Parisian hot chocolates to die for
Chocolat spécial Flore - €7
According to some regulars, Café de Flore serves the best hot chocolate in Paris. These days there are more tourists than celebrities at this traditional literary café, but few places are as fun to watch the interaction between waiters and customers. The kitchen doesn’t mess around with their classic hot chocolate recipe: it’s an intensely-flavoured jug of thick, warming cocoa - no fancy twists, no extra cream...and yet still top of the class.
Chocolat Chaud "Africain" - €8.20
Angelina is home to Paris's most lip-smackingly scrumptious desserts - all served in the faded grandeur of a belle époque salon just steps from the Louvre. The hot chocolate is pure decadence; try the speciality 'African', a velvety potion so thick that you need a spoon to consume it. Epicurean delights include the Mont Blanc dessert, a ball of meringue covered in whipped cream and sweet chestnut.
'Chocolat Chaud' - €7
Jacques Genin has been providing major hotels and restaurants with chocolate and confectionery since well before opening this bright and modern shop/tea room with a laboratory upstairs. In winter, it attracts crowds with its exquisite hot chocolate, made simply by melting Araguani de Valrhona chocolate in whole milk, accompanied by a bowl of vanilla-infused whipped cream (you can even see the vanilla pod!) plus a small plate of ganaches. A truly luxurious affair.
'Chocolat chaud' - €4.30
A master of novel combinations, this young chocolatier spices things up at the 'chocolate bar' on the first floor of his flagship store. If you can't quite bring yourself to try the hot chocolate with oysters, iodized foam and strange jelly balls, try the energizing banana and chilli version or the subtle carrot hot chocolate. Hévin also offers more traditional hot chocolates, and three raw cocoa drinks.
'Chocolate affogato' - €7.50
This famed ice cream parlour is easily recognisable by the queue that forms year-round outside its doors – except at the height of summer, when the shop is closed of course. In winter, Berthillon doesn’t offer old-fashioned hot chocolate, but an even classier treat: chocolate affogato. At the bottom of a white cup is a dollop of vanilla ice cream, decorated with melted chocolate, frothy milk and hazelnut-flavoured whipped cream...heaven in a mug.
'Chocolat chaud' - €7.30
Decadence permeates this elegant tearoom, from the 19th century-style interior and service to the labyrinthine corridors leading to the toilets. While you bask in the warm glow of bygone wealth, indulge in tea, pastries (the pistachio pain au chocolat is heavenly) and, above all, the hot chocolate. It's a rich, bitter, velvety tar that will leave you in a requisite stupor for any lazy afternoon.
'Chocolat chaud' - €4.50
Created by a Japanese patissier trained at Dalloyau in Tokyo, this small tea room is reminiscent of a French grandmother’s kitchen with its chequered tablecloths, enamelled cast iron stove and resolutely simple, traditional cakes placed on the counter top. Their pure, old-fashioned hot chocolate is served in a large earthenware bowl, and you can help yourself to whipped cream.
'Chocolat Chaud' - €8
Opened by Pierre Cluiwzel, this concept store dedicated to chocolate quickly won over the chocophiles who used to queue at Patrick Roger and Jean-Charles Rochoux. In the tearoom, which turns into a restaurant for lunch and dinner, you can stop by between 3pm and 6pm to warm up with a luxury hot chocolate enriched with a little cream and lightly flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon. To complete the experience, they bring you a plate of three Lilliputian cakes – true masterpieces.
'Hot Chocolate' - €6
Tucked down a quiet street to the north of the Marais, the Fragments café offers a simple and accessible coffee menu, spanning espressos, cappuccinos and iced lattes, each served with either a single or double shot. The hot chocolate, though, is undoubtedly their dark horse. In contrast to the thick, molten concoctions of Jacques Genin or Angelina, this is a lighter cocoa drink - as close as you'll get to a cocoa cloud. A positively dreamy experience, which we recommend pairing with one of their moreish cakes.
'Chocolat chaud' - €4.50
Although this no-frills café does a good value lunch, the pièce de résistance is their chocolat chaud. Go for the grand (€4.50) and don't refuse the cream - it's thick, freshly whipped and impossible to eat without a spoon. Once you've made it through that, the chocolate is bitter, unctuous and barely sweetened (expect to be asked if you need sugar). And since you've managed to nab a table, it would seem rude not to order a slice of sachertorte or apple strudel to go with it.