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The Not-So-Comprehensive Melbourne Chocolate Café Guide

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 1 August 2010 | Views [4320] | Comments [3]

Cacao chocolate cafe.

Cacao chocolate cafe.

I like chocolate. Melbourne has chocolate cafés. It seemed quite natural to put the two together during my one year stint living down under and see what I could come up with. I admit that I have a penchant for dark, thick, rich chocolate rather than the lighter, thinner kinds. Here are my thoughts on a couple of the places that I got around to visiting (in no particular order after the first café):

 

Chocolait – this was my absolute favorite chocolate café that I visited in Melbourne, hands down. It is not particularly cheap (none of the chocolate places I visited really were) but it has the most thick, condensed delicious Belgian hot chocolate ever. I highly recommend the dark chocolate Jaffa (orange) though the cinnamon is quite brilliant as well. They also do a mean iced chocolate that is just amazing, though steep in price but full of delicious chocolate and ice cream. The best part is that it is more like a frappé that you need to scoop out rather than drink through a straw. Well worth the price. I, again, like the dark chocolate Jaffa (the milk was a bit too sweet for me and I don’t really recommend going away from the chocolate ones – so the strawberry one just tasted like a strawberry milkshake. Delicious, but not chocolate). The staff are also amazingly friendly!! Chocolait is located in the Royal Arcade down a set of steps near the Suga Shop. http://www.chokolait.com.au/

 

Koko Black – a decent, if posh, café to go to. It’d be a lovely place for high tea (high chocolate?) and does have a decent cuppa Belgian chocolate though not particularly amazing. Still very decent and worth the peek in. I recommend grabbing up a mousse martini which is a spoonful of pudding-heaven in your mouth. Koko Black is a chain but there is one near to Chocolait in the Royal Arcade as well as various locations scattered around Melbourne. http://www.kokoblack.com/

 

Max Brenner – this was one of the big disappointments for me. The hot chocolate was not chocolate-y at all for this place being a well-known chocolate café. I found the chocolate to be very bland and not as rich as I would like for a cup of good, thick hot chocolate. I suspect I should have tried the new-sounding “Suckao,” a chocolate shot, though I don’t recall that being on the menu the couple of times that I went there. I do admit that the hot chocolate hugger cups are cute and I was quite fond of the chocolate frappé cup which read “DRINK ME” – very reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland – and admit that the peanut butter chocolate frappe was quite decent…. but I don’t think I’d bother coming back here for the chocolate. Too expensive for what you get and if there is a San Churro around the corner I’d rather spend my money there.  http://www.maxbrenner.com.au/

 

San Churro – Speaking of the place, I quite liked this chocolate chain. It has a nice, thick warm cup of hot chocolate and the flavors really are quite flavorful. The Azteca chocolate really has a spicy kick and the mint was decadently good. I can’t say that the churros were anything spectacular but they were decent enough with the dipping chocolate. Overall a good alternative if Chocolait wasn’t in close proximity. I found myself here quite often as they are liberally scattered about Melbourne and its suburbs. http://www.sanchurro.com.au/

 

Lindt Café – With such a well-known name it was with some excitement that I went to the Lindt Café for a cup of chocolate. Lindt is also another posh chocolate café (it is located on Collins Street right next to Tiffany and Co. if that gives you and indication) and the décor there is indeed classy. The chocolate itself comes with a cup of frothed milk and a smaller decanter of melted liquid chocolate that you add together to suit your own taste. A warning: don’t add the whole decanter of chocolate to your cup – you don’t need that much for just one cup and you’ll have enough milk for another cup or two. With that said I was also a bit disappointed with the hot chocolate. While it can be as chocolate-y as you choose it still didn’t taste like really high-quality chocolate. Most definitely better than the cheap bars of chocolate you get at the grocery store but still not up there as a favorite, sadly. I found the iced chocolate to be better than the hot and could go back for an iced chocolate, though it wasn’t slushy-thick like Chocolait so still not the best out there.

 

I do, however, still frequent Lindt because it is the only place in Melbourne that I could find my favorite French tea – Mariage Frères – and their classic Marco Polo tea which is complex with sweet, fruity undertones and is one of my absolute favorite teas. While never made as good as it is at the Mariage Frères Cafés that I liked going to in Kobe, Japan it was still worth getting a cup of this tea with some of their delicious delice cookies (aka macarons). I was quite partial to the pistachio. And while you’re there I’d highly recommend picking up a block of their sea salt chocolate; it’s quite tasty!! All in all a decent place – maybe good for some classy dates? Here and Koko Black would be good for that kind of thing.  http://www.lindt.com/au/swf/eng/cafe/

 

Cacao – A very small café located in downtown Melbourne (aka the CBD – central business district) which has the prettiest little chocolates that you ever did see. I can’t say that the hot chocolate was anything to write home about (though the cup was large and still quite decent) but the petit chocolates that they sell are the real winner, especially as they seem to find their way to lots of little chocolate cafés around Melbourne. I was quite a fan of the Ruby (blood orange, dark chocolate, and caramel) and the Dimitri (almond praline). A great place to pick up a pretty chocolate box for Valentines Day, some special occasion, or just for some sweet, sweet munchies. http://www.cacao.com.au/

 

Café Fraüs – This is a lovely crepe, wine, and chocolate café located near the corner of Melbourne’s CBD not too far off from the Victoria Markets. I’ve been lucky enough to try a couple of different kinds of their European hot chocolates and all were quite good though a little thinner than what I particularly like. Surprisingly my favorite of the flavors is just the simple Classic, a French chocolate blend. They all come in pretty wide-lipped cups and it is a rather nice place to sit in a corner with a good book and enjoy the quieter side of life. The iced chocolates are quite good for being plain liquid but I think they’re full of too much crushed ice; still good on a hot summer day, however. I quite like this place. http://www.fraus.com.au/cafe_fraus/

 

Hahndorf’s – This place was a-mazing!!! I absolutely loved this place! It’s probably my second favorite behind Chocolait. I went to the one in Sandringham (Black Rock, rather) and had wonderful thick flavored chocolate shakes (it was high summer when I went here) and every drink came with a free truffle of your choice. The staff was amazing and the thick German chocolate was also wonderful. I am quite saddened that I did not have time to go back in winter for some hot chocolate which I would assume would be just as good. http://www.hahndorfs.com.au/

 

Theobrama Chocolate Lounge – This chocolate café opened up a little before I left Melbourne but since it was in Melbourne Central I had a chance for a quick pop in for a hot chocolate. The chocolate itself was decent and thick-enough but without the great flavor that I hope for when drinking chocolate. The chocolate truffles and petit chocolates did look quite mouth-watering (at first glance they looked like they were from Cacao) but the overall experience of the place was still a “mall atmosphere” and the staff weren’t the friendliest. If you happen to be in the area stop by but don’t go out of your way.

 

The Chocolate Room – having my port of call being Newport I was quite happily surprised to find a chocolate café in Williamstown and my first cup of chocolate ended up being the limited edition Belgian Jaffa dark chocolate which was heaven in my mouth. It was thick, creamy, dark, and full of delicious orange flavor. I was so ecstatic about this drink that I went back soon after for one of their classic range drinks and was sadly disappointed at the thinness and flavor of the drinks. While I like the idea of the larger hot chocolate cup on a lit tea candle it was by no means my favorite chocolate. If you decide to hit up this place I’d recommend the Belgian chocolates. Also, the iced chocolate was lackluster at best and not really worth buying. However, they do have a loyalty card which is awesome so eight cups in and you get a free hot chocolate which is rather nice. They also serve Cacao petit chocolates so you can get your mini-chocolate snack fix here as well. http://www.thechocolateroom.com.au/

 

There were other chocolate places that I’ve tried but I think the list is long enough for now. If I’m ever back in Melbourne I definitely plan on hitting up some new chocolate spots since I barely got the tip of the iceberg for chocolate places. To do a quick recap: the number one place on my list would be Chocolait for just about any drink you can think of. I’m a big fan of San Churro for the chocolate chains and if you happen to spot a Hahndorf’s or see Café Fraüs I’d recommend giving them a try as well. Sadly, I am no longer in Melbourne so my list won’t be getting much longer in the near future but it was definitely fun while it lasted!

 

Happy chocolating!

Tags: australia, cafe, chocolate, food, melbourne

 

Comments

1

Hey kurenai,

We really enjoyed your blog post and decided to feature it on the WorldNomads Adventures homepage for others to enjoy too.

Happy Travels!
World Nomads

  World Nomads Aug 9, 2010 2:39 PM

2

Hey kurenai,

We really enjoyed your blog post and decided to feature it on the WorldNomads Adventures homepage for others to enjoy too.

Happy Travels!
World Nomads

  World Nomads Aug 9, 2010 3:32 PM

3

thanks for all the great info!

  ingrid Jun 9, 2012 11:21 AM

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