Hot Chocolate straddles an awkward divide between two worlds: equal part salacious indulgence, equal part Brady. When you need comfort or holding, when you need a cup of something to soothe the soul, to stroke it and caress it with warmed waves of rich subtlesweet decadence, nothing does it like a Cup of Coco. It's the tipple of choice for the eternal child, and nowhere does it better than a cafe I used to spend at least 2 hours a day in for the better part of 3 years: The Earth Store + Cafe, Bondi. It's a hidden, communal organic wonderland that happens here. Flourless, sugarless treats adorn glass cases and sit regally poised, atop beautifully polished silver cake stands. I can never say no to cake on a stand, it's like Stilletoed Dessert. My favourite flourless chocolate brownie, my favourite flourless carrot cake with walnut and insanely perfect, wholesome old schoold sweet-sharp-carrot-cake-cream-cheese spicing. Spelt Honey Banana Bread toasted with flickers of crunchy note, beautiful buckwheat muffins (ie, guava + pear, pear + strawberry) sweetened gently with fruit juice and toasted grandly, bisected and lusciously buttered. Sonoma crunch-crumble-rumble granola with softly poached fruit and yoghurt, amazing cheesetomatorelishinohsoorganic panini toasted to melting madness. Cheese to please and luscious fruits, divine coriander in hommous with red onion and mung beaned tomato avocado enraptured wraps, and all organic. Perfect toast with potted jam and butter, fond organic yoghurts in an Ode To Cream. You get the idea. I have spent a small, delicious fortune here and many, many happy things have happened upon my tongue. Regulars, ie, Sudoko King Frank, don't ever want me to blog it, it's a bit of a Bondi backstreet secret. Sorry, Mr B, the Hot Chocolate here is something the world needs to know about.
Delicate beads of real Belgian milk are the essence of this famed chocolate. Powder always leaves a bit of a synthetic overly sugared taste and texture, it's much more sugar than chocolate, but when you slowly, coaxingly melt real, solid, yeilding chocolate into the gladdeningly warm ivory of some organic full cream, skim, soy (bon, of course), or rice milk, what you get is movement as madness. Deep chocolate staining pure milk. Infusion. Creation. Explosion. A waving, steaming, swaying cup of dream-fluid formlessness that floats across the dancefloor of your tongue. This chocolate is so wonderful. A singular Sydney treasure. I find most hot chocolates sickening, over eager sweetness that kills any other flavour and makes you cringe. This chocolate is not at all too sweet, but so, so rich. It actually tastes like a real chocolate bar has been melted into the milk, and not like a syrupish chocolate concoction. The milk is warmed perfectly, never too hot and never too cool, and caked thickly lickily trickily with a damn dense layer of chocolate sprinkles that dissolve willfully into sweet, milky abandon as you stir and sip.
Never too thick, never too thin, just creamy, warm, luscious chocolate MouthLove whispers of crazed cocoa. A cup of this will pull you in and it will pull you down. I love carrying away a steaming cup on a really cold day, it's so beautiful, like chocolate soup without being too overpowering. All richness and body and weight and strength, supple and giving, you slow down the moment you start sipping it. It's just too much of a treasure to drink quickly, you try and draw it out for as long as lingeringly possible. I always feel like I can handle the world again after one of these. There's something much more satisfying about taking one away in the perfect white cardboard cups, the warmness spills through paper much more generously than it does through ceramic. It warms up your hands and what it does to your tingling keratin is as much a part of the experience as what it does to your mouth. Touch and Taste and Smell and SinkDrink. Perfect, silent, chocolately pauses in between. Chocolate Rise and Chocolate Fall. Warmly, warmly, warmly. It's heaven in your hands. It's Hot Rockolate. It's Wonka Wet. It's Ad Choc. So soft and so beautiful to bemouth, it's like a chocolate bath having you. Sip, Slurp, Lick Trick, Stain-The-Corner-of-your-Pink-Lip-Chocolate.
The Earth Cafe + The Earth Store, happening at 81 Gould Street, Bondi (But don't tell anyone). Chocolate as Cheap Thrill awaits you. Use it to wash down a butter-rich flourless chocolate brownie with hazelnutted heaviness. It's a perfect treat, decadent without being dirty.
Go on, drown in it, the world will be there when you get back.