I have been to the Adelaide Hills many times and each time love it more than the last. It is the first place that I saw Koalas in the wild. But it is also covered in grape vines and beautiful vineyards with restaurants where you can sit, enjoy the wine, the views and just relax. There are many towns worth visiting in the Hills just a 20 minute drive from Adelaide, including Mount Baker, Hanhdorf, and our destination today, Stirling.
Red Cacao alone is reason enough to visit the Adelaide Hills. Tucked in behind a row of shops, it has a little green terrace as well as a good sized seating area inside. If cafes could get hats (the Aussie version of Michelin stars), Red Cacao would probably be on the list. Firstly, the service is fantastic, quality restaurant type service that you wouldn’t expect at a café, but still very relaxed and welcoming. Next, once you have ordered one (or more likely many) of their irresistible options, everyone at the table was presented with a little amuse bouche, a small spoon filled with a bite-sized amount of gooey brownie. Their hot chocolate was presented so beautifully. They served it in a perfect white mug and sat that on a small wooden board branded with the name of the Café and include a little block of sugar.
They have several hot chocolate options available, which also change based on the seasons. Some of their basics include a milk, dark or white chocolate. There is a Vienna hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream. The Aztec is a dark chocolate with a pinch of chili and cinnamon, or an orange hot chocolate. If you are adventurous try the 100% cacao. Half the table ordered the salted caramel hot chocolate (addictive). I ordered their single origin Peru 64.5% which was beautiful. Red Cacao specializes in single origin chocolate, and has a regularly changing menu of options for their visitors.
We visited on a Wednesday morning but apparently the time to come is Friday night…if you can get a table. On Fridays the master of chocolate Marcus Booth-Remmers, who trained extensively across Australia and Europe before opening Red Cacao, sets up a pretty decadent and inventive dessert bar which you can enjoy by candle light. Sounds like a pretty good first (or any) date to me!
Verdict: The folks in Stirling are luckier than they realize. Red Cacao is a world-class hot chocolate destination in my view. I will be back as soon as I can! Red Cacao, Stirling, Adelaide Hills, Australia