It’s winter down under – and Australia’s famous cafe scene is serving a slew of hot-chocolatey treats.
By Dan F Stapleton
Packed with exotic ingredients such as fairy floss, wood smoke and matcha, Australia’s current favourite hot chocolate flavours are anything but ordinary – and winter is the perfect time to sample them. But don’t take our word for it: this season, you’ll find our most buzzworthy cups of cocoa all over Instagram. Here are four of the most delectable choices.
Warm up with Instagrammable hot chocolates
Hot chocolate sphere, Melbourne
The hot chocolate at the Long Story Short Cafe, a bright and spacious cafe in inner Melbourne, is more than just a delectable drink. “It’s a theatrical experience!” declares co-owner Ly Nguyen. Patrons are presented with a jug of hot choc and a large glass containing a chocolate sphere on a bed of chocolate shavings. Pour the liquid into the glass and the sphere melts, revealing a trove of marshmallows. In addition to the standard milk-chocolate version, there’s a variant with a white-chocolate sphere and a matcha pour-over, because “everyone’s crazy about matcha at the moment,” Nguyen explains.
Goldfinger hot chocolate, Brisbane
Brisbane’s winter weather is milder than that of Australia’s other major cities, but that hasn’t slowed Brisbanites' preoccupation with enjoying the sweet treat when they get the chance. At Piggy Back Cafe on the city’s west side, the drinks are works of art: there’s the Goldfinger, a caramel hot chocolate topped with cream, salted caramel sauce and honeycomb; or the Unicorn, a strawberry hot choc with sprinkles and marshmallows. “They’ve been quite popular this month,” says manager Marina Ghobrial. “The mornings have been chilly so people are craving a warm drink.” Besides, she adds, “Everyone gets a bit naughty over winter.”
Campfire hot chocolate, Melbourne
The name might conjure images of a quick-and-easy cup of cocoa on a camping trip, but don’t be fooled: this could be the world’s most sophisticated hot chocolate. At the Mörk Chocolate Brew House, which is attached to a chocolate factory in Melbourne, patrons receive a beaker of top-grade hot chocolate produced in the warehouse next door, a stemless Bordeaux glass filled with beechwood smoke and an artfully toasted marshmallow (also produced in the warehouse). Combine the ingredients and be transported to the great outdoors.
French Earl Grey hot chocolate, Sydney
Sydney tea company T Totaler is all about simplicity and elegance – its drinks are served in handsome recycled cups (or, at the sit-down store in the suburb of Newtown, in sleek glassware) and there are no superfluous ingredients. The group’s range of tea-infused hot chocolates is similarly streamlined: the matcha and chai options are adorned with delicate foam and nothing else. For something a bit showier, try the cult-favourite French Earl Grey hot chocolate, topped with Persian fairy floss for a sweet kick. You can find this most photogenic drink and T Totaler’s stores at The Galeries in the CBD, and in Newtown, and at the fabulous Eveleigh Market on Saturdays.
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