Cocoa-nutty

18 08 2009

Stock image taken from i.ehow.comBeen meaning to post up this article on the top hot chocolate spots in Ottawa that I originally wrote a while ago for a local home & living magazine. It wasn’t published, and very unfortunately, a daily paper came out with a very similar article just before the issue in which this piece would have appeared. The joys of writing about a very small, specific sample of food & beverage places for a bimonthly publication =)

Now, I know it’s summer, and if you’re in Ottawa and a pansy like me, one of the most hellishly humid summers you’ve had the displeasure of perspiring in. So I’m guessing perhaps a hot drink isn’t on your mind right now. That’s OK. For future reference or something, maybe.

Anyway, I give you, in no particular order, five of my favourite places to grab one of the snowy season’s most beloved beverages.

Warm up the winter with Ottawa’s hottest (chocolate) drinks
When the Rideau Canal freezes over and skaters throng the ice, the thoughts of Ottawans and tourists alike often turn to Beaver Tails … and to hot chocolate, to warm up from the wintry chill. While there’s nothing nicer (and more characteristic of Ottawa’s charms) than sipping a steaming cup of cocoa while trying not to lose your balance as you skate along the frozen surface, there are also plenty of great places off the ice where you can find heavenly hot chocolate, whether your tastes lean towards the traditional or toward more exotic blends.

Truffle Treasures
314 Richmond Rd., 613-761-3859
769 Bank St., 613-230-3859

Where better to find delectable chocolate beverages than a chocolate boutique? The hot chocolate here is sinful, thick and flavourful, with 10 or so unusual varieties that are sure to tempt your curiosity as well as your taste buds. Choose from flavours that include peanut butter, pumpkin spice, lavender, ginger-orange, and banana, or if you like it hot and spicy, try Truffle Treasures’ gingerbread-like Aztec Hot Chocolate, which is a blend of chili powder, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. You may have to wait a little while for your beverage, but it’s worth it; enjoy the sights and smells as your drink is made fresh in the traditional way – no instant mix here! – and be prepared for a piping-hot and enormous cup that will probably more than satisfy any of your dessert cravings.

Café Latte Cino
2020 Tenth Line Rd., 613-824-5675

If you’re looking for a cosy nook in the east end where you can chill out and surf the Internet (for free) or play some games, all while enjoying a lovely warm drink, check out Café Latte Cino. This mellow eatery has a great relaxing ambience and good eats and drinks, including several chocolate-infused beverages that add sophistication to a childhood favourite. Besides the indulgent hot chocolate, generously topped off with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, the café also offers a delicious white chocolate mocha drink that has the ideal balance of coffee and chocolate flavours, with neither element overwhelming the other, so both caffeine addicts and chocoholics will be happy.

Oh So Good Dessert & Coffee House
25 York St., 613-241-8028
Most people familiar with this ByWard Market fixture know it for the tasty cakes and pies and the jiving atmosphere, but Oh So Good also serves up an exceptionally creamy cup of hot chocolate that’s an ideal complement to that decadent dessert you’re having. It’s almost like chocolate milk, and may be a little light if you’re used to more robust cups of cocoa, but it’s far from bland and the chocolate syrup adds just the right touch of richness.

Starbucks
100 Trainyards Dr., Unit 14A, 613-241-8858

No list of beverage favourites would be complete without this popular chain, which recently opened a location at the new Ottawa Trainyards shopping district. While bleary-eyed shoppers and workers may make a beeline for the more caffeine-laden coffee and tea offerings, Starbucks is no slouch when it comes to also pandering to those who prefer a gentler kind of hot treat – cocoa lovers will be able to choose from five varieties and their iced versions. Besides the more traditional hot chocolate and white hot chocolate drinks, the chain also recently introduced its fancy “Signature” line of gourmet hot chocolate beverages, including the inventive Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate concoction. While the idea of salt in your drink might sound weird, it’s surprisingly yummy, evoking thoughts of the coffee company’s own delicious chocolate-covered caramel pretzel snacks.

(Note: So sad, the Salted Caramel is no longer available at Starbucks. But if you’re lucky and your regular location has been hoarding the salt, they can still make it for you even though it’s not on the menu any more.)

Stubbe Chocolates
375 Dalhousie St., 613-241-1040

Tucked away in a hidden corner of Dalhousie Street is this charming little shop, the continuation of a family business begun in Germany in 1845. Stubbe Chocolates, which has a sister outlet in Toronto, offers delightfully rich hot chocolate that’s brimming with the taste of real cocoa, but is not as sugary as the diabetic-unfriendly cuppas of yore. Tarry awhile in the homey blue-and-white sitting area, where through a glass window you can watch the friendly owner making your drink and handcrafting truffles, but beware if you’re on a diet as chocolate samples abound.

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18 08 2009
Twitted by krystlechow

[…] This post was Twitted by krystlechow […]

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