For years I have walked past Hotel Chocolat stores and not thought twice. But today was different. Hotel Chocolate has opened a chocolate café, or aptly named refuel station, and right in central Cambridge. So on my latest trip to beautiful Cambridge I started here.
What makes Hotel Chocolate unique is that they actually grow their own cacao on a plantation in Saint Lucia. The cocoa goes on to be part of their incredibly vast selection of chocolates. They have dozens of stores across the UK, but from what I could tell, only this one has a café.
You order your drink at the front of the store. There are six choices for hot chocolate (the menu states no syrup, no powder, just chocolat). There is a classic, a milky, 100% chocolat and then a few with flavours, a salted caramel, a hazelnut hot chocolate and a chili hot chocolate. You have the choice of adding a layer of thick chocolate cream to the top of your drink. I asked the woman at the front if it was worth it – her answer, “you need to do it at least once!” So I did. I ordered the 70% classic chocolate with a whole lot of cream and went to find a seat.
At the back of the store, away from the hustle and bustle of the mall there is a quiet seating area. I had it all to myself today. I chose the seat right under the most fantastic neon sign that says more cocoa, less sugar, basically my moto in life. I really enjoyed my hot chocolate. It was well balanced and hit the spot. As promised, the cream was over the top, a sinful treat really.
The store sells everything you can imagine made out of chocolate. If Hotel Chocolate actually opened a hotel, I would definitely stay there (they do but it is in the Caribbean which unfortunately is a little too far away!)
Verdict: I enjoyed my hot chocolate…although next time I will order it sans cream. But she was right, it is worth trying at least once, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Hotel Chocolate, the Lion Yard, Cambridge, United Kingdom