What is one thing in particular that I like about winter? Hot chocolate! This year I plan to test different cocoa beverages around the city. In February I investigated two places. The first was an Italian gelateria called Pozzetto located at 39 rue du Roi de Sicile near the St Paul metro station. It’s a cute, homey place; welcoming and warm. I sat at a little round table and the woman who works there brought me this:
This is what I had been missing all these years…this was the real deal: Italian cioccolata calda. Glossy, unctuous, not sweet and deeply joyous. I sat there savouring each mouthful while uttering murmurs of satisfaction and then I scraped the bottom of the cup with the spoon to get every last drop. I swear, if the woman hadn’t been looking I would’ve shamelessly licked the cup clean with my tongue.
“Splendido”, I said to the woman who was from Rome. “Grazie”, she replied.
I will return to that place. Not only for the chocolate, but because it’s a friendly, down to earth kind of place. Sometimes you get tired of pretentious places and prices. Back outside I discovered an adorable Portuguese pastry shop next door called Comme A Lisbonne. Tiny and immaculate, it serves only espresso and perfect, freshly-made custard tarts called pasteis de nata. I had one.
The second place I went to (not on the same day!) is at the top end of the Marais. Called Jacques Genin, chocolatier, it can be found at number 133 rue de Turenne. The hot chocolate came to me on a tray in a white porcelain pitcher. Accompanying the pitcher was a large, white porcelain cup and saucer, glass of water and sugar bowl. I’d say this was hot chocolate for grown-ups. The space itself, like the hot chocolate, is minimalistic. I wouldn’t bring kids here. And a good thing, too, because when I filled the cup only halfway and then drank, I immediately burned my tongue and the inside of my mouth. It was scalding hot. It lacked the unctuosity that I like, but was not overly sweet which is a good thing. If you desire a sweeter taste, just plop in a sugar cube or two. I paid 7 euros for the burnt tongue.