Monday, March 12, 2007

Hot Chocolate Lounges

Something amazing that happens when you drink really good hot chocolate. It's like you're mainlining happiness. Maybe because it's creamy, warm and already melted, that mellowing euphoria hits you hard, harder even than when nibbling on a chocolate bar.

Needless to say, I was really thrilled to write about the hot chocolate lounge phenomenon for Epicurious in their Daily Dish section. If you think a chocolate lounge sounds like a piece of furniture, think again. Chocolate lounges or cafes are places where you can linger over any number of deluxe chocolate beverages and experience the euphoria for yourself.

Here in San Francisco we have quite a few places to choose from such as the newly opened Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe on Chestnut Street, Bittersweet Cafe on Fillmore or my personal favorite, CocoaBella on Union Street. CocoaBella serves eight different flavors of European style hot chocolate each of which is rich and thick and made with melted chocolate, not just cocoa powder.

Coincidentally last week Christopher Elbow stopped by to make some incredible hot chocolate using his hot chocolate mix as a base but blending it with ingredients like coconut milk, spices, passion fruit juice, and a mixture of citrus juices including tangerine, grapefruit and orange. I know what you're thinking, hot chocolate and orange juice? Won't it curdle and taste weird? Well, no! It tasted great. In fact I think I could drink it everyday for breakfast. When you think about it, anything that works in a chocolate confection ought to work in a hot chocolate flavor too. This is one trend I can get behind.

Over at Epicurious is my take on Chocolate Lounges I hope you'll check it out!