Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta is, apparently, the world’s busiest airport and has been since 1998 in terms of the number of passengers and the number of flights. In January 2015 7,288,267 passengers came through this airport which seems almost impossible to me. When I stepped off my flight on a Sunday night the place was packed, absolutely packed. I can think of so many busy airports around the world, but I would have never guessed this one was the busiest.
I have never been to Atlanta and I still haven’t been to Atlanta. But I have been to Atlanta airport and surprisingly I found a hot chocolate there. I say surprisingly because, in my opinion, US airports don’t usually have very good food, and usually even worse, if any, hot chocolates. I usually make a point to stay far away from any establishment claiming to sell food, unless it is a cinnamon raisin bagels toasted with cream cheese. Those bagels get me through US flights time and time again, and I often go hungry if an airport has no bagel shop.
On this particular trip, I had 3 hours to spare here and thanks to free wifi offered by the airport I thought, just for the fun of it,I would search for ‘hot chocolate Atlanta airport”. Low and behold google did not disappoint. Review after review mentioned that Café Intermezzo, located right next to the gate I arrived at, had the most incredible hot chocolate. Some even stated it was the best hot chocolate they had had in their life. Could this be possible? Could the ultimate hoc chocolate be at Atlanta International Airport?
Café Intermezzo looks like the cafes in Vienna. Dark wooden furniture with gold and copper accents. Dramatic chandeliers hanging above create a soft and romantic atmosphere, a completely different world than the incredibly busy hallways outside. A mixture of opera and smooth jazz was playing on the speakers, while along the whole café is a wall covered in books for sale, everything from business to fiction to self-help. At the end of that wall is a window offering a view of the runway, while the bar area houses an impressive looking coffee machine and an area where you can admire and drool over the different treats they offer. The ketchup bottles on the table combined with the strong smell of burgers and the sheer size of the desserts quickly takes you away from Vienna however, and brings you firmly back to Atlanta. The cake menu alone covers 4 pages, with each piece being big enough for 4 people but usually ordered by only one. I followed the pieces as the waiters walked with them across the floor to different tables, watching the expressions of pure joy wash across the faces of each customer as they received their piece.
The ‘Beverage Book’ as they called it had not one, but seven different hot chocolates! There was the Hot Chocolate Berlin made with Nutella and steamed cream and milk, the Hot Chocolate Delux Peppermint with peppermint syrup, another one with caramel syrup and a last option with steamed cream and milk with Dutch white chocolate and vanilla. If you need/want an extra kick before your flight they also have two alcoholic options – The North Face has Peppermint Schnapps while the Calda Firenze is a hot chocolate with tuaca vanilla and herb liqueur (whatever that is). I decided to try the option that seemed the least sweet and most decadent; the Hot Chocolate Delux.
My hot chocolate was no quiet wallflower. It arrived in a fantastic large white mug, the kind I wish I had at home to drink all my hot chocolates from. Chocolate syrup was dripping down the sides of the cup. The steamed cream and milk with dutch chocolate was topped with a large dollop of whipped cream, and generously dusted with cocoa powder and a hint of shaved dark chocolate. As soon as I took my first sip I recognized it as Ghirardelli dark chocolate syrup that was dripping on the sides and part of the main drink. I am a big fan of Ghiardelli as an incredible chocolate company, but their syrup is incredibly sweet (for my taste) and almost undrinkable for me but adored by many in the US who seem to have a preference for sweeter hot chocolates. If that is you, and you are in Atlanta, this will become your heaven.
Airports are fascinating places. They connect cities and countries and often bring me to my next delicious hot chocolate destination. If I am ever back in Atalanta (which considering how busy this airport is I’m assuming it will), I will come back here and order one of their alcoholic hot chocolates. I think that will balance the sweetness…and make it a bit easier toignore the thousands of people running around me to get to their gates on time.
Verdict: A statement hot chocolate with big visual presence and a really sweet kick (too sweet for me). I can see how this would be a popular option here. Café Intermezzo, Atlanta International Airport Concourse B, Atlanta, USA (with two other locations in Atlanta).