Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Best Hot Cocoa in Paris

Where is the best hot chocolate in Paris ? Probably closer to chez toi than you think. Rich, creamy, thick, tasty and delightful....what could that be? That is how the hot cocoa at these places tastes!

If you’re anything like me then you start jonesin’ good when too much time goes by without some form of chocolate fix. For me it’s a never ending desire for good hot chocolate; particularly when the Paris winter is upon us.

I’ve been to places that served something they called hot chocolate, but it tasted more like a diluted cup of cold milk with some Nesquick in it. Ack. Then at other places you get this fancy little silver tray, with your steamed milk on the side of your cup of hot thick gooey chocolate syrup. You mix the milk and chocolate to your own personal preferred chocoa-milk ratio and eat the little speculoos (hard gingerbread) cookie that came with it, and suddenly heaven descends upon you.

So where to find the good and ditch the bad? I have my own little growing list...but I was pleased to learn about an article in Le Figero by a host of authors (Colette MONSAT, Dominique COUVREUR, Gilles DUPUIS, Emmanuel RUBIN, François SIMON, Sylvain VERUT) on the best hot coco in Paris. I actually stumbled upon a reference to this article by a food critic I like called Madam Pimm, who often writes about her eating adventures in Paris. I will put the links to both these other articles below, and if your French is quite good you might just go to the Figero source yourself!

I’ll add in my own preferences at time goes on too...so be sure to check back and see what new places have been added!

There are several locations. The two I would go to most often were on Rue de Rivolee across from the Tuileries Gardens, or in the Versailles Chateau. You get a thick chocolate syrup and add milk to your taste (see photo to right). They also have amazing deserts!

Jean-Paul Hévin
Near the Jardin des Tuileries et la Concorde one will find a vast display of chocolate creations. The hot chocolate isn’t cheap at 6.30 euros per cup, but raved as an original in the old style of thick and tasty goodness.
231, rue Saint-Honoré, 1st arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday except Sundays. Tea salon is open from the afternoon to 19 h (7pm) http://www.jphevin.com

Deemed as one of the most famous tea-houses in Paris the hot chocolate is made to high standards. The restaurant can be a bit expensive, and it’s recommended to arrive for your hot cocoa after the hour of 15.30 (3:30pm) when the hectic food-serving time comes to an end. You can order “Le Basique” (the basic, 6 euros) which is your standard chocolate and steamed milk. Or, for the coco-gormandize among us you can order the “Viennois” (6.50 euros), which is hot cocoa with Chantilly cream.
75, avenue des Champs-Elysées, 8th arrondissement. Tel. : Open every day until Midnight.

This “mom’s” tea-house in Faubourg Saint-Honoré has a delightful clear ambiance. Order the hot chocolate called “Chocolat à l’ancienne” (5.80 euros) and you won’t be displeased. It comes in its own white porcelain pot with a little square of chocolate on the side.
99-101, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 8th arrondissement. Tel. :

Café Lenôtre
This is a multifunctional place that operates as a small art boutique, a cooking school and a restaurant. It’s very brightly colored in orange and violet and they serve a hot chocolate that is 55% cocoa, enriched with milk and whipping cream. It’s rich indeed! Order the mini-macaroons on the side. Best to go after 15.30 h (3.30pm) when the restaurant crowds leave and there is more room for the coco goers.
Pavillon Elysée : 10, avenue des Champs-Elysées, 8th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday from 12 noon to 23 h (11pm), and Sundays from 12 noon to 19 h (7pm).

La Maison du Chocolat
The name says it all : The house of chocolate. A trio of places to get some tasty hot chocolate. The classic is called “Guayaquil”, and one with Rum is called “Bacchus”, and the last is called “destiné aux amateurs de chocolat noir”. Open everyday except Sunday, from 10h to 19h (5pm).
52, rue François-Ier. Tél. :
8, bd de la Madeleine, 9th arrondissement. Tél. :
89, av. Raymond-Poincaré, 16th Arrondissement. Tel. :

Christian Constant
Among the many wonderful chocolate delights here you must try “Le Guanaja” that is dense, creamy with a wonderful odor and taste. There are many choices besides this to please all.
37, rue d’Assas, 6th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday. The Tea Salon is open from 11 :30 to 19h (5pm).

L’Heure gourmande
Order the “Viennoise” which is enriched with Chantilly creme, or the classic called “à l’ancienne” (6 euros), or order one of their fantastic teas and don’t miss out on the pastries and other tasty items all made in-house.
22, passage Dauphine, 6th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday from noon to 19h (5pm).

Les Cakes de Bertrand
This small place in the shadow of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette is full of little chairs and mirrors and carries an theater ambiance. Your hot cocoa comes in a porcelain jar with a long spoon to stir, and is made of 70% chocolate! (5 euros) Be sure to try their famous in-house made cakes too.
7, rue Bourdaloue, 9th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday until 19.30h (5 :30pm), and until 18h (6pm) on Sundays.

L’Artisan des saveurs
The name « Flavor Artist » isn’t without warrant when you taste the teas, jams/jellies and other treats here. Decorated in an ochre-yellow and rouge this place feels warm even before you taste your hot coco. There are 4 varieties of hot chocolate to choose from, “Cabosse” which is made with pure cacoa, the “Havane” which has rum in it, the “Souvenir du Navigateur” which has a zest of orange to it, and the “D’Autrefoir” which comes with creme. This place is also completely non-smoking...a rarity in Paris (until this coming January 2008...).
72, rue du Cherche-Midi, 6th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday except Wednesdays from 15h (3pm)-18.30h (6:30pm).

Au Pain quotidien
This is a really fun little place where one can get a great brunch and tartines (toasted bread with delicious items on top) as well as excellent hot chocolate. It’s usually decorated in a very rustic-log-cabin kind of style, and one feels right at home at the large tables and warm atmosphere. The best is the basket of bread they bring you with a tray of different jams, jellies, spreads, and other tasty items to spread on rustic wholesome breads of many kinds. It can get a bit crowded on the weekends for those reasons. The hot chocolate is thick and creamy and very worth any wait in line it took to get a table.
18, Rue des Archives. 4th arrondissement Tel :01 44 54 03 07
Open everyday from 8.30 h to 19 h (7pm)

Master of the artisan breads also has a Tea-house near Odéon which has a modern appeal. The classic hot chocolate is thick and creamy, and you can have it with pastry to make the experience complete. If you’re looking for more than be sure to check out the Sunday brunch.
10, rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie, 6th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday except Sunday, from 7h to 21.30h (9 :30pm).

Aux deux Magots
While a very well known and even overly-touristy place this very traditional Paris bistro has a classic hot chocolate that is very well done. Here is possible to have brunch, lunch, dinner, and many a wonderful dessert.
6, place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissment. Tel. : Open everyday from 7.30 h to 1.30h ( 1 in the morning !)

Rose Thé
A very charming little tea-house near Bastille has a classic hot chocolate well worth checking out.
104, avenue Ledru-Rollin, 11th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday except Sundays.

Cacao et Chocolat
While this is a chain store in Paris found in the most touristy parts of Paris they manage to have some of the best chocolate delights I’ve found anywhere. Chocolate bars, truffles, and other treats are just a few of the things you can purchase along with your hot chocolate. (3.60 euros) Open everyday from 11h to 19.30h (7:30pm).
29, rue de Buci, 6th arrondissement. Tel. :
63, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile, 9th arrondissement. Tel. :
36, rue Vieille-du-Temple, 9th arrondissement. Tel. : Tlj. de 11 h à 19 h 30.

Salle à Manger

This used to be the old location of Au Pain Quotidien, who then moved over to rue des Archives. So, needless to say this place still has the same style and ambience that the Au Pain Quotidien has, and as good hot chocolate. Get your brunch, lunch or tartines in the open air plaza next to fruit stands and accordion players on the wonderfully ‘Paris’ rue Mouffetard.
136, rue Mouffetard, 5th arrondissement. Tel. : Open everyday from 8.30h to 19 h (7pm). Tlj de 8 h 30 à 19 h.

For original article in French:  Le Figero
For other original article: Chez Pim

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