Sipping from Bean to Cup with Monsieur Txokola, Bayonne, France

One of the reasons that Bayonne is truly the capital of chocolate in France is that is represents all the different sides of the story. You can get the traditional (Casenave), the more modern takes (L.Raux) and they also have their own bean to bar chocolate maker, Monsieur Txokola. Two friends, Ronan Lagadec and Cyril Pouil started this a few years back and both have quite a lot of experience in the field of chocolate. You can watch the whole process of going from bean to bar right here in their tiny shop and both are usually on hand to [...]

2020-05-05T03:26:44+00:00May 5th, 2020|Bayonne, EUROPE, France|

Jambon, Gateau Basque, Izarra and a Hot Chocolate L. Raux Chocolatier, Bayonne, France

This morning I woke up wishing I was back in Basque country, so I thought I’d keep telling you about the hot chocolates I had there. So today we are back in Bayonne for another hot chocolate, this time at L. Raux Chocolatier. You may remember my post a few weeks ago introducing Bayonne, France’s capital of chocolate. This was a surprise to me too when I first found out. I had been to Bayonne before but never thought of chocolate, always of ham (Bayonne is even more famous for its Jambon de Bayonne, more on that later).  L. Raux [...]

2020-04-27T03:55:10+00:00April 27th, 2020|Bayonne, EUROPE, France|

Notre Dame Cathedral and a Hot Chocolate at Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac, Paris, France

Pretty much exactly a year ago today I was in Paris. I was walking around, almost running, trying to get to as many of the hot chocolate spots on my wish list before taking the TGV from Montparnasse to go to Bayonne. The plan was to cross the river Seine, say hi to some of the spots I used to spend a lot of time at on Ile de la Cite (including the spot where my husband proposed), walk over to the 6th to visit Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac and then basically run straight up Boulevard Montparnasse to my train.  My plan [...]

2020-04-17T03:54:13+00:00April 17th, 2020|EUROPE, France, Paris|

Hot Chocolate at Cazenave, Bayonne, the capital of Chocolate in France

First of all, I need to apologize to all of you. While I have been busy drinking a lot of hot chocolates, I haven’t been able to write them up and post them recently. I now have a bigger problem sitting in front of me, a few books with notes on the 300+ hot chocolates I haven’t written up in about 10 different countries where I have travelled doing research on the history of hot chocolate for a new book I am working on (more on that later!). So, I need to think of another way to share this all [...]

2020-04-17T02:20:47+00:00March 25th, 2020|Bayonne, France|

A day in and around Kyoto and a Hot Chocolate at Mariebelle, Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is a truly magical place. I could spend days, maybe even a lifetime, walking through the streets and taking it all in. There are so many little shops where the owner is one of generations of family members making the same thing, in pretty much the same way for many years, and doing it perfectly. We bought chopsticks from a chop stick store, tried milk skins from a man who just lifts the solid skin that forms on the top of hot milk all day, every day. We ventured back and forth through Nishiki market admiring hundreds of different [...]

2019-03-14T03:49:26+00:00March 14th, 2019|ASIA, Japan, Kyoto|

A quick hot chocolate at Coco, Kyoto, Japan

I like my beans roasted. That’s my preference. The roasting process just brings out a depth of flavour that I crave and have never found in raw chocolate. The texture, the mouth feel, nothing is quite the same with raw chocolate. But raw chocolate has a serious fan base and because of this, there is usually at least one hot chocolate spot in most cities offering raw chocolate. We came across Coco Kyoto completely by accident (we were actually looking for tea, a change for me!). But I find it physically difficult to not stop when I see a sign [...]

2019-03-14T05:18:55+00:00March 6th, 2019|ASIA, Japan, Kyoto|

A Hot Chocolate (sort of) at Amaze Chaya, Hakone, Japan

Hakone is where Tokyo, and many international tourists, including ourselves, come to relax on weekends. Once you arrive at Hakone station it feels a bit like you have been placed on a conveyer belt. Most of the visitors to Hakone will complete the Hakone loop during their stay, a 2 hour loop that takes you from Hakone first on a small train that zig zags up the hill. Then you switch to a cable car, then a gondola over some volcanic vents where you can buy black eggs cooked in the steam from sulphur vents (a real money maker considering [...]

2019-02-25T07:48:29+00:00February 25th, 2019|Hakone, Japan|

A Hot Chocolate and Amazing Views at Café Ryusenkei, Hakone, Japan

The Hakone loop is beautiful, and well worth it any day of the year. It can be a day trip from Tokyo although we decided to stay the night. If you have the time do that. It just gives you a bit of breathing time. We took an early morning train out of Tokyo. The earlier the better (the train is called the Romance Car). Before boarding don't forget to pick up a bento box for breakfast. You will never go hungry in Tokyo, and never on the train. the station has several places where you can choose from one [...]

2019-02-19T02:15:12+00:00February 19th, 2019|Hakone|
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