Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekend Cooking: Chocolate, chocolate and yet more chocolate

I have been on something of a chocolate odyssey lately. Yes, I know that this is in direct contrast to all my posts about healthy food and diabetes friendly food but what can I say? It's chocolate, and really good chocolate is hard to resist.

This particular quest started a few months ago when I snuck over to Adelaide for the weekend to see a friend. Over there at the moment there is something of a trend towards dessert style cafes where they have speciality hot chocolates, chocolatey desserts plus hand made individual chocolates. When I was there for that weekend, I was taken to one place in particular that I still think might be worth making the 9 hours drive just to get some of their hot chocolate! It was so good!

When I came back, it got me wondering where Melbourne's best chocolate shops might be, and so my odyssey began in earnest! First step was to find a list of the best chocolate shops and then start working my way through them. This was a sound strategy. My friend and I visited a couple of places in one day, and we will get back to the list in due course.

My gauge for how good a chocolate shop is is currently the hot chocolate. I want Belgian chocolate, I want creamy and smooth and I don't it to be powdery. It is surprising how many cafes (as opposed to speciality chocolate shops) serve up a hot chocolate that tastes as though it is powdered chocolate with a bit of hot water added.

And then there is the food, usually chocolate not always! Our first stop on the list was a very famous chocolate shop called Koko Black. I ordered a home made crumpet with choc hazelnut spread* and a hot chocolate which wasn't too bad. I have been a bit obsessed with home made crumpets since I had one at a cafe back in June and it was sooo good. Unfortunately though, there aren't that many places around that do them.

We may have been a bit ambitious in doing two chocolate places in one day but they are both in the same shopping centre, we did some shopping in between, we were there etc etc etc. And it turns out that this is my favourite so far. The hot chocolate at Cacao is so cool. You basically get a mug of frothy milk and a jug of the hot chocolate syrup and you mix it up yourself! I took the boy there a couple of weeks later and he wasn't really that keen but once he saw how it comes and tasted it, he was definitely converted!

Yesterday we went off list and went on a walking tour in the city that ostensibly focussed on chocolate! I say ostensibly because whilst there was chocolate in abundance we also got to sample cupcakes and macarons as well. My whole purpose of this rambly post was to share some of the photos from today.

Along the way we got to hear a little bit about the history of chocolate, cupcakes and macarons, as well as the locations where the shops were. All up we went to six different destinations. Some of them I had heard of but others were new to me. Given that we just got a taste there are good reasons to go back to some of them at least!!

*If I get round to it I will write a post about how crazy this city is for Nutella at the moment! Melbourne has gone nuts for the stuff!!

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  1. Ah, the FRENZY when Koko Black opened in Adelaide! I wish I could find the sort of hot chocolate one gets in winter in Italy - sitting on the bar in a big glass dispenser with a paddle going round and round: thick and *amazing*.

  2. Is there supposed to be something wrong with two chocolate shops in one day?? I call that something very right!

    Those cupcakes look awesome! Even though it's early in the morning here, I am already craving really good Belgium chocolate -- almost impossible to find where I live.