I remember this shop opening - I think it was summer 07/08 - and I went there once for chocolates when it was new and it was fine, but I didn't think to go back until I happened to be casually working for someone down the road (thanks Student Job Service) and she got us hot chocolates to fuel us as we worked. Then I was hooked.
The shop is cute, and there are a couple of tables so you can have your drink there or take away. We had performed a complex drop-off/car pick-up operation and were headed for my parents' place so opted for the takeaway option. I carefully studied the menus to choose the flavours I thought would be preferred (so many choices).
With my will of steel (ha!) (maybe more to do with the seven course degustation we had at Matterhorn the previous evening...) I managed to resist all the lovely wee treats presented on the counter. AND the take home packs of the chocolate mix so you can replicate these delicious drinks at home. Which is a good thing, since once it's in my pantry there's pretty much zero chance of willpower exerting itself. Anyway...
In lieu of photos of the hot chocolate itself (which looks just like any old hot chocolate, especially when you get it in takeaway cups) I bring you photos of the menus. Yes, there are three menus, and yes, those are all hot chocolates. I chose the orange ginger milk one for my mum - I'm pretty sure both orange and ginger are high on her favourite flavours list, and it seemed to go down well. I gave Dad the 70% Belgian - I figured if I was going to deprive him of his coffee it had better be a solid hit of chocolate (perhaps I should have gone for the 100% Valhrona - but I also wanted him to like it and that might have been pushing the limits!). Sadly I don't think he was convinced it was better than his coffee - perhaps I was too optimistic there. ;-) Mr Cake certainly enjoyed his dark chocolate with chilli, though - dark and rich with a subtle kick at the end, and as always I loved the sea salt caramel - this is rich, and full flavoured, very sweet with a very slight bitterness from the caramel, which only serves to deepen the flavour. A fantastic, decadent way to ward of the chill of Christchurch and satisfy the chocolate cravings. And even if you're a truly committed chocoholic it should take you a good while to work your way through this menu!
Do you have a favourite purveyor of hot chocolate?
Xocolatl is located at 203 Fendalton Road, Christchurch, ph 03 351 7460, www.xocolatl.co.nz