Instagram that the opening date of the kiosk would be Sunday, July 23rd from 12PM-7PM Cariana also plans to host weekly, family-friendly events at Pier A Park, which she’ll announce on Instagram along with any opening date developments.
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