I came across at least half dozen chocolate cafes in Sydney without even looking for any. Australia has a vibrant coffee culture and I have yet to drink a cup of bad coffee. But chocolate is a huge draw here too. Chocolate is obviously the star of the menu. I’m talking about chocolate pastries, cakes, sundaes, milkshakes, ice-cream, and waffles. For drinks, do you like your chocolate hot or cold? With coffee or with whipped cream? Or an affogato with a scoop of chocolate gelato? Oh and don’t forget shelves stuffed with truffles and enrobed treats and tablets of every flavour!
The chocolate cafes act as uber-boutiques for traditional chocolatiers like Guylian, Max Brenner, and Lindt. However, it’s not just big names that are drawn to the trend. There are also local chocolatiers and small mom-and-pop shops too.
Yesterday I enjoyed a lazy late breakfast at Guylian Belgium Chocolate Cafe just steps away from Sydney Opera House. All the breakfast pastry come with a side of dipping chocolate. My cinnamon twist was a knot of puff pastry glazed with cinnamon sugar. When I combined the melted chocolate with a bite of cinnamon pastry, it totally gave off that Mexican chocolate vibe. I should have asked for a bit of chilli powder too! It was the perfect accompaniment with my glass of special macchiato with double shots of espresso and praline. Oh, and the complimentary truffle that came with each hot drink completed the chocolate theme very nicely.
It was at Lindt Chocolate Cafe that I realize what it means by all things chocolate. The ice cream chest was a study in brown and beige. There were six different flavours of chocolate ice cream! Dark, milk, or white, some with fruits and others with nuts. I would totally love to have a gigantic ice cream sundae with a scoop of each! On the shelves I found the full line up of Lindt chocolate. Some of them are hard to locate in regular stores. It was really a chocolate lover’s dream come true.
I have always been a fan of Max Brenner’s whimsical approach to chocolate. I was certainly happy to find his chocolate cafe on my route to the downtown core area. At the cafe, not only I could find a jewel case of truffles and colourful boxes of small indulgences, I can also get my own set of his specially designed chocolate drinking vessels. There is a cup design for hugging your hands over the warm cup of hot chocolate. Another with a little trough next to the lip of the cup to be filled with melted chocolate….which conveniently slides and swirls into your hot beverage as you sip. There is also a tall glass designed specifically for chocolate shakes and came with a stainless steel straw to maximize the cold sensation of every sip. Of course I am not going to bring all those paraphernalia home. So I can simply experience them by ordering a cup of fancy chocolate drink right there at the cafe.
An indulgent breakfast or a decadent afternoon pick-me-up at one of the many chocolate cafes in this city can easily become a dangerous habit. Must watch my waistline!