In the heart of Pau, right off the main square is a little chocolate shop called L’Atelier du Chocolat. It isn’t the only chocolate shop in town, as there seems to be one on almost every block. The locals obviously love their chocolate. Most of the chocolate shops don’t sell drinks, however this one had a sign in the front window saying it did. How could I ignore it …

We entered and asked for two. You have a choice, you can get standard hot chocolate, or one with cinnamon, coffee, orange, ginger or even pepper. As she prepares our drinks she lets us know that we can also choose 30 grams of any other chocolate in the store. She directs us to a wall with baskets full of sheets of chocolate from around the world, 90% cocoa from Trinidad, 70% cocoa from Venezuela. 30 grams is actually quite a generous piece of chocolate. I chose black chocolate with almonds.

The hot chocolate is prepared in a paper cup using boiling water and a special powder they make in store. She then puts your 30 gram piece of chocolate into the cup like a spoon and hands it to you. There isn’t anywhere in the store to sit down or any tables or chairs outside so we stand to drink it.

This is definitely a good hot chocolate. It smells very rich but isn’t as rich as you would expect. It also isn’t sweet at all. If you don’t rescue your 30 gram piece of chocolate in time (as I failed to do) it melts into your hot chocolate and makes it taste even better. It is a bit tricky to drink it standing up. If only they would put a little bench outside, then you could enjoy your hot chocolate while watching the locals walk by, or the kids going around the old fashion merry go round close by.

Verdict: For 2.50 Euros this is a fantastic hot chocolate. I definitely recommend this one. This area is also covered in stores so this hot chocolate is perfect to give you a bit of energy to start your shopping. There is another much larger L’Atelier du Chocolat in nearby Bayonne that gives tours and demonstrations. L’Atelier du Chocolate, 3, Rue Marechal Joffre, Pau, France.