Lovecrumbs, just up from Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, is a cake lovers heaven. They’ve just started serving lunch but up until recently they only sold cakes, and more cakes and loads of cake. They also have a killer hot chocolate.
It’s so ridiculously smooth. It’s bitter, rich and satisfying thick. It’s in my top five hot chocolates for sure, and has been there since I moved to Edinburgh. A light layer of chocolate foam is generously covered in chocolate flakes which gives way to a consistent drink with no unmixed chocolatey bits at the bottom. I could drink a vat of this stuff. The cafe is perfect to take a book and spend an hour to two reading.
The Chocolate Tree in Bruntsfield is a mecca for those who are chocolate minded. Cakes, ice cream, bars, hot, cold, in shots. They’ve got it all. And they do it really bloody well.
The hot chocolate comes in around 12 different varieties and flavours, including different percentages of chocolate and hazelnut flavour. I picked out a traditional organic for £2.80 to drink in.
The chocolate to drink in comes in a bowl of a mug. It’s seriously one of the largest hot chocolates I’ve had ever. It was a bit watery compared to others in my top 10 and didn’t have the satisfying thickness that you want with a hot chocolate. That being said, the flavour was amazing. Dark and bitter, not sickly sweet. I had an insane chocolate ganache cake with it (don’t judge me!) and the hot chocolate actually cut through the sweetness of the cake so there wasn’t a sugar overload. It’s probably similar to how I imagine the King’s chocolate would taste.
It did seem to thicken up a bit more as I drank it, however this might have just been a trick of the mind. I’d 100% recommend and I’m just sad I’ll be moving from Edinburgh before I get to try more of the different options.
Chocolate was introduced to England in the 1650s. However, it wasn’t eaten in the solid form we’re used it. It was a drink. It wasn’t even the sweet Cadbury’s instant chocolate powder that most people take for drinking chocolate. It was a complex and time consuming process that required a lot of skill.
First cocoa beans were roasted and the brittle shell removed which revealed the internal nib. Chocolate nibs are not all bad but they certainly don’t have a delightful taste that chocolate does. More work was needed. The nibs were rolled with a heavy stone and heated, the friction of which turned them into a liquid paste which was set as a bar – known as a chocolate cake. The longer the nibs were rolled the better they tasted.
To make the drinking chocolate the cake was broken up and heated with either water, wine or other alcohol. Lots of different spices could be added to give extra flavour. Popular spices included cardamon and hot chili.
Quite different from the way we make hot chocolate today. If you want to try making your own historic drinking chocolate (it’s possible!) you can follow this recipe from Historic Royal Palaces. They have an amazing chocolate kitchen open to the public at Hampton Court Palace, where chocolate would have been prepared for George I.
Artisan Roast on Broughton Street has become one of my go to places for a pre-choir read and relax. At first it’s main appeal was that it was open till 7.30pm, rare to find an independant cafe that caters to an evening crowd. Second, it’s halfway down the road to choir. But most importantly, the hot chocolate is a complete winner.
The drink was smooth AF, the barista has obviously spent quite a bit of time mixing, putting it together and making sure all the chocolate was homogeous with the milk. The cafe was unusally quite when I arrived so he had time to concentrate on my drink and put a bit extra effort making it delightfully smooth.
I’d rank on the bitter end of the scale, not much extra sweetness or sugar added to it. Perfect, and just the way I like it with a strong chocolate taste. They had a couple of flavours but I went for the classic made with milk and plain chocolate shavings.
The little bit of foam on the top was dreamy and a lovely rich colour. It’s got to be one of my top 5 hot chocolates in Edinburgh.
The cafe itself is electric, mish mash of chairs and benches and super relaxed. £2.50 for a large bowl mug of chocolate, served with a smile, definitely worth it. I gotta get myself back before I leave Edinburgh for good.
Welcome to all you hot chocolate fiends.
I love coffee shops. I love people watching, reading, chatting and hanging out in the delightful atmosphere of the cafe. But, here’s the rub, I detest coffee. I’ve never liked the taste and avoid it as much as possible. So what does one do when there are so many great cafes to chill in but not the love of the expected beverage? Tea drinking? Sort of boring.
Hot, or drinking, chocolate was the go to drink in the 17th century. It was seen as a luxuary for Princes and Earls, and the most fashionable place to be seen was the Chocolate House. I love chocolate and having it hot and liquid is one of my favourite days to take the sweet stuff. Hence it being my go to drink. I’m here to show you that hot chocolate is more than just a sweet, kid friend drink. It’s a drink of kings and can be done as well or as badly as coffee.
Keep reading for reviews of hot chocolate around the world.