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:
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.
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.
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” –