Hot Chocolate Frenzy @ Kakawa Chocolates & Detour Espresso, Darlinghurst

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I must make a confession. I will never stop loving hot chocolate. Whether it's the powdered mix stirred into a hot mug of freshly heated (ahem..microwaved) milk, or an $8 cup of pure, decadent, real hot chocolate, give me a hot cup flavoured with the milky, dreamy creaminess that is chocolate and I'm a happy girl. Extra kudos for an airy layer of froth on top.

Wikipedia defines a hot chocolate as a heated beverage typically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar, and essentially, that is exactly what it is. Aficionados claim the inferior version is made from powdered chocolate, better known as drinking chocolate, which is not as sweet nor as rich as pure melted chocolate. Some places serve it with marshmallows on the side, others with a generous slathering of chocolate syrup draped across the sides of the cup, and the drink is hardly restricted to consumption at just one meal. Hot chocolate may be drunk anywhere, anytime.

Having experienced the likes of higher-end hot chocolates at places such as the Lindt Cafe, Oliver Brown, Max Brenner and Guylian, it would seem a little challenging for some to find a really good hot chocolate in a cafe. Not that they don't make good hot chocolates (any hot chocolate is a good hot chocolate :)), but they don't seem to be of the same quality as the one's you can buy from authentic gourmet chocolatiers.

A couple of weeks ago I was attending a course in Darlinghurst and, arriving early one day, went in search for a cafe to buy a nice hot drink. Urbanspooning nearby cafes in the area, I stumbled across Detour Espresso on William Street to a long line of eager customers who all seemed to be in the know of this small but busy cafe. The atmosphere was one of friendliness and buzz, the tables out the front all occupied and clusters of people waiting for their takeaway orders, the sound of retro rock music pumping alongside the familiar noise of the overworking coffee machine. Inside it is a little bit more quiet, and sitting on the long bench you can look up to find artwork on the ceiling, extending up from the menu that is painted creatively with lists of sandwiches, drinks and a breakfast menu. I have no trouble occupying myself whilst waiting for my hot chocolate, and am thoughtfully offered a glass of water while waiting.


The hot chocolate is warm and frothy, not too hot but not too cold. I open up the lid to be greeted with a layer of shaved chocolate sitting on top of creamy froth and milk. It's comforting and chocolatey, not in the powdered-drinking-chocolate kind of way but not in a completely purely sweet chocolate way either. It's just right.
Hot Chocolate (small, $3.50)

The baristas double as waitresses and chefs, with the long space occupied on one side by a wooden seating bench and a long, stainless steel bench covered with breads spreads, fruit and a sandwich press on the other. This is a homey, intimate cafe where everyone feels immediately welcome and at ease, and the people who work there seem to have fun more than anything, greeting their customers with a smile and open hands.


The next day I walk along the same street and find the renowned Kakawa chocolates next door. I'd heard of this chocolatier before and was surprised that it was open so early, but upon peering inside it was the enticing picture of an iced chocolate with an accompanying sign that read 'hot and iced chocolates' that caught my attention. So, despite it being 8:30am and having already been to another chocolate place within the past week, I thought to myself: 'Why not?'.


I gave my order to the chocolatier behind the counter, who was arranging delicate truffles underneath a glass display, of a small dark hot chocolate. She pointed to the small sized cup behind her which was the size I wanted. It was the size of a coffee shot. So I ordered a large! Unfortunately being so early in the morning they'd run out of the dark hot chocolate the previous day and hadn't yet restocked, so I went for the milk hot chocolate. Other flavours included Hazelnut (milk or dark), Chilli and dark chocolate, Brandy chocolate and Caramel.

Milk Hot Chocolate (large, $6.50)

I watched with glee as the other lady behind the counter heated my drink over an induction stovetop. It was served in a unique Kakawa takeaway cup. And Oh. My. Goodness. This was real hot chocolate. I removed the lid to find a thick, smooth, chocolate-brown liquid, with no froth but a consistency only that of real hot chocolate could boast. I took sip. Yes, this was real chocolate (of course, I had bought it from a real chocolatier), sweet but addictive and absolutely devine. The intensity of the drink allowed it only to be drunken in small, savoured sips, but this emphasised the true flavour and genuity of the milky, smooth hot chocolate. A treat truly worth savouring. Chocolate-y goodness in a cup!

Detour Espresso
Detour Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Kakawa Chocolates
Kakawa on Urbanspoon

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