the joys of winter. hot chocolate.

What is one thing in particular I like about winter? Hot chocolate! I recently investigated two places in the Marais district. The first is 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:

Feb 2013 photo exhibit and Marais 081Feb 2013 photo exhibit and Marais 084

Now this was the real deal: Italian cioccolata calda, and as I sipped I was instantly transported to Florence on a cold and sunny winter’s day where I had gone over Christmas many years before. Glossy, unctuous, not sweet and deeply joyous. I savored every mouthful while uttering murmurs of satisfaction. Then I scraped the bottom of the cup with the spoon to get every last drop. I swear, if the woman wasn’t looking I would’ve shamelessly licked the cup clean with my tongue.

“Splendido!”, I said to the woman who had told me she 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. Back outside, I discovered an adorable Portuguese pastry shop right 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, and as I nibbled I was instantly transported to a Lisbon sidewalk where I had stood eating the same kind of custard tart one warm, sunny day in June 2018.

Feb 2013 photo exhibit and Marais 092Feb 2013 photo exhibit and Marais 091

The second place I went to (not on the same day!) is at the top end of the Marais. Jacques Genin 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, a glass of water and a sugar bowl. This is 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 drank, I 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, plop in a sugar cube or two. I paid 7 euros for the burnt tongue.

This photo isn’t mine and uncredited.

There’s a newer, second Pozzetto! Here’s a post I wrote several years ago entitled “the Marais, hot chocolate, a new shoe store and two wine bar bistros” –

the Marais, hot chocolate, a new shoe store, and two wine bar bistros

9 thoughts on “the joys of winter. hot chocolate.

    • Don – that was a highly interesting and informative post you wrote on the Jewish Marais walking tour (great photos too.) I passed it on to a friend who lives in Chicago and comes to Paris frequently. I’m tempted to take the tour myself. Thanks for sharing!

  1. Juliet, so glad you found this place. We love this neighborhood, but somehow have missed these two hot chocolate spots. I am so tired of the endless praise for Angelina. It has become trite, tired, over priced…it is about time for some new direction in the hunt for real hot chocolate.

    • Oh, Angelina. Far too crowded (long lines to get in), not to mention exorbitantly expensive. Japanese tourists love this place. There are many more small hot chocolate spots dotted around Paris … I’ll try to find some more!

  2. I still remember having this with you at Eataly in NYC. Delicious!! I had it again at Eataly in Florence and toasted you! I’ve also had it at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I think I’m overdue for another!!

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      • To steal a line from Casablanca, of all the gin joints in all the world, why would anyone in Paris choose Eataly? Sorry to intrude, but this is just a cookie cutter restaurant, admittedly with a decent grocery and wine selection…But, for Italian food in Paris, I would look elsewhere

      • A perfectly valid question, Sherman. Here’s my answer: I love Eataly! A gourmet food emporium on two levels, the grocery section is superb: ten different types of parmesan, not to mention 30 different types of pasta, pesto, sauces and dozens of other yummy food items, all high quality. The pizza is terrific as is their hazelnut chocolate. And at Eastertime, huge chocolate easter eggs!
        For me, Eataly is a “feel good” place, perfectly located not far from a metro station. I guess it’s all about choice and quality. They also sell divine Italian soaps and bath products. (Gosh, you’d think I was paid by Eataly to say all this.)
        Strangely enough, I’ve never found a really good Italian restaurant in Paris.

      • There used to be on on Rue Madame that we enjoyed each time we were in Paris. After I got to know the owner a little bit, I asked him if he were Italian or French. His response…: Sir, I am a Sicilian…
        As for Eataly, I guess I was a bit abrupt about my response…but, as I said I do like their grocery and similar sections.

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