Warming up the semester with Kafein’s hot chocolate
Original home-style cocoa is the only way to go
Sure, we’re having a warm spell now, but on these damp and drafty January days, what’s better than curling up with some cocoa? And, more importantly, where’s the best place for a cozy mug or two?
In terms of proximity, Kafein is hard to beat. A mere stone’s throw from the Sir George Williams campus, this favourite student sanctuary is right across from the library building.
Kafein is of course known to Concordians as a place to jack-up on caffeine between classes, but the hot chocolate is worth more than some consideration. It may not come in the gourmet range of flavours offered at other cafés, but its modest choice between hazelnut, caramel and good, old-fashioned is plenty.
After ordering, there’s time to admire the décor. Upstairs is a spread of café tables and chairs, excellent for anything between a quick chat with friends or a study session. The basement is set up as a lounge surrounded by red walls and crushed velvet chairs, creating a more relaxed and intimate place to laze and enjoy the DJ’s house music mix.
The hot chocolate itself is served in a fat glass with cocoa powdered on top. It’s not so much hot as it is warm, and it has a vaguely granular texture, but it sure tastes homemade. The caramel-flavoured hot chocolate sounds promising, but is in fact disappointing and does not taste like what you would expect. The hazelnut is indeed quite nutty. Surprisingly the best is the regular cocoa, which unlike the others, seems to be made with a dark chocolate base. Its thick, soul-warming richness puts it a cut above the rest. For the fair price of $3.75 per glass, there’s no excuse not to go. Winter’s never been more bearable.
Kafein is located on 1429 Bishop St.
This sweet pick-me-up in the winter is all we need
Au Festin de Babette does simplicity right
School has officially begun. We’re all in need of a little mood lifter to get us through the day; a pick-me-up to help us battle through.
One of Montreal’s hot spots to fill your need for a sinfully delicious drink is Au Festin de Babette, a quaint, French country-style café. From the moment you enter, the aroma of chocolate fills your lungs and warms your heart. Blackboard menus and French posters, such as vintage chocolate advertisements, decorate the room, giving it a cozy charm.
Considering they specialize in chocolate, I had no choice but to try at least one of their assorted hot chocolates. After some reflection, I concluded that Le Babette and Le Dalmatien are two of the best hot chocolates I have had. You know a hot chocolate is good when your eyes go wide and your only response is your head nodding as your lips leave the rim of the mug.
Le Dalmatien brings you that very reaction. Made of white chocolate and 55 per cent Belgian chocolate, it was a purely decadent, smooth, velvety drink, which resembled a melted Lindt chocolate bar; a taste that left me with a smile.
Le Babette is a rich combination of 55 per cent Belgian chocolate, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. The mix of flavours burst onto your palette, allowing you to taste and enjoy every single spice.
The presentation was simple. There was no whipped cream, just dollops of frothed milk on le Babette, allowing you to indulge in their specialty — chocolate. In my opinion, simplicity is best.
Prices range from $8.50 to $12 for food and $4 to $7 for drinks. A little pricy for the hot chocolate, but the quality is unbeatable.
Au Festin de Babette is located on 4085 St-Denis St.
Forget Romeo, Juliette’s true love is chocolate
This Montreal chain promises quality…and they deliver
With four different locations, Juliette et Chocolat is one staple in Montreal that people will recommend when you need that chocolate fix. The feel of each location is fast paced and busy. As you walk in, you hear the buzz of conversations, see the assortments of desserts and chocolates, and most importantly, smell the chocolate. It’s a distinct smell that is hard to ignore and easy to like.
Although a little expensive, with prices ranging from $4.95 to $14.95 for food and $3.50 to $7.95 for drinks, there is no denying the excellent quality.
They have a variety of chocolate drinks, making it very difficult to decide on just one. Although overwhelmed, I finally chose the “Grandma’s style hot chocolate” with dark semi-sweet chocolate, described as “for real chocoholics, extra thick and chocolaty.”
They were not exaggerating. Not knowing what to expect, I was served a small bowl accompanied by a small pourer that would normally be filled with milk. Lucky for me, it was filled with chocolate.
I poured it in my bowl, took a sip and shocked my taste buds. It was pure chocolate; an incredibly thick and indulgent drink that should be had alone and with caution.
The portion size given was a lot for drinking pure chocolate, resulting in leaving half of the pourer full. Although delicious, it definitely could have used more milk, which they do offer in the classic style hot chocolate and the Grandma’s style with extra milk.
Personally, despite the deliciousness and quality of food and chocolate, I find Juliette et Chocolat a little pricey and overrated, but I will leave it up to you decide how much chocolate you can handle.
Juliette et Chocolat is located on 1615 St-Denis St., 3600 St-Laurent St. and 377 Laurier Ave. W.