While I do love a good cup of tea, I am also an inveterate cocoa drinker. A mug of Ovaltine goes a long way on a chilly winter night, but right now I’m craving a bowl of scrumptiously delicious Aztec hot chocolate from “La Jacobine” in Paris. La Jacobine is a snug little cafe nestled on a narrow street which branches off the sizable Boulevard St. Germain, a major route which transects the heart of Paris.
Within walking distance of my French university, the bookstores of Boulevard St. Michel, and the famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop, La Jacobine and its chocolat chaud aztèque became part of my Parisian routine. A trendy spot, the employees of the cafe were not always pleased to have customers sitting and reading at their tables with only a measly cup of hot chocolate–particularly ones who wore far too much color to be French. La Jacobine has a famous, rather historic neighbor, Café Procope, the oldest Parisian restaurant in continuous operation. Watering hole of notable thinkers Diderot, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson among others, Procope puts the lineage of my cozy little cocoa shop to shame.
Nonetheless, La Jacobine’s Aztec hot chocolate is a confectionery wonder. Dangerously decadent, almost undrinkably thick, and topped with Chantilly cream, it slides down your throat like lava pouring over the sides of a volcano. What makes this cocoa extra special, however, are the spices that La Jacobine uses: they claim to go by the traditional Aztec recipe. Fear not if you shrink from spicy things–this marriage of chocolate and spice is suitable for any palate. As an added bonus, the chocolate coated spices help clear up your sinuses, proving to be a delectable way to combat the winter sniffles.
If you are suddenly craving Aztec hot chocolate, but are not within easy walking distance of Paris, fear not. I recently found some in the United States at a natural, independent supermarket. It’s not nearly as rich as the hot chocolate at La Jacobine, but it is still very good. While I cannot say whether they use the same spices as our friends in Paris, their cocoa came with an ingredient list. Mix some cinnamon, vanilla, and cayenne pepper in with your next cup of cocoa and taste the difference.
Are you a foodie armchair traveler? Take a look at these gorgeous pictures of La Jacobine’s chocolat chaud aztèque on La Godiche’s French food website (I’m so happy I found this cite, it’s really fantastic. La Godiche is my hero of the week):
Want to taste Aztec hot chocolate before you try to make some of your own. Here’s the brand I found and enjoy. Added bonus: It’s Gluten-Free:
*The pictures above come from the scrapbook I painstakingly compiled after living a year in Paris. Thus ended my desire to become a scrapbooker.