Whether you prefer yours dark and bitter, smooth and sweet, or perhaps just downright boozy, you’re sure to find your perfect hot chocolate somewhere in Cardiff.
To help you discover yours, Jane Cook selects five of the best places in Cardiff to get a great hot chocolate.
This quirky, hipsterish veggie restaurant and late-night cocktail bar boasts a seasonal menu full of globally inspires dishes, but it’s the dedicated ‘Boozy Hot Drinks’ section of the menu which really floats my boat in the winter time.
An Almond Latte comes spiked with Amaretto, whilst a Coffee Mocha includes fresh cream and a cherry drizzle. The hot chocolates really are the star of the show though; pull up a chair in the casual dining room and enjoy a Coconut Hot Chocolate with Malibu and desiccated coconut sprinkles; or a Hazelnut and Orange Hot Chocolate, made with fresh orange rind and Grand Marnier liqueur.
213 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3JD, (029) 2047 3150, www.milgilounge.com
This uber-trendy coffee shop situated in the old Castle Arcade actually started life as ‘Barkers clothing’ but when business started to dry up, they decided to make the most of the coffee shop craze that has swept the nation and turned the shop into a café.
Since then, Coffee Barker has doubled in size and is full of mismatched leather furniture, wood panelling and exposed brick; it’s a delightful place to while away an hour or two during a trip to the city centre. Order yourself a cup of their white hot chocolate, and curl up in the corner for a spot of super-sweet indulgence.
Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BU, www.coffeebarker.co.uk
London’s favourite Mexican chain has recently opened their first Welsh branch – a trendy, three story restaurant complete with funky dangly lighting and a mezzanine tequila bar. Serving a vibrant menu of fresh, tapas-style, Mexican street-food, the service is quick and friendly and the food itself is surprisingly good value.
On the dessert menu are a number of naughty treats including salted caramel ice cream and hot churros with chocolate sauce, but my ‘dessert’ of choice is always the Chilli Chocolate Tequila Toddy. Hot, rich, dark molten chocolate is given Mexican twist with the addition of a shot of tequila and some fiery chilli, guaranteed to warm your cockles on a cold night.
51-53 The Hayes, St David’s Dewi Sant, Cardiff CF10 1GA, +44 (0) 29 2167 0414, www.wahaca.co.uk/locations/cardiff
Pettigrew Tea Rooms
The owner of this cute little tea room in Bute Park actually blogged about his dreams of opening a tearoom right up until he managed to make it happen – you can read the whole thing here. Understandably there were high hopes for Pettigrew from the start; but it has lived up to them all.
Inside, the tearoom buzzes with the sound of china cups and saucers chinking, whilst outside traditional cream teas, crumpets and ploughman’s lunches are scoffed on the patio. The Luxury Hot Chocolate is made with gourmet drinking chocolate and topped with fresh cream and dainty marshmallows – best enjoyed before a crisp winter’s walk in the castle grounds next door.
West Lodge, Bute Park & Arboretum, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BJ, www.pettigrew-tearooms.com
This chain of cosy coffee shops (owned by Wales’s largest brewery, Brains) has won Best UK Coffee Shop Chain five times in total, and it’s not hard to see why. An extensive menu of light bites and lunches sits alongside all of the usual coffees and teas you might expect, but there are also six different types of indulgent hot chocolate to choose from, available in each and every one of their 43 branches.
Alongside their standard, white and deluxe hot chocolates, you can also find the coconut flavoured ‘Bounty’, the hazelnut flavoured ‘Choc-full-o-nuts’ and my favourite, the minty ‘After Eight’, all of which come topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. There are often seasonal varieties available too; this month’s is the ‘Christmas Cracker’ with white hot chocolate and salted caramel syrup.
Various locations, www.coffee1.co.uk
• Jane Cook runs HungryCityHippy, an award-winning Cardiff and London-based food, travel and lifestyle blog with an ethical / eco-friendly focus. You can follow her on Twitter @HungryCityHippy and @janechicomendes
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