Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Drink of the month: hot chocolate

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Hot chocolate at CubitaI promised that this month's drink would be different, and it is: shockingly, it's not even alcoholic! With winter's belated arrival comes the desire to wrap one's hands around something hot and comforting, and in this case I'm referring to hot chocolate.

The familiar style of hot chocolate in the capital is made with hot frothy milk and chocolate powder, often Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate, served in a large bowl with marshmallows and topped with yet more chocolate powder. There's nothing wrong with that, but it can be a bit watery and unsatisfying if it's not strong enough, and it's a world away from "real" hot chocolate. Real hot chocolate, as opposed to hot cocoa, is made from actual chocolate rather than powder, and has a texture more akin to molten chocolate sauce than to the milky American style that's become common here.

Chocolate stirrer at ScopaBut things are changing. Branches of Mojo keep vats of the stuff stirring away, kept hot and ready for their wickedly strong "chocolate shots". Scopa does the same, and Floriditas supplies shots of "dipping chocolate" to go with their churros: not quite as gooey as I remember from Spanish cafés overseas, but delicious nonetheless.

Wellington now has several specialist chocolate café: Butlers, Dorothy Patisserie and Schoc. I'm not that keen on Butlers' identikit décor, but I've heard people rave about their white hot chocolate, so it should be worth a go. Dorothy's has been a Cuba St institution for generations, and it added a new dimension when it started opening late at weekends. But it's Schoc that is the true home of chocolate in Wellington, and it is justifiably famous for its fiery chilli-enhanced version. Simply Paris do something similar, though it's creamy rather than dark and viscous, and they also offer "Mocha Zesty" with orange and spice.

June is thus shaping up to be an enjoyable (though fattening) month for me. Is there anywhere else that does a particularly excellent or unusual version that I should be aware of?


At 6:34 pm, June 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recipe indeed.Well Gourmet Chocolate holds delicious chocolates online too.

At 6:42 pm, June 04, 2007, Blogger styler said...

finally tom picks a drinks i know more about than him - i note this will be the first and last time it ever happens

may i suggest Kaffe Eis, they do something a little special with hot chocolate. The Choclate Frog in mirimar started the HC renaissance in wellington, by mixing Dark Belgian Chocolate with Warm frothy milk. Sadly they now only use whittakers sante bar choclate.

For those wanting to try the scopa style Hot Chocolate here's a recipe.

Castillian Hot Chocolate
Serves Six

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Powdered Cocoa
1 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 qt milk (or whole milk if you really want it rich)

1) Rub (I just mix :P) cocoa and sugar together. Dissolve cornstarch in water, and combine in a medium sized saucepan with cocoa and sugar. Stir until it is a smooth paste.

2) Begin heating mixture stirring it with a whisk, gradually pour in milk. Continue stirring as you bring the liquid to a simmer.

3) Simmer Chocolate, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until it is thick, glossy and completely smooth. Serve steaming hot.

At 7:45 pm, June 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aro Deli.. Unbelievably delicious.. Like drinking liquid heaven..

At 8:00 pm, June 04, 2007, Blogger Nikolai H said...

Yup, Deliaro do by far the best Mocha in Wellington, run a close second by Olive.

On a slightly tangential note, I had the best chocolate cake of recent memory at Ernesto last Friday too....

At 8:23 pm, June 04, 2007, Blogger R Singers said...

If you're willing to leave the safe confines of the CBD, I was told today when I was at La Bella Italia, that they do a divine hot chocolate the size of a short black.

Certainly the food there is beautiful.

At 10:32 pm, June 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kaffe Eis will do a chocshot on your choice of gelato.

At 8:54 am, June 05, 2007, Blogger Seamonkey Madness said...

Pravda do hot chocolate with shavings(?) in the bottom. Very good most of the time.

And yes, I long HCs of the Spanish variety. I had only one in Oviedo, but it was enough to convert me straight away.

At 12:49 pm, June 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say Fuel are the best chain option. As a devotee of a quality hot choc, I too often find that my $3.50 has been spent on something that is either not hot or not particularly chocolatey, or both.

At 12:10 am, June 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most recent time I visited Schoc it was the home paddock of the surliest 18-22 year old serving cows I have ever met who only stopped ruminating long enough to serve us when we looked like we'd been there so long we might serve ourselves... and then they came outside where we were sitting and smoked all over us. More importantly, the hot chocolate was lukewarm and not particularly chocolatey - more like just warm sweet milk... blerch.

In terms of good service and consistency, Fuel, Kaffe Eis, Butlers, Deliaro and Mojo run rings around Schoc.

But that's just my opinion based on a particularly terrible visit.

At 4:10 pm, June 07, 2007, Blogger Joanna said...

Olive makes theirs with ganache. Mmmmmm.

At 3:19 pm, June 08, 2007, Blogger styler said...

julian clearly you do not go to schoc during the day
ed who manages the cafe part is the loveliest guy in the world.

At 10:40 am, January 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think tea is the best ever! Look at this tea information and make yourself sure:)


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