A trip to Melbourne is always busy…beyond busy…crazy. My list of things to do grows and grows as the trip creeps closer and closer. That list is primarily made up of…yes you guessed it…new hot chocolates to try. The thing is, and the city confirms this every year I visit, Melbourne is the world capital for hot chocolates…not Paris, not Mexico City, not NYC, but Melbourne. You are spoiled for choice in this city that doesn’t view hot chocolates as another drink you can make with the chocolate syrup left over from making mochas. Hot chocolate is front and centre as it should be. Thank you again Melbourne.
The first place I visited on my most recent trip to Melbourne was Xocolatl. I had heard about them months earlier, and send my parents in law over to test it out first. They came back with rave reviews and a bag full of chocolate. So it’s no surprise that once I was finally able to visit myself, I fell in love! Xocolatl is a gorgeous little shop. It feels like it is a family business, and it is. Papa Xocolatl and his daughter (chocola)Tina are the chocolate creators. Another daughter, Maddy runs a lot of the show and mum Jenny is everywhere. We visited three times in one week and twice were served by mama Xocolatl herself. We felt like we had been invited into her cozy warm house, served a beautiful drink and filled up with chocolate, all before 10am.
My first challenge was that there’s not one, but several hot chocolates to choose from. Not surprisingly, we pretty much tried all of them. They are all made from Fairtrade Belgian dark couverture chocolate. The orange hot chocolate is made using fresh oranges that they zest and juice themselves. If you haven’t tried an orange hot chocolate I highly recommend it. Their chili hot chocolate has the perfect amount of kick. But I became a bit obsessed with their hazelnut hot chocolate as well as their peppermint hot chocolate which is infused with real peppermint. They also have a rose and spice hot chocolate infused with rose and clove. This is something I have never seen before, has a very subtle taste, and is unique and quite relaxing. If you aren’t feeling adventurous, then you definitely won’t be disappointed by their Spanish hot chocolate, their ‘regular’ with a pinch of cinnamon and vanilla.
When I order a hot chocolate, I can usually resist buying chocolate. But at Xocolatl they are strategically positioned right under your nose and are very, very difficult to ignore. Each time we visited we ordered a selection. These were carefully laid out on a small wooden cutting board along with a pretty serious looking knife so that we could cut them up to each have a taste. The Sachertorte was one of our favourites. Each was more beautiful than the last and they experiment with some great flavour combinations. We also left with a few boxes of their single origin chocolate (again, something I can usually resist doing). Their packaging is beautiful…and of course the chocolate inside didn’t last long either!
Verdict: Any day is a good day to visit Xocolatl. Their new store in Hawskburn Village also serves single origin hot chocolates.…Xocolatl, 11 Strathalbyn Street, Kew East, Melbourne, Australia (other locations also in Canterbury and Toorak)