So Chocolate week was last month. It’s a week which has taken place for the last 11 years from 12-18 October, organised by Sylvie Douce and Francois Jeantet – the founders of Salon du Chocolat (an international chocolate trade fair). Sadly, however, whilst London was treated to demonstrations across the city and tastings in every other chocolate shop, Edinburgh didn’t experience the hype quite so much, meaning that the majority of us missed out on all the chocolatey goodness.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean our chance to indulge in sweet treats is lost behind us, and to make up for any loss, here is a list of the best spots in Edinburgh to get your cocoa fix.
To begin with, if it is hot chocolate you’re after then Peter’s Yard is the place to try. Their Cardamom Hot Chocolate has a hint of citrus which complements the sweetness like nothing else. It goes perfectly with a pastry and the café is only a few minutes’ walk from George Square.
The Chocolate Lounge in Harvey Nichols on St Andrew Square must also get a mention for being a chocoholic’s dream come true. If you’ve ever been to YO! Sushi, you’ll be familiar with their conveyor belt system: imagine that but with all things chocolate! Their products range from fondue to chocolate cocktails, and even chocolate sandwiches – whilst it might not be a cheap experience, it is certainly one we know we all want to try.
Then there is the Chocolate Tree, situated at 123 Bruntsfield Place. They claim to be the only chocolatiers in Edinburgh to work right from the raw cocoa bean up to the bar. So it makes sense that all their chocolate is organic – not to mention delicious. In addition, if you are interested in more than just the taste of your chocolate, the Chocolate Tree offer guided chocolate tastings in which you get to partake in the journey of a cacao bean from bean to bar.
Nevertheless, celebrating this delicacy doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune or venture out to fancy chocolate shops. If you’d rather do some creating of your own then here’s an idea to create your own ode to chocolate from your own kitchen. This 30 minute, microwaved chocolate cake is not only delicious but doesn’t take long to put together and serves just enough for you and one other. Or just you, I won’t judge.
The ingredients for the cake: ½ cup sugar, 7 tablespoons all purpose flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, ¼ cup milk, 2 tablespoons canola oil, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons water. For the frosting you’ll need: 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, 3 tablespoons cocoa, ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk.
First, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then mix in all the wet ingredients. When all the ingredients are fully combined, evenly distribute the mixture between three mugs. Put each mug in the microwave individually for 1 minute on high power (900W). Turn the mugs upside down onto a chopping board and the cooked cake should drop right out. When all three cakes are out of the mugs, put them in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool them down. Whilst the cakes cool, you can make the frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients and whisking either using an electric whisk or by hand. When the frosting is light and fluffy, take the cakes out of the freezer and add a layer to each before stacking the cakes ontop of each other.
Et voila, your own délicieux chocolate cake. A perfect recipe to keep on hand either for celebrating special occasions or just for appreciating the beautiful creation that is chocolate.
Image credit: Korona Lacasse