When it's icy and forbidding out, you might consider staking out some of the best hot chocolate Paris has to offer. Unfortunately, the corner cafe isn't always advisable: it's common to be served up barely-warm water with chunks of undissolved industrial cocoa powder bobbing around. To add insult to injury, you may end up paying 4 or 5 Euros a pop for this poor man's chocolat chaud.
The artisanal hot chocolate makers mentioned below are the real deal. They use high-grade cocoas, real milk (gasp!), and are often inventive with flavors. Without further ado, here's where to get warm and indulgent!
Jean-Paul Hevin is already well-known as one of Paris' outstanding chocolate artisans. His main boutique on 231 Rue St. Honoré includes an upstairs restaurant, salon du thé and "Chocolate Bar" boasting a selection of inventive, often whimsical gourmet hot chocolates. Hevin invented a menu of hot cocoas for different hours of the day-- some energizing, others relaxing. My undisputed favorite is the 4pm "Aphrodisiac", with strong notes of ginger and spices. Still more exotic? Chocolat aux huitres (Chocolate with oyster), Chocolat a la carotte (carrot), or Chocolat zen with matcha green tea. For traditionalists, there's a selection of more classic recipes as well, using only high-grade chocolates.
- Address: 231 Rue St Honoré
- Metro: Tuileries
Probably the most-coveted spot for hot chocolate in Paris, and always flooded with tourists, this Vienna-style Belle Epoque tearoom circa 1903 is famed for its ultrarich, strictly traditional chocolat chaud. It's not my personal favorite (I find it to be a bit too sweet and thick) but for many people Angelina's hot chocolate is the gold standard. Always reserve ahead, especially in colder months and on weekends, when long lines of tourists waiting for tables snake out onto Rue de Rivoli.
- Address: 226 rue de Rivoli
- Metro: Tuilerie, Concorde
- Phone: +33 (0) 1 42 60 82 00
Just a few steps away from Angelina, the bar at this ultraluxury Paris hotel serves a sumptuous, ultratraditional hot chocolate for afternoon tea. The setting is as chic as it comes, but as you'd expect with such an esteemed institution, you'll need to reserve ahead.
- Address: 228 rue de Rivoli
- Metro: Tuilerie, Concorde
- Phone: +33 (0) 1 44 58 10 10
I haven't yet tasted the hot chocolate at the recently opened Marais boutique of the self-styled, self-trained chocolate maestro Jacques Genin -- but foodie network Paris by Mouth offers a review here. Genin's chocolat chaud is reportedly some of the best in town, and served with warmth and grace. Like Hevin's chocolate bar, the ambiance is ultramodern here, so reserve some time for a lounge here after ambling around or shopping in the Marais.
- Address: 133 rue de Turenne
- Metro: Filles de Calvaire
- Phone: +33 (0) 1 45 77 29 01
This prestigious French institution offers, not surprisingly, an excellent hot chocolate at some of its locations. If you favor a coarser, richer, less sweet variety of chocolat chaud, this version should satisfy your craving. And if you don't have time to sit in, you can always buy a bag of pure chocolate "beads" (available in two different "strengths"-- pictured) to make your own at home.
- Address: 52, rue Francois 1er
- Metro: Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Phone: +33 (0) 1 47 23 38 25