Hot Chocolate at MarieBelle, New York City, USA

IMG_8554Entering MarieBelle is like entering a decadent and over the top aristocratic French wonderland. And things get richer and more decadent the further you walk into the store. First you pass the ice-cream selection, perfect for today’s hot weather. Then you enter the heart of the store, a large room with towering ceilings painted blue with gold details everywhere, where there are beautifully decorated chocolates in every flavor combination imaginable sitting in elaborate display cases.

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But the soul of the space is further back, in a room perfectly named the Cocoa Bar. Here the atmosphere changes. The walls are dark chocolate brown and mostly covered with large gold framed mirrors giving the feeling of being in a room in the Palace of Versailles. A large crystal chandelier hangs right in the middle of the room filled with gold chairs and marble table tops. I felt like I’d stepped back in time, perhaps that I’d been invited by Marie Antoinette for a decadent treat, and that I should have been wearing something much more extravagant that jeans and ponytail. Classical music is playing from a stereo behind me but I imagine for a moment that it is instead a real grand piano, playing for us all, as we drink our hot chocolates.

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The menu has a whole page of hot chocolates to choose from. They have a selection of dark chocolates, between 65 and 75% cocoa liquor, some sweetened, some not at all, some with chilies or coffee added. If you are more of a milk chocolate type of person there are a range of options here with nutmeg, cinnamon, freshly ground hazelnuts and even natural banana pulp added. A final section features white hot chocolates with Tahitian vanilla and other natural flavors added. I choose the one they are most famous for, their Astec 65% made in the European style with water (although you can also get it made with milk, I strongly recommend the version made with water). I ordered a small which came in an espresso cup covered in delicate gold details. The cup was presented on a small gold platter accompanied by another larger cup filled with a dollop of freshly whipped cream which was lightly dusted with cocoa powder (an extra 45 cents but totally worth it). The hot chocolate was divine. It had a smooth and rich consistency and a beautifully rich dark chocolate taste. It was the perfect blend of sweetness, bitterness and was a consistency that was rich while still being very easy to sip. And I enjoyed every last drop of my small cup, anything more would have been too much of a good thing and anything less would have been a pity.

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On the wall as I left I noticed a large poster with a quote from the Marquise de Sevingny, “If you are not feeling well, if you have not slept. Chocolate will revive you. But you have no chocolate. I think of that again and again. My dear how will you ever manage?” How I will manage without MarieBelle’s hot chocolate….I am not sure.

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Verdict: A real decadent and extravagant treat, and at 5$ for a small hot chocolate and incredibly friendly staff I will be most definitely spoiling myself again as soon as I get back to NYC. MarieBelle, 484 Broome Street, New York, USA (and a second store in Kyoto).

 

November 17th, 2014|New York, New York City, NORTH AMERICA, USA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at East Elevation, Melbourne, Australia

Hot Chocolate at East Elevation, Melbourne

I may have found the ultimate hot chocolate. Not surprisingly, I found it in Melbourne which has, without a doubt, some of the most incredible hot chocolate experiences of anywhere I’ve been.

And today I am madly in love with East Elevation. You walk through a large red door and enter an incredible space with cathedral ceilings and sun shinning through skylights. The whole place is a sort of indoor kitchen garden with sunflowers, herbs and other sprouts thriving off all the light. It put a smile on my face as soon as I walked through the front doors and that smile didn’t go away until I left again.

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For one, the food is beautiful thanks to Head Chef Bryan Edwards. I had spicy cannellini beans with chorizitos and hand rolled mozzarella with a corn and oregano salsa on sourdough toast which was delicious. I was tempted to lick the plate after but needed to save room for hot chocolate

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Chocolate company Monsieur Truffe is responsible for the incredible hot chocolate. It started out as a one-man operation at the Prahran market in 2008 and has since grown to have stores in Collingwood and East Brunswick. East Elevation shares their building with  Monsieur Truffe. That itself makes East Elevation my favourite place but it gets even better.  A glass wall divides the two spaces which both sit under the same roof! From our seat you could see all of the machines they use to make the chocolate including one large contraption with massive granite wheels that was stirring a large vat of rich oozy dark chocolate. How perfect is that.

They have several options to choose from and I have tasted a few of them now. Their classic offering is a house blend with 70% cocoa. You can also have mayan chill, chocolate from Venezuela (66%), Madagascar (70%) or Brazil (80%). The hot chocolate is melted in steamed milk and comes in a beautiful glazed ceramic mug on a wooden plate with a small wooden spoon and a little square of dark chocolate. I could find no fault. I loved everything about it, the presentation, the atmosphere, the quantity given, the temperature and then of course the drink itself was smooth and velvety, rich and creamy. This must be the ultimate hot chocolate experience.

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Verdict: I can find absolutely no fault with this hot chocolate (and for only AUD$5!). It and everything else about East Elevation is perfect in my eyes.  East Elevation, 351 Lygon Street, Melbourne, Australia

 

November 11th, 2014|AUSTRALASIA, Australia, Melbourne, Victoria|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe, USA

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Kakawa is one of a kind … just like Santa Fe. Santa Fe is a gorgeous place to visit for so many reasons but I would come back again and again just to visit Kakawa. In the three days we were here we visited Kakawa three times. The day I left Santa Fe my taste buds went into shock wondering what happened to their daily Kakawa fix.

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Kakawa is an Olmec word meaning cacao or chocolate. The focus in this little adobe building is on historic drinking chocolates including traditional Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Mayan Astec drinking chocolates, 1600’s European drinking chocolates, Colonial American and Colonial Mexican drinking chocolates. Every day there is a slightly different selection of eight different hot chocolates, all available in small clear containers on a long counter. The staff here were all  incredibly friendly, and provided tasting samples of as many different hot chocolates as you want to help you make the all important decision of which one to get.

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I tasted them all and my head is still spinning in delight. The one that intrigued me the most was the Aztec hot chocolate. The Aztec is unsweetened, made with water and a mix of herbs, flowers, nuts, spices, chilli and Mexican vanilla. It was a powerful shot of liquid that felt like it could cure absolutely any ailment but that also knocked me off my feet and put me into a slight hot chocolate shock. It was so powerful it took my taste buds a full minute to recover and by then the chocolate had left a beautiful, spice filled aftertaste. At that point I’d take another sip, be completely overwhelmed again with the incredibly strong flavours, recover and do it all again until the cup was empty.

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I can’t say it was a completely pleasant experience (but I do definitely recommend you try it once!), but what was a pleasant experience were the slightly sweetened European hot chocolates. The Havana Rum, 72% chocolate mixed with almond milk, citrus, spcies and Mexican vanilla, was stunning. Since the alcohol had been cooked off, the rum gave a flavour kick but without any other side effects. Another beautiful one was the Tonantzin, again 72% chocolate mixed with water, rose, damiana and Mexican vanilla. It was silky and smooth and I’m sure must be a best seller.

Once you finally decide which of the rich elixirs you’d like, they are presented to you in a beautiful blue and white cup. To accompany your hot chocolate they serve a tempting selection of incredibly rich brownies and truffles which of course we tried as well.

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Verdict: One of my ultimate hot chocolate spots, with a fantastic mix of fascinating and delicious flavours. Luckily for us all of their blends are for sale online (even their cups!). The world needs more places like Kakawa…. Kakawa Chocolate House, 1050 E. Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

 

November 4th, 2014|New Mexico, NORTH AMERICA, Santa Fe, USA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at Olive & Gourmando, Montreal, Canada

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A couple of years ago I visited Montreal and stayed at a hotel near the heart of Old Montreal, the historic city centre. I remember waking up starving and letting my nose direct me to the nearest spot that could satisfy my morning hunger. That morning my nose did well and brought me straight to Olive & Gourmando. This trip despite staying on the complete opposite side of the city, the first thing I did was make my way back to O&G.

Olive & Gourmando, or O&G for short, has an incredible buzz. It feels a little bit like those cartoons with dozens of clowns climbing out of a tiny taxi with one wondering how they all got in there in the first place. People just kept arriving and magically just kept on getting seated even though O&G isn’t a particularly big space, at least it doesn’t feel that way. It is cozy and colourful and homy and feels like a neighbourhood hangout where everyone knows each other and no one needs to say their order because the staff just know (in fact that was the case for a couple of the tables around me!). Everyone stopping here for a coffee or some food just looks cool, and I imagine they all do very cool things and would all be interesting people to have a little chat with first thing in the morning over coffee before making my way to work. The couple next to us, regulars, have just returned from a 3 week hike across Iceland (as one does). Two coffees magically appear before them before they even say a word and they order the “Egg on your face” because they are starving. “Egg on your face” is their “Poached egg on your face Panini”, spicy poached eggs with herbs and mayonnaise, Comte cheese, speck and slow roasted tomatoes (for $11.95) and happens to be what we’d just ordered – it’s just what you need if you are starving. It was gooey and messy and delicious, and I kept eating it way past the point where my belly was full just because it was so tasty.

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Two of the four walls at O&G are lined with large windows that open up and bring in the feel and soul of beautiful Old Montreal and blend it with the playful spirit of the place. The other two walls are covered with little messages that give you a bit more of an insight into what O&G is all about. For example on a Saturday in 1998 they served only 3 customers in a whole day while one day in summer 2012 they made 360 sandwhiches, 45 litres of home made juice (everything here is homemade), 15 litres of soup, 200 brownies (one of their best sellers) and 375 croissants.

The staff were fantastic and bounce back and forth between French and English as most do here in Montreal. There was one man, the one who somehow kept finding seats for the never-ending line up of people wanting to come in, who took my hot chocolate order. The hot chocolate was delivered by another man who must have been the twin of the first man (was he?). It was prepared by a guy dancing around the coffee machine with a t-shirt with the word Dude written on it who honestly made making coffee look like it was the coolest job ever. And what he put together surprised me because this wasn’t at all the hot chocolate I expected. It was very bitter, pretty much unsweetened Valhrona chocolate that almost had a rough texture to it. It was rugged and strong, a serious kick that energized us for our morning walking around the area. Loved it.

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Verdict: A bit different, but in a good way. Olive & Gourmando, 351 Saint-Paul, W. Montreal, Canada

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October 20th, 2014|Canada, Montreal, NORTH AMERICA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at Maison Christian Faure, Montreal, Canada

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Old Montreal is the heart of the city. It is a relatively large area made up of a network of old cobblestoned streets, lined with churches, restaurants, stores and cafes in buildings dating from the 17th through 19th centuries. Throughout the day and late into the night street performers entertain the large crowds of locals and tourists alike.

But today we weren’t interested in any of this. We walked straight to Maison Christian Faure to have a pain au chocolat and a chocolat chaud. Christian Faure is French and a pastry chef, but not just any pastry chef. He has the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France Glacier among the numerous other titles he has (including Best Pastry Chef of the world by The American Academy for Hospitality Sciences). He has worked at the Prince of Monaco’s Palace, and wowed VIPs at the Olympic Games in Vancouver and Salt Lake City. Luckily for the locals, in 2013 he set up shop here in the heart of Old Montreal, a small café/pastry shop upstairs with a pastry school teaching professional and amateur classes downstairs.

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This morning there were no classes happening downstairs (if there had been I would have found a way to set myself up on the staircase to watch, perhaps under an invisibility cloak of some sort). So we headed upstairs and before we had even sat down or looked at a menu, I ordered a pain au chocolate et chocolat chaud. I have been craving a decent pain au chocolate for a while. When I lived in Paris I used to get one every single day on my way to work. I must have tried out 30 different places before settling on the one I liked the best. Since then, despite some good attempts at bakeries in other parts of the world I have visited, it just hasn’t been the same. This one however was perfect. It was light and flaky, with a generous amount of chocolate. All of their pastries looked perfect and everyone else around us had ordered a classic pastry of some sort. One very elegant woman was eating a pain au raisin, with obvious enjoyment. A few were eating croissants with extra butter (why not I say). It was early in the morning but they were also offering a range of less buttery but equally delicious looking lunch offerings.

The space inside is light and airy. An old stone wall runs along one side while the other is covered in intricate murals of very confident looking French pastry chefs standing in town squares surrounded by distinguished mademoiselles. The display of pastries looked almost too good to eat, as if they should be bought to decorate a table. A giant tower made of red, green and yellow macaroons stood proudly between the two display cases. They also sell a range of freshly made marshmellows, some flavoured teas. At the entrance, a large modern white statue of an antelope (why not I say again) greets you.

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As I expected for a master of pastries from France, my hot chocolate was a perfect classic. Light and creamy, easy to drink, nothing too extravagant or rich, just a beautiful simple slightly bitter hot chocolate. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the hot chocolate (which interestingly enough wasn’t on the drinks menu). We were seated next to a table of people all enjoying their hot chocolates who looked like they were the organizers of a very cool festival. We couldn’t quite figure out which one by the bits of conversation we heard. Maybe the world famous Montreal Jazz Festival which takes place in Old Montreal and spills across the whole city? What a great combination.

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Verdict: A touch of the best of France in the heart of Old Montreal. Maison Christian Faure, 355 Place Royale, Montreal, Canada

October 13th, 2014|Canada, Montreal, NORTH AMERICA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at Juliette et Chocolat, Montreal, Canada

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I think Juliette and I would get along. Juliette started Juliette & Chocolate because she was frustrated she couldn’t find a hot chocolate that met her high standards, a nice thick one like her grandmothers used to make. She took her chocolate and crepe making degrees and set up shop now in several spots across Montreal. We visited her newest one on rue Ste. Catherine.

Rue Ste. Catherine is Montreal’s shopping heaven. There is block after block of stores both above ground and in tunnels underground, which are used all year round but especially in the winter to get away from the freezing temperatures. Perhaps this is why this location of Juliette et Chocolat is so massive. It is a huge room with long wooden tables, enough to sit tour buses filled with shoppers, to give them an extra kick in the middle of summer or warm them up through the long winter. At the front is a long counter filled with all sorts of generous chocolate creations; decadent looking brownies, truffles followed by a display of products you can buy to use at home such as single servings of their hot chocolates, spreadable chocolates and caramels. Two staff were buzzing around the café today, both wearing floppy red chef hats and aprons, both with big infections smiles. None of the food or drinks were made up front by them. Instead they go to a secret door way down the back of the café where I imagine there is a room filled floor to ceiling with all the different chocolate options where an army of chocolate specialists expertly put the chocolate creations together while listening to French Canadian singer Garou singing songs from the soundtrack of the French/Canadian musical Notre Dame. Not sure why, but that was my vision.

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We arrived right when it opened at 11am and it slowly but surely it started filling up with people looking for crepes for lunch. We went straight for the hot chocolate menu because yes, they have a whole menu just of hot chocolates (a dream come true). The menu reads like a passionate love letter to hot chocolate “good chocolate, much like wine, presents the palate with subtle and surprising flavours that result from the type of cocoa used in its creation, from the way it was cultivated, and from the “terroir” it comes from. And just like fine wines, the taste of some chocolates varies from year to year depending on the crop.” It continues with a long list of options. To start with you have the traditional grandma’s style dark extra bitter, dark semi sweet, milk or white chocolates either extra thick or with added milk. There are the vintages made from selected cocoa beans, each hot with tasting notes for example Pure Caraibes 66% which has a woody taste with hints of dried fruits and roasted almonds. The next section lists the original vintages with a choice of chocolates by country for example Uganda, Peru, Mexico or Madagascar. The Plantation Vintages are made from cocoa beans sourced from a single plantation. You can also choose from a range of exotic sounding alcoholic chocolates such as the choco-mojito which is chilled dark chocolate, mint liquor and whipped cream. There are chocolate shooters and chocolate cocktails and even special cold chocolates with added fruits.

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Today I decided to go with the Mangaro 65% from Madagascar, cultivated on a former mango plantation its tasting notes promised it would taste of mango with hints of gingerbread and citrus fruits. It was presented in a large whisky glass accompanied by a little square of freshly made fudge. I enjoyed sitting there trying to analyse the different flavours, much like I would do with a nice glass of wine. Each of the hot chocolates we ordered looked the same but tasted completely different. One would require more time and several visits to test out the different options to find which one excites or calms your taste buds the most.

I would be happy to put in the time to try them all, but I might not have the budget. A hot chocolate at Juliette et Chocolat cost us 12 dollars each before tax for a pretty small cup. I understand that the quality is high, but 12 dollars high? I’m not convinced.

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Verdict: I have already planned which hot chocolate I am going to try next when I am back next year. Expensive but decadent. Juliette et Chocolat, 1626 rue Ste. Catherine, Montreal, Canada (with several other locations across Montreal)

 

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September 29th, 2014|Canada, Montreal, NORTH AMERICA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at Chocolats Privilege, Montreal, Canada

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There are so many things I love about Montreal. If you haven’t had a chance to visit I strongly recommend you plan a trip (but preferably not in the winter, it gets really cold). If you do get here make sure you save some time to visit one or several of the beautiful markets spread out across the city. Not only are they filled with colourful fresh produce from local farmers but they also offer a range of food options to satisfy any size of hunger and often any preference of cuisine.

Today we visited the Atwater Market located in the southwest of Montreal near the Lachine Canal. It was established in 1933 and named after Edwin Atwater, a 19th century businessman and municipal politician. The market itself is housed in an art-deco style building and spreads out onto the surrounding streets depending on the season. Here you can find pretty much anything and everything made from scratch by local producers, with fantastic names such as Les Cochons Tout Ronds (the round pigs), Fou du Chef (crazy about the chef), Roule Ma Poule (roll my chicken) and Fromages du Paradis (cheese from paradise). Everything was picked not long before it arrived here, blueberries, fresh corn on the cob, melons, cauliflower, mushrooms, you name it, they have it.

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We enjoyed some curries for lunch from Reunion Island at Marmite Su’l Feu and then walked around in search of something sweet to finish off our meal.  We stumbled upon Chocolats Privilege, a classic looking chocolate shop that creates a large number of delicious looking artisanal chocolates from bean to bar. You can buy the chocolate itself in large bags to create your own chocolate concoctions or be tempted by the many combinations created by them. There are truffles, chocolate shavings, even little animals made of chocolate. They have a range of different flavoured macaroons, ice-creams and chocolate covered marshmallows.

If I had been feeling a bit more adventurous this afternoon I could have chosen from a range of hot chocolates that they create using their own flavoured chocolate bars. The choices were salted caramel, raspberry, orange and ginger, hazelnut, cinnamon and cardamom, pink peppercorn, and mint. I chose to try their Chocolat Classique petit (CDN $3.05). It came to us in a tall clear glass filled up right to the top. It was one of those hot chocolates that would easily please most, sweet and chocolaty, a little bit decadent. To accompany it we were each given a little plastic bag with one of their macaroons inside; delicious and light as air.

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Verdict: Chocolate Privilege believes that a life without chocolate is a life missing something essential. I completely agree. Chocolats Privilege, Atwater Market, 138 Atwater Ave, Montreal Canada (with locations across Montreal, Kirkland and Laval)

 

September 22nd, 2014|Canada, Montreal, NORTH AMERICA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at World Cup Cafe, Taos, USA

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The scenic drive from Santa Fe up to Taos is magical. The landscape turns from red rocks to green forests and snow capped mountains, all within the space a couple of hours. We passed through villages with a feel of Old Spain, some known for their wood carvings, others for their numerous artists. And then, at the end of the road, is Taos, a blend of Hispanic, Native American and Western Ango cultures with a hint of Wild West.

Taos Pueblo, just outside of Taos, is a series of houses build during AD 1000 with no energy or running water, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Hundred of inhabitants still dwell here in adobe buildings sitting at the base of a snow capped mountain.  Little has changed here in over 600 years. We had a delicious lunch at Orlando’s on our way to the slightly terrifying Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a high suspension bridge.

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After a stunning day in the area I was craving a hot chocolate, more specifically a deep Mexican hot chocolate. We did a bit of a search online and found a recent article from the local newspaper that raved about the Mexican hot chocolate at World Cup Cafe right in the centre of historic Taos. The article said that it was spicy and rich and comes topped with whip cream and a dusting of cinnamon. World Cup was full of locals warming up over cups of coffee. I ordered my small hot chocolate and asked for it to drink in.

World Cup Café is a tiny café. It is basically just a counter to order, a few stools to sit near the windows and then some blue benches along the outside of the store where you can watch Taos go by. The walls are covered in money from around the world and the blackboard is a long list of caffeine delights (apparently incredible).  World Cup Café is all about “walking the talk” and chooses ingredient integrity and quality over low cost. Coffee beans are organic, dairy products are from a farmer owned organic valley co-op, baked goods are all organic ingredients. Even the honey is local and organic.

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My hot chocolate was presented to me in a paper cup, with no whipped cream (or even the option), and no dusting of cinnamon  (as the article suggested it would). It was a very sweet version of Mexican hot chocolate, and didn’t have the complex chilli and spice notes that I was hoping for. What was interesting though was that it had a hint of nuts in it which was unique and I found quite fascinating. I couldn’t pick out what kind of nut, walnut perhaps?

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Verdict: Not quite what I was expecting but a really nice finish to a fantastic day. World Cup,  102 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, New Mexico, USA

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September 15th, 2014|New Mexico, NORTH AMERICA, Taos, USA|1 Comment

Hot Chocolate at Café Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, USA

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The motto of Café Pasqual’s is ‘Panza llena, Corazon content!’ which means full stomach, happy heart. Over the past 3 days Café Pasqual’s did both for us; filled our stomachs (several times) and gave us warm and very happy hearts. Located just a couple of blocks away from the main plaza of stunning Santa Fe, the oldest capital city in the US and a magnet for artists and art lovers, it and all of the surrounding buildings are made from a modern version of the traditional adobe houses made with sun dried bricks of earth and water. At 8 am the sky was a perfectly crisp blue, and slowly but surely everything started waking up. The artists were setting up their turquoise jewlery in the plaza, and the tourists were already out and ready with their cameras, many of them lined up in front of Café Pasqual’s.

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Café Pasqual is named after the folk saint of Mexican and New Mexican kitchens and cooks, San Pasqual. His image hangs in the kitchens of many homes and restaurants in particular around New Mexico. Born on May 24, 1540, San Pasqual was a Franciscan Friar assigned to kitchen duties. The story goes that he created incredible meals with simple foods he found in the kitchen. His fellow Friars would see him meditating and praying while he was cooking and believed he was being helps by angels. Then date of his passing, May 17th, is celebrated around the world as the Feast of San Pasqual.

San Pasqual restaurant keeps this spirit of taking simple foods and turning them into incredible meals. Inside the dinning room is a celebration covered in hand painted Mexican tiles and murals by renowned Mexican painter Leovigildo Martinez. The food matches the atmosphere. It is colourful, flavourful and exciting with a New Mexican feel. Unfortunately we weren’t able to sit in the dinning room once during our trip due to the popularity of the restaurant, but we had their famous breakfast burritos twice during our stay which we took with us and ate in the plaza. We also had dinner twice (take out as well), which had specialty dishes like home made tamales with red chilli chicken, incredible mole enchiladas with cilantro rice, jicama salad and corn torte (hmmm my mouth is watering as I type this).

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And then there was the hot chocolate. Mentioned simply as Mexican Hot Chocolate, it was delicious and was the perfect start to our chilly but sunny Santa Fe mornings. Rich chocolate, cinnamon and a touch of chilli, all very subtle and beautifully blended. Because we got it “to go”, it came in a large paper cup with a plastic lid (usually this is a no-no) but I drank the whole thing and craved more. It was so easy to drink, such a beautiful way to start a day.

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Verdict: A true party in your mouth, New Mexican style. Café Pasqual’s, 121 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

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September 8th, 2014|New Mexico, NORTH AMERICA, Santa Fe, USA|0 Comments

Hot Chocolate at Common Bond, Houston, USA

 

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Houston has been in need of a beautiful bakery for quite some time now, at least in my opinion. So when Common Bond finally opened a few weeks ago, we didn’t wait for an invite! On this corner in Houston there used to be an old historic house which housed an antique store. When the store burnt down over a year ago we wondered what would take its place and not surprisingly a very modern looking building popped up. Common Bond set up in the corner, and they’ve created a stunning space. It has incredibly high ceilings and windows that go from the floor all the way to the roof on three sides of the café. The whole space is filled with lots of seating and the baristas make your coffee (and hot chocolate) right in the middle. When you first enter you walk through a twisty line (often a very long line) to get to a never ending display case filled with rich and delicate looking desserts, chocolate cupcakes, multi-coloured macaroons, tiramisu and of course a selection of freshly made breads. While waiting in line you can watch bakers and pastry chefs doing their magic in the back.

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Montrose has no shortage of interesting and delicious spots to stop. In fact pretty much all of my favourite places to eat are along this road in Montrose and if you are a coffee lover this area is as far as you have to go. Now with the opening of Common Bond, this is definitely the area you want to be in for hot chocolates as well. Their hot chocolate is made from Valrhona Manjori, prepared by staff wearing white shirts, black aprons and white hats looking at cool as can be. This chocolate even though it is a dark, 64% cocoa tasted quite sweet and was very easy and enjoyable to drink. Paired with one of their many chocolate desserts it would be death by chocolate, a happy and colourful death by chocolate.

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Verdict: Glad to see Houston is slowly, but surely getting some good hot chocolate options. Common Bond is a stunning and happy place and you won’t be disappointed with their hot chocolate if you have a bit of a sweet tooth. Common Bond, 1706 Westheimer Rd, Houston, USA

Common Bond Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

September 1st, 2014|Houston, NORTH AMERICA, Texas, USA|2 Comments