The winter months in Melbourne were made for cosying up with a cup of hot chocolate. But there are days on which the traditional route with Cadbury powder and hot milk just won’t cut it. Luckily, certain Melbourne cafes are taking hot choc as seriously as their coffee, and reinventing the humble cup ‘o cocoa with nips of liquor, licks of salted caramel or scoops of sticky ganache.
It’s a brave new world out there for hot chocolate connoisseurs, and without further ado, we’d like to introduce our favourite pimped-up beverages.
#1: Hash Specialty Coffee
The hot chocolate from Hash Specialty Coffee is both a work of art and a multi-sensory experience. A conical flask of Mörk Dark 85% Cacao Chocolate is placed on a wooden board next to a gossamer-like cloud of freshly-spun white fairy floss. Pour the hot chocolate over the fairy floss and it evaporates into a sweetened puddle of chocolatey bliss.
#2: Mörk Chocolate Brew House
The Campfire Hot Chocolate is the hot ticket at Mörk with its holy trinity of chocolate, marshmallow and smoke. We also adore the Liquid Chocolate Bar, which combines a mini ramekin of salted hazelnut caramel with Mörk’s signature dark hot chocolate and a chocolate shard for dipping.
#3: Gertrude Street Enoteca
The hot chocolate at Gertrude Street Enoteca is spiked with rum for all aspiring pirates. It’s rich, dark and intense— – kind of like pirates themselves. Is it a cocktail? Is it dessert? Either way, it’s delicious, and available all day long.
#4: La Niche
The team at La Niche make their own pure dark cacao blend and serve their hot chocolates traditional-style in a bowl. It’s bittersweet and delivers a potent chocolate hit. You can also order La Nichette— – the same housemade blend poured into a glass and laced with French pear liquor.
Cheese in your chocolate? Just trust us, it’s good. Sonido's Columbian-style hot chocolate is served in a little jug and showered with crumbly queso. So good you’ll wonder why you ever questioned it.
#6: East Elevation
Brunswick East café East Elevation melts and whisks Monsieur Truffle’s signature 60% cacao blend into steamed milk to create a life-affirming elixir with serious syrupy credentials. Monsieur Truffle’s flagship store on Smith Street closed earlier this year so this is the best place to get your couverture chocolate fix.
The tables at Nora are tiny, but the hot chocolate is no small affair. A waiter arrives with a generous scoop of ganache in a bowl, pours steamed milk over it, and leaves you to shovel up the fudgey goodness as dark cacao nibs bob to the surface.
#8: Gânache Chocolate
This Melbourne-based mini-chain serves up chilli, mint, hazelnut, salted caramel and white hot chocolates that’ll warm the cockles of your heart. We’re all about Ganache's chilli hot chocolate to help combat the cheek-blistering cold and simultaneously speed up our metabolisms (that works, right?).
Brunetti’s Italian-style hot chocolate is so thick it’s practically mud and so dark it’s bordering on black. It’s made this list purely because of how rich and intense it is—you haven’t drunk real hot chocolate in Melbourne until you’ve glugged down one of these.
It’s not just about nitro-gelato here. Dex2Rose is doing a killer hot choc set that features their signature lightly spiced hot chocolate garnished with salted caramel gelato, raspberry drupelets and toast-at-your-table marshmallows. Never knew gelato could be used as a garnish? Well now you do.
Image credit: Mörk Chocolate Brew House by Sabine Legrand for The Urban List