Review: Este, Bristol

Look how PRETTY.

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I got trapped by the rain in Este, on the way home from a walk. It was a delightful place to get trapped, filled with lovely artwork and super cheery staff. We ended up having supremely healthy veggie bowls, filled with delicious green things but of course, I also had to try the hot chocolate.

It came looking like a masterpiece, with a lovely little biscuit and marshmallows on the side. The game was that I whisked the chocolate into the frothy milk and then poured it into the cup.

Sadly, this way of serving hot chocolate never works. The milk needs to be boiling hot to get the chocolate to melt so whenever it’s served like this I end up with a milky, frothy mess with little bits of floating chocolate. The idea and intension of this way of serving hot chocolate is wonderful and fun but it doesn’t produce the best results and I always end up disappointed.

Go for the veggie bowls and churros, maybe skip the hot chocolate and pick one of their many teas instead.

Review: Harts Bakery, Bristol

This was an ultimate indulgence breakfast treat after all the trains out of Bristol were cancelled and our Saturday plans were ruined (dramatic much?). We were trying to get out to the Wiltshire countryside to meet my sister and nephews but there was some terrible signal failure, so we headed down below the station arches to Hart’s Bakery to cheer ourselves up with mega cheese toasties and hot chocolate.

I’ve never managed to try one of their cheese toasties before, they’ve always been sold out so even though it was only 10am I grabbed one. It was like heaven (the cheese! the bread!) and the semi-dark and beautifully smooth hot chocolate was the perfect accompaniment.

Hart’s is the kind of bakery/cafe we all dream of owning – perfect break and cakes that scream ‘EAT ME’. Their hot chocolate is make from a paste, to which hot milk is added. I always think this is more successful that powered hot chocolate which is never super smooth and often retains a powdery taste. I also love a place that tastes as much care and effort over it’s hot chocolate as it does over it’s coffee. Brava!

(make sure you grab some sourdough when you’re there…and maybe a peanut butter cookie…)

Review: St George Park Kiosk, Bristol

Oh man, this was a hot chocolate surprise. My mum was staying and she is always desperate for coffee. Within about two minutes of being in the park she’d walked off to the kiosk for a coffee and brought me back a fantastic hot chocolate.

She got chatting to the woman in there and found out that the hot chocolate is made with chocolate buttons, melted into hot water, then finished with boiled milk. The result is absolutely killer. It was a bit sweeter than my usual taste but so thick and delicious that I didn’t mind that much. It is a perfect accompaniment to a walk around the park on a winter day (or when you’ve got to stand in the playground waiting for your nephew to finish playing on the slide). I can’t really describe how wonderfully thick it was so you’re going to have to go and try one yourself. Take your sweet tooth.

Review: The Crafty Fox, Bristol

Tonight was celebration hot chocolate time. I passed my PRINCE2 project management foundation course #bossbitch so treated myself to a tasty drink on the way home. It’s also freeeezing in Bristol at the moment and my hour long walk requires something warm to keep me going.

I popped into The Crafty Fox in the Arcade in the middle of Bristol to get a dark hot chocolate (they also have milk, plain and white but by now, you know dark chocolate is the only way to go…)

Have to be honest, the service wasn’t great – I think the barista was having a terrible day because she was not happy to see me or to make my hot chocolate. But, despite the frosty welcome, the hot chocolate was delicious warming heaven. It was just on the right side of bitter, really sharp and strong. But creamy and thick at the same time. It’s a proper chocolate hit that lasts for hours. This has to be in my top 10 hot chocolates so far. I also LOVED the christmassy cup, it made me feel super seasonal. I’m ready for starting christmas proper tomorrow!

Dark hot chocolate at the Crafty Fox to takeaway was £2.85

Review: Alex does Coffee, Bristol

I walk past this place every day on the way to work and it always looked so inviting but I usually draw the line at hot chocolate before 9am (except in France, obviously…). But on Friday I was having a good day, it was sunny for the first time in about two weeks, my SAD was lifting, my PMS was banished and I was feeling a sunny winter Friday high.

Despite never having been in they greeted me like an old friend, and eventually it came out that they thought I can in all the time – clearly I’ve got a Bristolian doppelgänger. If you’re out there reading, get in touch.

Anyway, down to the chocolate. I got the dark hot chocolate, they had a white one but that’s not really my taste. It was one of the prettiest takeaway hot chocolates I’ve never had, with a lovely swirly heart, but I’m an idiot blogging novice and forgot to take a picture. I was a bit disappointed when I took my first sip – they has specially called it dark but it wasn’t as bitter as I’d been hoping. It was fine, a decent hot chocolate but it was sweeter than I like and not very thick –  a lack of umciousness (I think I’ve just made this word up but it works so well to describe a hot chocolate’s necessary thickness).

I’ll be back  for another I’m sure, they were so super nice in there but I wouldn’t go out of my way (and I’ve walked 5 miles for a hot chocolate before) to get another one.

 

 

Review: Mokoko, Bristol

I got ridiculously excited after the first sip of this hot chocolate because it was the first one in I’d had in Bristol that wasn’t too sweet and sugary. It’s had a great chocolate bitterness to it.

After drinking the entire (generous) mugful I’d probably pitch it about midway in my rankings. It was nothing special and had a bit too much milk foam which unfortunately made it a bit too milky but got a good chocolately taste which gets thumbs up. If you’re exploring M Shed, I’d reccomend walking round to the very stylish Mokoko for a hot chocolate and a cake.

 

 

Review: Bakesmiths, Bristol

Oh Bakesmiths, so much potential, so much disappointment.

I got a small mug with a tonne of milk foam on the top so the first taste was just milky sweetness, not chocolate. Seemed like the average, dull, regulation hot chocolate but I thought should give it the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes the first taste is deceptive.

But, the first taste wasn’t deceptive…it really wasn’t great. It was so sweet and tasted like it’d come out of a machine, rather than lovingly made by hand. All sweetness, no chocolate.

Part of the disappointment was that the food was insanely good, so it felt like they let themselves down by putting no effort into their hot chocolate. I would really recommend going for lunch and getting a massive slice of sourdough topped with delicious mounds of avocado, peppers and a poached egg, or fresh pea, broad bean and goat cheese with crushed mint. There was a really interesting selection of beers and wine and Sunday afternoon jazz.

My review: I’d come back for the food but would ignore the hot chocolate. Unless there was a hot chocolate emergency.

Review: The Crafty Egg, Bristol

This was a surprise winner. We were just wandering around Stokes Croft looking for somewhere to shelter from the rain when I found one of the best hot chocolates I’ve had in a long time. It doesn’t look that dark but it was thick, delicious and oh-so-chocolatey. It tasted much better than I expected with a rich dark flavour and not as much sugar as all the other hot chocolates in Bristol seem to go for (sorry Bristol, your hot chocolate game isn’t as strong a Edinburgh…).

The cafe itself was lovely, I’m planning an afternoon to go there and read in its super chilled out atmosphere with one of the gigantic and comfortable mugs of hot chocolate. I’ve also go my eye on an evening meal sometime to try Bristol’s ‘only cheese fondue’. I hope the fondue will be as dreamy as the hot chocolate.

Find out more about the Crafty Egg here.