The humble yet comforting hot chocolate warms the fingers, lips and tummy from the winter chill. And as the cold sets in we turn to our favourite cafés for their take on the delicious goodness. Here are our favourite haunts…
Pana Chocolate, Alexandria
Riva Reno, Darlinghurst
Cremeria De Luca, Five Dock
Kakawa Chocolates, Darlinghurst
The Grounds of Alexandria's deconstructed hot chocolate ($7) puts together (or rather, takes apart) the hot milk and chocolate components so that you can decide just how rich you like it. Team it with their toasted Belgium waffles ($15) and you’re all set.
Steamed milk poured over rich Callebaut Belgian chocolate ($4.50) is the approach taken by West Juliett in Marrickville.
Café Shenkin’s Israeli inspired fare bodes well for the humble hot choc, which gets a coconut kick teamed with chocolate flakes for a delicious take on the classic ($4.50).
Using raw, organic, handmade, vegan chocolate, Pana Chocolate in Alexandria does organic hot chocolate and is created with Brazil nut milk, vanilla beans and a delectable chocolate rim.
Chippendale’s Koi Dessert Bar is a god-send for those with a sweet tooth or two, offering a four-course set menu consisting entirely of desserts; yes please. With a mandatory marshmallow accompanying the hot choc, you’ll no doubt be ready to move on to the cocktail offering when second dessert beckons.
Orchard Street Exlixir Bars
The Eastern suburbs is graced with liquid gold concoctions courtesy of Orchard Street Elixir Bars in Paddington, Bondi and Bronte who’ll team cacao with your choice of mylk (cashew, coconut, almond et al.) to create a deliciously healthy winter warmer.
Kürtósh House (Randwick, Surry Hills, Willoughby and Crows Nest) is recommended as much for its creamy mugs of hot chocolate as for the perfectly flaky pastries that simply must accompany it for dipping.
Five Dock’s Cremeria de Luca is a bastion of traditional Italian food; their hot chocolates are no exception. Teaming dark chocolate, sugar, milk and whipped cream together, you’ll taste the de Luca family cioccolata calda recipe that will instantly transport you to an icy evening in Rome.
The Reuben Hills nutella hot choc ($6) nails the hazelnut-chocolate combination on the head, and when teamed with the house banana, peanut and espresso bread with caramel butter ($8.50) smashed avo won’t even get a look in.
Darlinghurst’s Kakawa Chocolates is the pinnacle for chocolate purists, with their hot chocolates delivered thick, rich and unadorned in five flavours; dark traditional, milky classic, chilli, hazelnut, and brandy. It will be the best $6 you ever spend.
Riva Reno in Darlinghurst (and now with a gelato store in Barangaroo) do hot chocolate using Valrhona chocolate to create a thick, rich beverage with a balanced acidity and fruit flavours so that sickly-sweetness is hardly an issue.
To the North, Bathers Pavilion in Balmoral is the place to frequent for their ‘real hot chocolate’. The heavenly creation is served in a bowl ($6 or $8) with Belgian Callebaut dark chocolate lovingly melted over cream to create one of the most indulgent hot chocs the city has to offer.
At the QVB’s Koko Black, hot chocolate is a philosophy, a way of appreciating flavour that is not to be trifled with. The Belgian hot chocolate’s velvety texture evokes the cultivation of an open mind and open heart; the Chilli hot chocolate encourages clarity of thinking while the Cinnamon hot chocolate focuses on kindness. Hazelnut, mocha and orange are equally as enlightening…Convinced? Us too.