In this week’s Nanu Maps, sweet-toothed duo Fin and Ellie go in search of the best hot chocolates in town. It’s a little bit luxurious, totally delicious and the ultimate way to warm your cockles. Here are the best places to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate, definitely not out of a packet, in Edinburgh.
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57 Broughton Street and 138 Bruntsfield Place
Not that it needed it but Artisan Roast has recently been voted the best café in the UK by Qype. Edinburgh residents already know that it’s one of the best places around for great coffee, but Artisan Roast is less well known for its mean hot chocolates. A more bitter chocolaty taste is complemented by chili, lavender and lemongrass. Not together. The chili hot chocolate, a particular highlight, kicks at the last moment and adds real depth of flavour and heat to the traditional taste. Artisan Roast is also just a great place to be. Low-hanging lights
and colourful comfy cushions let you slump around the place and sink into the relaxed ambiance.
Centotre Italian Restaurant
103 George Street
There’s good hot chocolate and there’s good hot chocolate. Approach Centotre with caution because once you’ve gone Italian, you won’t go back. Unfortunately, the delicious hot chocolate that you think you know will seem a bit…rubbish in comparison to this. Italian hot chocolate is more like a pudding than a drink, cioccolata calda is rich, thick and silky and Centotre’s comes with a tiny disk of chocolate balancing on its dense surface. Far too decadent for everyday luxury but utter, utter pleasure once in a while. Centotre ruined hot chocolate for me. But I can’t stay mad at it.
The Chocolate Tree
123 Bruntsfield Place
The chocolatiers behind The Chocolate Tree in Bruntsfield started out touring British festivals with their handcrafted luxury delights. Now settled in Edinburgh these handcrafted luxury delights are complemented by a vast menu of hot chocolates. The Basic with cream and marshmallows is indulgent enough but the addition of several single origin options turns the hot chocolate drinking experience into something a-kin to a wine bar. What’s more, the counter stacked with a vast array of cakes, chocolates and ice cream is verging on food porn. Come for the hot chocolate but the cosy atmosphere and the friendly staff make visiting this café a treat on a cold winter evening.
11 Multrees Walk
Another example of that most intense of hot chocolate of experiences, Valvona and Crolla’s Vin Café serves some of the best hot chocolate to be found in Edinburgh. Enjoy your Italian hot chocolate in this wonderful café or after a meal in the upstairs restaurant, though the hot chocolate being a meal in itself this may be a rather decadent option. Those familiar with Valvona and Crolla, either through their food store on Elm Row or at the Castle Street farmers market, will be aware that is more to Vin Café than just hot chocolate. I would highly recommend the pastries on offer in the ground floor café and if Christmas shopping is stressing you out why not have a look at the wine list. Tis the season.