Colder days tend to call for heartier fare. Since mid-November, the folks at Panera Bread have rolled out a small spread of new menu items for the cable-knit sweater and hot cocoa-sipping set — from the Fontina Grilled Cheese to a new hot chocolate with chocolate chip marshmallows (yeah, we know).

A couple of weeks ago, we got the chance to check out a few of the new menu items ourselves, and though the in-store versions aren't nearly as pretty as what you'll see in a press release, they were still almost enough to melt our cold, dead hearts. Almost.

Here's a side-by-side (or, I guess, top-to-bottom) comparison of the official Panera promo images versus what we tried in store.


Fontina Grilled Cheese




"Vermont white cheddar, fontina, reduced-fat chive & onion cream cheese spread and a four cheese Italian blend grilled on thick sliced All-Natural White Miche."


Chicken Tortellini Alfredo Pasta (served half-size with tomato soup and croutons)






 "Tender tortellini pasta filled with a blend of ricotta, Swiss and romano cheeses and tossed in our rich alfredo sauce then topped with smoked, pulled antibiotic-free chicken and asiago-parmesan cheese."


Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Marshmallows



"Bittersweet chocolate flavored syrup made from Belgian dark chocolate and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, mixed with steamed milk and topped with whipped cream, chocolate chip marshmallows and drizzled with salted caramel sauce."

Dominique Zamora

Dominique would be a foodie if she had money to pay for food. For now, she gets by just looking at food photography, which results in at least one more starving journalism student every time Instagram breaks down.