11 Strathalbyn Street, Kew East
(Sho – ko – la – tl)
I’d heard about this place and their legendary hot chocolates, so when A suggested we warm ourselves with one on a surprisingly chilly November morning, I quickly agreed. Xocolatl has a shop in Kew at the Harp Junction, and another in Canterbury on Maling Road. We went to the Kew shop, but I’ve bought chocolates from the Maling Road one previously. Inside, the place has a cute french style decor with braided chairs and chandeliers.
Every Easter my mum buys each of us a giant decorated easter egg from here; they come in the most fabulous prints. Hand painted, my 2011 egg was a cubist masterpiece, with squares of yellow, red, blue and green drawn all around the egg. It was almost too pretty to eat, but I was eventually persuaded to crack it by the heady scent of chocolate wafting out of the box.
Their truffles are also super delicious and decadent. Whenever I go to buy a box for someone, I feel almost giddy looking at all the tiny squares and pyramids and domes of truffled goodness, and I can never decide. Some flavours that caught my eye were Balsamic Strawberry, Lavender, and one appropriately titled ‘Elvis Presley’, which was a chocolate-peanut butter concoction. These White Vanilla ones really stood out, I loved the colourful painted hearts.
They also sell bars of chocolate with different percentages of cocoa, including one that we bought, the single bean Venezuelan origin. Nothing like an excellent block of dark chocolate to crack apart over a movie or a board game. There were also some beautiful looking bars with dried strawberries and hazelnuts and cranberries.
Finally, to our hot chocolates. A, who had been here several times before, was slowly working his way through their hot chocolate menu. As well as plain (and I say that with no pejorative meaning) Belgian chocolate, they offer an interesting list of flavoured hot chocolates. A ordered the rose and cardamon spiced chocolate, which was intensely aromatic. The spices were quite strong so if you’re after that sort of taste go with this one. The flavours still married well with the chocolate.
I had, upon A’s suggestion, the chilli chocolate, which wasn’t as strong as I would have thought, but left a thrilling tingling in the back of your throat as an aftertaste. There was still the fabulously decadent chocolate taste, and the just the right amount of chilli. A very enjoyable warm drink, and one I would highly recommend!