Two things happened last week: the Czech Republic has switched back to winter time, which means it is now getting dark around 5pm already. Also, we have taken our lighter coats and worn them for the first time since the summer. Yes, we know. The winter is near. But the cold and the darkness have a positive side, too: the season for hot chocolate has officially begun. Here's the places we like to visit for our cup of the delicious - and highly addictive - stuff.
Cafe Savoy, our favorite place for breakfast and pastries in town, serves not one, but two types of hot chocolate. The "Savoy hot chocolate", which forms a part of Jan's favorite Savoy breakfast, is from the Dominican Republic and hot milk is used to make it. The second type is the "Savoy dessert hot chocolate", and it is made of Valrhona chocolate and hot water. It is served with whipped cream, which can be added to the cup and melt in the chocolate. While both hot chocolates here are great and not that sweet, we tested both side by side and we must say we found the latter to be better and more chocolatey, although Jan truly enjoys the first one as part of his breakfast.
If you like chocolate in any form, Choco Cafe is definitely a place worth visiting. This family-owned cafe and chocolatier does focus primarily on chocolate, selling a wide variety of its own chocolates in the cafe (along with pralines, cakes and macaroons). Their hot chocolate menu is fairly extensive and you can combine various types of hot chocolate with other ingredients, such as fruits and different alcohols. It is easy to get carried away with your order and end up with something you might not enjoy (like the hot white chocolate). Our advice: stick to the basic type and maybe one ingredient. Just one word of caution: the hot chocolate here is very rich and thick and might be too powerful for some. While we may have an issue with the service (the cafe is truly family-owned and you might be served by someone's cousin), we think their product is sinfully good. Make sure you try their Horicke trubicky rolls, a light-as-air regional specialty protected by the EU. The place tends to get crowded fairly quickly in the winter so reservations are a good idea.
Muj salek kavy
Muj salek kavy, the flagship cafe of the Doubleshot coffee roasters and arguably one of the best cafes in town, serves not one, not two, but three types of chocolate as we write this. They have long offered hot chocolate by Jordi's, a local high-quality bean-to-bar chocolatier, in two forms: an Ecuadorian 63% chocolate with or without cinnamon. Both of these are made with hot milk and are a bit sweeter than the latest addition from Brno-based Ajala chocolatier: this one is more bitter and the manufacturer is strict about the preparation, so no animal fat should ever touch it. This means it is made with hot water and served without cream of any kind. We did try both with friends and while they enjoyed the sweeter Jordi's version, we liked Ajala's more bitter version better. No matter what hot chocolate you choose, make sure you taste Muj salek kavy's coffee, too.
EMA Espresso Bar
We probably spend more time than we should in EMA Espresso Bar, but can you blame us? With great coffee from the best European roasters, friendly staff, good soundtrack (when they play the one we made for them, of course), nice plum jam buchta buns and wonderful, airy and modern interiors in a very convenient location, it is easy to spend hours there even though EMA has been primarily designed as an espresso bar for quick consumption. Although this post is about hot chocolate and EMA does serve one, we think you should know that many local foodies visit EMA after a visit to the Saturday markets and on cold days for their hot cocoa, which is delicious and has latte art on it as an extra bonus. And nothing brings back childhood memories as a cup of great, hot, steaming cocoa on a cold day.