Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Favourite Hot Chocolate Story

On Saturday night, in between Thai food and Antony and the Johnsons, my sister and I were in the mood for hot chocolate, and gleefully fitted in a chocolate con churros at Miro's before the concert. Kath told me her favourite hot chocolate story, and here is mine:

In Paris, July 2003. I took myself to Cafe de Flore. Just had to experience it, and I got the last outdoor seat tucked away in the corner. It was a hot day but I had to try the hot chocolate. It was brought out on a tray as hot milk and chocolate, to make yourself depending on preferred strength. And iced water, to take the richness away (or scull, as I did because of the heat). It was rich and gorgeous and I savoured every sip. I sat there people watching, the handsome middle-aged man in front of me, impeccably dressed; the writers; the very few tourists (which pleased me, despite me being a tourist, but I'm a francofille, and that's different, as francofiles can justify). I was having such a good time I decided to stay when there was no more chocolate to lick up, and ordered a kir. I don't know why, but I thought I'd be in and out with the chocolat chaud, when I should have known I'd stay - it's one of my simple pleasures, to people watch, and St Germain des Pres is perfect for that. So I went backwards in the order of drinking and enjoyed a cool kir. As soon as the tables cleared, they were refilled, and at this point a woman sat down at the table next to me. She was late-30s, and was waiting. Then a man showed up, and I realised it was a first date. They were American expats, and the man was ugly geeky and worked in IT or finance, she was not very attractive and in a similar line of work, but seemed smarter. Not that you knew it, he talked constantly about himself, his work, his life, all unexciting, and she sat there like the good woman, listening, nodding, laughing at his unfunny stories, letting him dominate. I eavesdropped the whole conversation, amazed how he wouldn't ask her questions, wouldn't think to stop and even out the conversation, get to know the person he was meeting for the first time. He ordered a hot chocolate, and talked about his sweet tooth to the point of sounding effeminate, and Angelina's was mentionned as the best chocolatier in the city, and I wish I'd had time to go there too. I think I ordered an espresso, to perk me up from the hot afternoon lull. It was expensive and a delicious way to spend the afternoon.

Outside the Cafe de Flore, St Germain des Pres, July 1952, Robert Capa

What is your favourite hot chocolate story? I'd love to read yours, regular and not-so-regular readers. I won't tag you, but why don't you post the story on your blog?


Blogger chimera said...

You must try the hot chocolate at Angelina's next time you are in Paris. It is called "l'Africain" and it extraordinarily rich, and served with a little bowl of whipped cream to be added if you wish.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Sharp Lily said...

I loved reading that story, it makes me miss Paris so much! The best cup of Chocolat Chaud I had was, of course, in Paris. I remember my American taste buds were shocked and delighted. Why oh why don't they make them like that here?

4:35 AM  
Anonymous suzy said...

My favourite ever hot chocolate was at a place near Plaza del Sol in Madrid... so thick and sweet it was almost mousse, and perfect on a cold December day. We drank it standing up at the zinc bar with old Spanish ladies in fur coats having their early morning glass of beer.

8:47 PM  
Blogger katie said...

my best cup of chocolat chaud was also at cafe de flore. so rich and delicious!!! i dream of going back and getting another pot!

9:14 AM  

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