Channeling the Nutpatch in the city

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Since it opened about 6 years ago, I have been a fan of Nutpatch Chocolates, a Kettering-based handmade chocolate store. What started as a small chocolate shop in the sleepy Channel seaside town, has recently expanded to include a waterfront store in Hobart. John and his team have also introduced hot chocolate to their cocoa repertoire.

So last week, I went along to the new Hobart store to try the hot chocolate. John greeted us in his usual jovial manner, and upon spotting our KeepCups, knew exactly what we were there for. Never one to shy away from promoting his very successful business, John quickly declared this hot chocolate as the best in Hobart – even before we had taken a sip! But that is John – never wavering in his ability when he knows he is on a winner.

He was right, in that is was delicious, but I couldn’t help but challenge him on the ‘best in Hobart’ comment.  The hot chocolate (Belgian chocolate, cream and milk), was very good.  Rich but without being shocking and very smooth. Nutpatch is a potentially dangerous place to stop when you couple the hot chocolate with any of the handmade chocolates John makes (I recommend the Petite Noir). Sugar coma, anyone?!

But was he right? Is this the best hot chocolate in Hobart? In my opinion, it is very close. But competition is healthy, so I expect it will not be long before this mantle is more closely contested.

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A Feast of hot chocolate and wintery yumminess

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Winter in Hobart conjures up images of rain, snow, blustery wind and grey skies. But inject Dark MoFo into this image, particularly Winter Feast, and this picture greatly warms and brightens.

It is that time of year where the rest of Australia it seems, converges on Hobart to take in as much food, beer, wine and art as they can. I typically skip the art and other bits and bobs going on around town, and just visit the ‘Feast’.  And this year my favourite restaurant, A Tiny Place, made its debut.  Aside from amazing food, A Tiny Place is the home of Hobart’s best hot chocolate (my opinion, of course, but I am right!).  On the opening night of the Feast, and with relatively mild weather (for winter anyway, and too warm for my thermal clothing overload), we secured a good spot right next to an open fire, ready to devour our serves of confit duck (from A Tiny Place).  But I was pacing myself, since A Tiny Place also had their fabulous hot chocolate on the menu, but with a very special addition – fried bread 🙂  This just sounded too good to resist.

So when it came time for dessert (which aside from always being a good idea, was also an excuse for a few minutes respite from the cracking fire), I made a beeline for the hot chocolate with fried bread. And it was superb! I know it sounds weird, but letting the crunchy bread sit in the hot chocolate and do its thing for a few minutes, was absolute perfection.  Sort of like churros in chocolate sauce but without the overload of sugar that comes with it.

Aside from the scrumptious food and hot chocolate that A Tiny Place serves, the service is always great, and Phillipe always takes time to say hi – even up to his eyeballs in busy-ness at Feast.

But don’t feel like you have missed your chance…Winter Feast continues next weekend (16, 17, 18 June 2017), so get your frozen bodies along and visit A Tiny Place (in the centre of the shed, right near the middle outdoor entrance – clear of the queues and bum shufflers 🙂 ), and say hi to Phillipe and the crew.

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Winter warmer: Hot chilli hot chocolate

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I have to take a short break from my holiday éclair hunt musings, to share this AWESOME news.  One of my long-term favourite places for hot chocolate in Hobart is Parklane, as my loyal readers (hello, you two!) would know.  I was out for a lunch stroll yesterday and decided to pop in for a hot chocolate treat.  Aside from the standard hot chocolate, they have also introduced rum hot chocolate (which I personally found a bit strong and not a great drink for a productive afternoon in the office!).  But yesterday, I noticed, they have a new arrival – chilli hot chocolate! 

In my (vast!) chilli hot chocolate experience, the addition of chilli can be a token gesture.  Normally more ‘meh’ than ‘yeah’.  But thinking back to the amount of rum Parklane added to hot chocolate, I suspected the chilli might really make its presence felt.  This overthinking on my part, certainly panned out. The chilli was unmissable and a great warmer (and sinus clearer!) on a freezing autumn day.  If you are a little chilli-wary, then perhaps this is not the drink for you, but if you don’t mind it hot, this is an amazing winter mood lifter.

Parklane Espresso
Parklane Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nomming on nama at Honey Badger

 

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I love Honey Badger and all its sweetness.  I am especially a fan of their Mörk hot chocolate – mainly because I have a stash of it at home. But like tea, hot chocolate is always nicer when some else makes it*. 

Recently, I went to Honey Badger for lunch (the shakshuka is yummo), but was mainly there to try their nama hot chocolate.  I had no idea what nama chocolate was, but it is pretty much ganache chocolate with double the amount of cream. So it’s healthy because cream comes from cows so it’s natural…and natural fats are good…and I am sure the cows were grass feed, happy girls…so the key message here is it’s healthy…OK?  That is sorted.  And ‘nama’ is pretty much the sound you make when you eat it….nammmmmaaaa.

I am also a fan of DIY hot chocolate, which is what the Honey Badger nama hot chocolate is.  Stab it, dunk it and swirl away. You can add as much chocolate as you like, which means all of it, obviously.  Personally I could have had another four pieces to really give it a boost.  It probably does not pass Mörk as my favourite at Honey Badger, but it’s good all the same.

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*Other people can make good hot chocolate providing they have good quality chocolate and know what they are doing…otherwise it can be disastrous.
Honey Badger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paris found in A Tiny Place

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After a long hiatus, my blog is back – right at the end of winter! I have kept up the search, but there has been a real lack of newcomers on the hot chocolate scene locally.  And a few old favourites have changed management, and the hot chocolates have suffered.

But I have some very exciting news – I have found Hobart’s best hot chocolate…possibly Australia’s. There is daylight between this hot chocolate and the others. In one sip I was immediately transported back to the cafés of Paris. So where is this heaven-on-earth establishment?  It’s called A Tiny Place, located in Battery Point, just off Hampden Road on Francis Street (it’s all cute and blue).

This is serious hot chocolate. A bowl (yes, a bowl) of it is a sufficient morning tea. It is thick, rich, and best consumed with a spoon (!).  And did I say it’s the best I have had in Australia?!

But aside from hot chocolate, A Tiny Place offers amazing French and Asian inspired food in beautiful surroundings (so stay for lunch or dinner…or breakfast, lunch and dinner!). The walls are adorned with beautiful chalk artwork, tables are set with satin napkins, and the staff are clearly proud to be part of Hobart’s classiest café.

Please go there 🙂 You won’t regret it.

A Tiny Place

20 Francis Street, Battery Point

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*photo lighting credit: Tegan

Catching up at Coal River Farm

It is always great to catch up with my bestie, Britt, when she is in town – we don’t get to see each other as much as we would like. But it feels like no time has passed at all when we do see each other and I am sure we could talk all day! I suppose this comes from being best friends since we were three or four 🙂

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Britt and I, back in the day 🙂

So what better way to spend a few hours catching up than over a hot chocolate? Rather than take Britt to one of my tried and tested hot chocolate haunts, I did some research (a Google) and found a new farm café that has recently opened near Richmond – the beautiful Coal River Farm. It had quite good reviews for just about everything, including the hot chocolate, and was an easy (even though I had not idea how to get ‘out’ of the eastern shore – thanks Britt for your expert navigation!) 15 minute drive to the stunning Coal Valley. It was just great to get out of the city, get some fresh air, take in some scenery and have a good chat.

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Credit must be given to Coal River Farm for making their own hot chocolate blends (dark, cinnamon and chilli) – it is easy to go to a café and have hot chocolate that has been bought, but rare to find a place that make their own. And you can buy it there to take home 🙂 I ordered a chilli hot chocolate to have with my baked eggs, and it was great! A really good chilli hit and a nice rich chocolate flavour. This really could be a meal on its own, since the glass is like a small beer jug (loved it!). I am not sure what Britt’s Earl Grey tea was like…it’s just as well we have been friends a long time is all I can say. Having tea when there is hot chocolate makes no sense to me (but a wise choice perhaps given her scones were enormous – think a small loaf of bread size).

Aside from amazing hot chocolate (including white on the menu – must try that next time), Coal River Farm has a beautiful selection of handmade chocolates and a great breakfast and lunch menu, packed with tasty options.

Coal River Farm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Off the wall hot chocolate at Vita: Nature + Culture

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This is the most excited I have been about hot chocolate in a long time. Possibly the most excited since my search in France. And it happened pretty much by accident. But an accident I am happy to have over and over…and over and over.

I was supposed to be staying at home to study (*boring*), but my sister convinced me to leave the house and head into town for a while and used the tried and tested lure of hot chocolate. She had heard about the hot chocolate at Vita: Nature + Culture ‘coming out of the wall’, so I was intrigued to see if the hot chocolate was set up like their self-serve frozen yoghurt machines (which I love – Mr Whippy eat your heart out!). I have learnt not to get too excited about ‘new finds’ – they have ended in disappointment too many times – and when we walked to the back wall with the mounted frozen yoghurt nozzles, there was no hot chocolate to be found 😦

As I turned to ask the staff about the hot chocolate, I spotted it tucked away behind the counter. It was not ‘in the wall’, but on the bench in a large vat swirling around. Before I committed to a full cup, the lovely guy working there offered me a small taste. Well, I only needed to have one sip to know I had hit absolute gold. I ordered a cup straightaway and then amidst all the excitement, I tried to explain how I search for hot chocolate and this was pretty much the bomb. I was trying to take a picture of the machine and correctly sensing a crazy-hot-chocolate-lady moment coming on, I was permitted to go behind the counter to check it out and take some pics 🙂 I love helpful staff who do not treat you like a weirdo (because I am quite sure that is how I was coming across – I know that because Jenna kept her distance and took a long time getting her frozen yoghurt). I cannot even describe how perfect this hot chocolate is, but I do know it is made from 2 Cow milk, cacao powder and single origin chocolate (there was a fourth ingredient but I had lost my mind by that point) and it tastes REALLY GREAT.

It is at this point that I need to thank Jenna, for two reasons. Firstly, for dragging me out of the house and reminding me about ‘the wall’ of hot chocolate, and secondly, for paying for my hot chocolate since I had left my purse at home…of all days!

To find out what Hobart’s (possibly Australia’s) greatest hot chocolate tastes like, head to Vita: Nature + Culture in Elizabeth Street. Oh, and the coconut frozen yoghurt is pretty special too.

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This is where it lives 🙂

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Vita: Nature + Culture Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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