After reading Seth Kugel’s mouth-watering article about the best places to find hot chocolate in New York, I felt like doing the same, in Paris. Not that I want to compare to him, no no, but after all, why not try the idea in the capital of a country well-known for its food?
It is easy to find low quality hot chocolate in Paris, as in any other city: every café serves it, every « sandwhicherie » (Pomme de pain, la Croissanterie, la Brioche Dorée etc), and don’t even mention Starbucks: every time I try their « signature hot chocolate », it’s not strong enough, and the beverage is lukewarm…
Rather, I’ll mention 2 places that I like for the quality of their hot chocolate: one is the famous « salon de thé » Angelina (top picture); the other one is an Italian place, Amorino (small picture), specialized in Italian ice creams, truffles, and of course: hot chocolate.
Angelina is located on rue de Rivoli, near the place de la Concorde. Well-established tearoom among tourists and parisians alike, prepare yourself for a queue before you can get your table (I recommend to avoid Sundays, and it is quiet in the morning). The decoration is very 1900’s, , old ladies come to sip a cup of tea with their friends, tourists try to order in a broken French, and waitresses reply rather impatiently and impolitely: welcome to Paris. But let’s not make a storm in a teacup, and instead, order the highlight of the menu: the hot chocolate « Africain »: a pitcher full of a thick, spicy, creamy dark hot chocolate, served with a glass of whipped cream to add at your convenience. Amazing. The first time I tried it I was so surprised that a hot chocolate could be so tasty: it was lunch time, and later I didn’t have dinner, because I was still full.
The second place is part of a chain store called « Amorino », that serves rich Italian ice creams. This winter they also serve hot chocolate for the modest price of 4 euro per cup. They have 28 different flavours to choose from: Classic, Aztèque, Mint, Red berries, Pistachio, Caramel, Pear, Almond, White Chocolate, Coconut, etc… You choose the flavour that corresponds to a number, the Italian girl at the counter prepares the beverage for you, and here you go! You can drink inside or take it away, as you want. I so far only tasted the Classic hot chocolate and the Aztèque hot chocolate. Both are really strong and we can taste that it is made with very good quality chocolate, without adding sugar or fat etc. My preference goes to the Aztèque chocolate though: the cinnamon and spice after-taste was surprisingly nice.
So, if you want to indulge into an afternoon with your friends (or your grandmother), go to Angelina and order the Africain with some patisseries (try « Le Mont-Blanc ». But if during a cold winter afternoon, after a long walk, you feel like having something warm going down your throat, there are plenty of Amorino shops waiting for you in Paris.
Angelina: 226 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. Tel: 01 42 60 82 00.
Amorino: 22 rue Soufflot (near the Panthéon/Sorbonne), 75005 Paris. Tel: 01 55 42 09 56.