Saturday, October 31, 2009

GGB's 1958

This is a fairly new restaurant on Unley Road with an enigmatic name. Merkel and Myrtle visited for a coffee and hot chocolate one Saturday afternoon. There was plenty of seating inside and out. The restaurant was tidy and the black wicker chairs were comfortable.

Merkel order his hot chocolate that was perfectly behaved and Myrtle ordered a Vienna coffee that caused some dramas. The Vienna coffee was served in a tall glass. The whipped cream on top soon melted because of the heat of the coffee beneath. This caused an overflow but the glass was too hot to hold. Cloth napkins are a sign of a fine restaurant but Myrtle's napkin was not flexible enough for her to hold the glass and drink it easily. The waitress came to the rescue, wrapping a paper napkin around the glass in good origami style and provided milk to cool the drink.

The hot chocolate was $3.50 and came in a generous ceramic mug. There should have been more froth but it was tasty and finished with a light sprinkle of cocoa. The drink was chocolaty and consistent throughout but not particularly dark. There were no extras with this hot chocolate. No marshmallow, no saucer, no sugar and no spoon.

This venue seems to have closed and is now on the list of disappearing hot chocolate venues.

Friday, October 30, 2009

176 Bar & Grill

This restaurant is part of the Tiffins on the Park hotel on the corner of Greenhill Road and George Street. It was once the Hilton Hotel before the Hilton International chain came to Adelaide. Like the Hilton Brasserie and the Rendezvous Lounge 55 it could be considered a Hotel foyer restaurant. This is probably less grand than the others but it certainly provides a good environment for dining. With the walls and part of the ceiling made of glass and the swimming pool visible down one end it certainly gives the impression of space and luxury.

The hot chocolate was $4.10. It came in a glass with a wire handle. This type of glass seems fairly common. The Vittoria coffee company provides glasses in this style. This glass allows visibility of the drink so the drinkers can admire the colour of the froth and the drink, and not burn their fingers on the glass. The colour or the taste of the drink was probably not quite dark enough. The froth and sprinkle of chocolate was tasty. The waiter did ask whether there was enough chocolate powder in the drink. I am not sure whether he was proposing to give me another drink or just pour more powder in if I was not satisfied. Fortunately the drink was rich enough although it was milk chocolate flavour.
176 Bar & Grill, Tiffins on the Park Hotel & Suites on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 29, 2009

San Giorgios

This is another traditional Italian pizza and pasta place. There are a number to choose from on Rundle Street. The menu is on their website but not much more. San Giorgio's has not been established for quite as long as Fontana di Trevi but provides good table service and an authentic Italian atmosphere. There is plenty of seating inside and out.

The hot chocolate cost $3.50 and came in a glass with a wire handle. The creamy froth was tasty and there was a sprinkle of chocolate on top. The drink was chocolaty and creamy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well Bread Sandwiches

This sandwich bar looks tiny from the outside, but there is a reasonable amount of seating inside and out. The website and shop windows also promote its catering services.

The hot chocolate was $3.50 and came in a generous mug with a marshmallow. The white froth was tasty and was finished with a sprinkle of chocolate powder. The drink was milky and not as chocolaty as I would like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lars

Lars is one of a number of good licensed eating places along King William Road, Hyde Park. It has regular steak, schnitzel and fish specials. At night it was Dimly lit and there was a montage of pictures and posters over the walls.

The hot chocolate came in a generous red mug. It came with a pink and white marshmallow and cost $4.30. It had a good froth and plenty of chocolate powder sprinkled on top. The taste was creamy and sweet but not particularly rich. It was apparently made with a mixture of chocolate syrup and chocolate powder.

Hot Chocolate Extras

One of the burning questions for hot chocolate drinkers is what extras they can expect with their hot chocolate. If the you expect a marshmallow or two with your hot chocolate where can you go? The results of Merkel Marmaduke's research are below.

Out of 136 hot chocolate reviewed 86 hot chocolates had no extras. This is the majority or 63% of hot chocolates.

37 hot chocolates came with at least one marshmallow. These marshmallows did not come dunked or with any other extras.
• 19 came with a single marshmallow,
• 13 came with a pink and a white marshmallow,
• Four came with two white marshmallows (Hilton Hotel, Kappy's Café, Sky High Café and Muffin Break) and
• The Café Delicieuse hot chocolate came with a white and an orange marshmallow

Four hot chocolates came with a chocolate:
Cremorne Hotel (Wrapped Chocolate)
Duthy Street Deli (Button)
Jardine's on the Square (Wrapped Chocolate)
Square Café (Jaffa)

Three hot chocolates came with their marshmallows already dunked which is practice Merkel does not approve of. Three provided miscellaneous but disappointing variations on the theme such as
Three hot chocolates provided more desirable extras. These were:
For further details of all the hot chocolates on this blog and the extras that came with them check out the spreadsheet; either the Excel version or the CSV version. These files are always available in the right margin of this blog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ciao

This has always been a good location of an Italian Restaurant. Before adopting Ciao it was Marco Polo. It is just over the road from Fontana di Trevi on Pirie Street, another well established restaurant. The Décor of Ciao is getting a bit tired but it is comfortable and relaxed. It does a good range of Pastas, Pizzas and Calzone.

The hot chocolate came in Piazza D'Oro coffee cup with a mountain of froth with cocoa sprinkled on it. The hot chocolate itself was chocolaty and light. More like a Swiss style hot chocolate than the standard Italian hot chocolate. The cost was $3.50.
Ciao on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two More Bean Bars

According to the Bean Bar website there are eight Adelaide CBD locations of the Bean Bar. This must make it the most represented chain in Adelaide. Your reviewer has tried two Bean Bars previously one on Gouger Street and one on Flinders Street. The Bean bars are all decorated with a predominance of orange, but with some brown and some olive green. The indoor areas provide padded chairs and small tables. The standard hot chocolates are $3.30, $3.80 and $4.30 for different sized drinks and do not included marshmallows.

Fortunately on this visit your reviewer was able to dine in and therefore was able drink the hot chocolate out of a sensible glass. This receptacle suffers the problem that it burns patrons' fingertips unless the wrap-around napkin is employed but it is preferable to a paper cup.

At the Waymouth Street Bean Bar your reviewer tried the chilli hot chocolate. This was an excellent drink. The chocolate was dark and rich and had a brown froth. Most of the chilli was at the top but packed a good punch.

The Hindmarsh Square Bean Bar was a nice location but a disappointment when it came to the hot chocolate. Despite a good presentation with a froth and semicircle of chocolate the drink itself was weak and watery. Your reviewer is not sure whether the disparity is due to the type of hot chocolate or due to the barista. The mint chocolate in the Flinders Street Bean Bar and the chilli chocolate above was rich and chocolaty but the standard hot chocolate at Hindmarsh Square was poor.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gelatissimo, Gouger Street

This Gelato bar recently opened at Gouger Street, Adelaide in September. It is part of a national chain. There is another Gelatissimo at Rundle Street. The Gouger street shop provides a big range of delicious looking Gelati and also sells hot Gelati drinks which look intriguing but did not tempt Merkel on this day. As usual Merkel did not deviate from his mission of trying hot chocolates on behalf of the readers of this blog.

The hot chocolate was only three dollars and came in a small ceramic cup, decorated with white froth and a semicircle of chocolate powder. Other sizes were available. The taste was rich and unsweetened and required some use of the available sugar to make it palatable to Merkel. As in a previous posting this is not a problem. This was a good hot chocolate and would have done well in the Merkel awards. Gelatissimo will have to wait until the 2010 awards.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gillberries

I first learnt of Gillberries from another Adelaide Café blogger. This is a pleasant Café tucked away in fashionable Dulwich serving breakfasts and lunches. There is seating inside, outside and in a courtyard. Myrtle and Merkel found a table for two at the window inside and were pleasantly surprised to get attentive table service. The Café interior was a little noisy without many soft furnishings but it was a pleasant vantage point to watch the morning bustle.

The hot chocolate came in a glass with a tasty brown froth and sprinkling of chocolate on top. Pink and White marshmallows were also provided. Regular readers will know Merkel's complaint about hot glasses without handles. Napkins were available for sensitive fingertips. The hot chocolate was very rich and not at all sweet. It is always preferable to be bitter rather than sweet as sugar can always be added. In this case the two marshmallows were sufficient sweetness for this hot chocolate. The hot chocolate cost $3.50.

The hot chocolate was made with Altura chocolate powder. This has also been used at other venues reviewed such as Taldy-Kurgan but not used with the same concentration.
Gillberries on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Manto Cafe

The Manto Café is a busy Café on The Parade in Norwood.

The vienna chocolate was $4.00 and as normal was topped with whipped cream and cocoa. It is difficult to drink a good Vienna chocolate without getting cream on one's nose and Merkel has not yet perfected the technique. The hot chocolate had a coconut flavour but was still chocolaty. It came with a marshmallow.
Manto Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Merkel Award Winners 2009

The winners in of the Merkel Awards have been announced in five postings
Hot Chocolate Awards Economy Class
Hot Chocolate Awards Specialty Class (Part 1)
Hot Chocolate Awards Specialty Class (Part 2)
Hot Chocolate Awards Open Class (Part 1)
Hot Chocolate Awards Open Class (Part 2)

In the economy class category the winners were
The awards in category of specialty hot chocolates included:
Other single award winners were:
Our multiple award winners were:
  • Chocolate at No. 5 for best presentation in the specialty category and also for best presentation overall in the open category
  • Bracegirdles, Glenelg for the best chocolate experience in the specialty category and the best chocolate experience overall
  • Bracegirdles, Toorak Gardens for best tasting hot chocolate in the specialty hot chocolate category and the Gold Merkel for the best hot chocolate

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Bean, Irish Cream

The Chocolate Bean has a more extensive range of chocolate drinks than any other Café in Adelaide. The menu had changed from last time when Merkel had orange hot chocolate. The old menu is still on the Urban Spoon site but the new one is on the shop's own web site. The choices of hot chocolate include Plain, Spiced, Chilli, Amaretto, Aniseed, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cherry, Coconut, Gingerbread, Hazelnut, Irish Cream, Jasmine, Macadamia, Mint, Orange, Rose and Vanilla. In addition they sell flavours of ice chocolate, mocha chocolate drinks, chocolate soup, chocolate tea and hot chocolate with liqueur.

Merkel and Myrtle sat in comfort upstairs. Merkel had ordered the non-alcoholic Irish Cream hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was $4.80 for the medium sized mug. It was finished with a bubbly froth, a sprinkle of chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream. The chocolate was creamy but not too sweet. There was a coconut flavour. It was an enjoyable drink and was superior to the Irish cream hot chocolate recently sampled at Duffy's bakery.
Chocolate Bean on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hot Chocolate Awards Open Class (Part 2)

This final announcement of the Merkel awards 2009 will include three more awards
• Best hot chocolate (The Gold Merkel)

There will then be two special awards
• Kitchen Adventures award for the best home hot chocolate product
• Hall of fame award for best contribution to the art of making hot chocolates

The Gold Merkel nominations for the best hot chocolate for 2009 are:

The winner is Bracegirdles, Toorak Gardens.

Anyone following the Kitchen Adventures thread on this blog will know that there is not much sophistication in the kitchen of Merkel and Mytle Marmaduke. A good hot chocolate made in this home kitchen has to be good tasting and fairly difficult to get wrong. Honourable mention goes to Lucia's Hot Chocolate from Lucia's Home Made fine foods. The winner is Super Premium Sipping Chocolate from the Gingerelli Chocolate Company.

Hall of fame award for best contribution to the art of making hot chocolates goes to Kappy's Café for being an Adelaide tradition in tea, coffee and hot chocolate drinking. The photograph of hot chocolate in a long stemmed glass is a signature icon used by Merkel Marmaduke on Urban Spoon and a number of websites.

Congratulations to the Open class winners
You will be receiving your Merkel Award Certificate in the post. Stay tuned for a summary posting of all the winners.

Stax, 88 Flinders

Earlier, Merkel reviewed a Stax franchise on Flinders Street in the foyer of one of the large office buildings. This was at 60 Flinders Street. 50 Meters down the road at number 88 there is another Stax franchise. This one has its own shopfront. It has bigger serving counter but smaller seating area than the one at 60 Flinders Street. Merkel attended there recently making sure before he order that there was seating indoors on a cold an wet day. Unfortunately by the time he got served at the counter all the seats had disappeared. As the seating outside was not suitable for a wet and windy day, Merkel was forced to get take-away and disappear off to his office with his hot chocolate in a paper cup.

As with the 60 Flinders Street the costs of the hot chocolates were $3.40, $3.80 and $4.40. The paper cup was irritating and the chocolate powder decoration was not attempted. The hot chocolate was a light creamy flavour. While not particular dark it still provided warmth on a cold day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yet More Three Dollar Hot Chocolates

The three dollar hot chocolate venues keep coming. These are two late for the awards for economy class hot chocolate for 2009 but they are good for hot chocolate lovers with any eye on their budget.

Essential Café
This is a small Café with modern décor. It has seating indoors and outdoors. A hot chocolate is $3.00 a cup or $3.50 if you want marshmallow or more if you would like a mug. The cup of hot chocolate comes with froth heaped on top and sprinkle of cocoa. It was not the tastiest hot chocolate and a bit watery but it fits in the three dollar economy category.

Flamingo Coffee Lounge
This exotically named establishment is a sandwich bar in Pirie Street. It has bright orange walls and burgundy serving counter. There is plenty of seating and light. The meals are fresh and inexpensive.

The hot chocolate is $3.00 for a cup or $3.70 for mug. The hot chocolate comes in glass mug with a creamy froth and semi-circle of chocolate powder on top. The taste is milky and fairly weak.

Daily Planet
The Daily Planet is an odd looking snack bar attached to the tallest building in Adelaide which has variously been known as the State Bank building and the SANTOS building. I think Westpac have naming rights to this building at present. Daily Planet is a tiny circular attachment to the Westpac building and there is a bit of a superman theme running through the shop. There are only two tables inside but plenty of covered seating in the covered courtyard at the front of the shop. Your reviewer was fortunate to grab one of the seats inside on a cold day.

The hot chocolate was only three dollars and came in brown cup and saucer. It had a bubbly froth and sprinkle of chocolate. The drink itself was watery and not particularly tasty.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rendezvous Allegra, Lounge 55

Merkel and Mytle visited another hotel lounge recently. This was a similar grand lobby to the Hilton Hotel that they attended some weeks ago. The décor was impressive and the seating comfortable.

The menu was more expensive than the normal café and there were not many patrons, but the service was good and the mood was comforting on a cold day. The hot chocolate was four dollars and came in Vittoria glass with a wire handle and no marshmallow. There was lots of good tasting froth and sprinkle of chocolate. Plenty of froth is a good thing in a large cup or mug but it reduces the amount of drink available in a small glass. The drink itself was good though. It was a rich and creamy taste.

Hot Chocolate Awards Open Class (Part 1)

The open class of the 2009 Merkel Awards includes
• Best presentation
• Best dining experience
• Best chocolate experience
• Best standard hot chocolate
• Most photogenic hot chocolate

The award for best standard hot chocolate was added recently to give the standard hot chocolates an award like the specialty hot chocolates.

The final posting will include three more awards
• Best hot chocolate (The Gold Merkel)

There will then be two special awards
• Kitchen Adventures award for the best home hot chocolate product
• Hall of fame award for best contribution to the art of making hot chocolates

For the award of the best presented hot chocolate the nominations are:
  • Chocolate at No. 5 for a hot chocolate with "No. 5" on top of it.
  • Viva Espresso for the pink and white marshmallow and a pattern on the hot chocolate froth.
  • Cremorne Hotel for a wrapped orange chocolate a good froth and a sprinkle of chocolate.
  • Kappy's Café for the hot chocolate in a long stemmed glass, two marshmallows and plenty of froth.
Special mentions are due for the froth art work for Café Mondiali, Brunch and Monkey Nut Café. Presentation also takes into account extras (marshmallows or chocolates) and the style of the cup or mug the hot chocolate is served in.

The winner is the Chocolate at No. 5.

For the award of best dining experience involving hot chocolate the nominations are:
  • Cocolat, Rundle Street for the "top deck" milk chocolate and white hot chocolate drink and a great "Brandy Apricot" chocolate cake.
  • Blond Coffee for the hot chocolate in bowls.
  • Square Café provided a good Jaffa (orange flavour) hot chocolate and a view over Hindmarsh Square.
  • Highway Restaurant for friendly service, a good meal and a tasty, well presented hot chocolate.
The winner is Highway Restaurant.

For the award for best chocolate experience the nominations are:
The winner is Bracegirdles of Glenelg.

The nominations for best standard hot chocolate are:
The winner is Cremorne Hotel .

The photogenic award goes to the best looking photograph on Merkel's Hot Chocolate Dark Desires blog. These photographs are taken with unsophisticated equipment, so only the best hot chocolates will look any good. The nominations are:
Monkey Nut Café
Café Mondiali
Chocolate at No. 5
Funk Coffee, Frome St
The photos speak for themselves and are displayed below. The winner is Monkey Nut Café.














Saturday, October 17, 2009

Café Palazzo, Norwood

There are a couple of Café Palazzo's in Adelaide and they are both big efficiently run operations. The one on the Parade, Norwood has plenty of seating inside and out and provides a full menu of food and drink.

Your reviewer chose the Vienna hot chocolate which was $5.00. It came in a tall glass with handle and plenty of whipped cream on top with sprinkle of cocoa. The chocolate taste was milky with a coconut flavour.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bacchus Bar

Bacchus Bar is in a wonderful location. It is an old building overlooking the sea. There is plenty of seating and there is a relaxed seaside atmosphere. The venue is fully licensed and does liqueur hot chocolates but not for breakfast as they only can serve alcohol after 11:00am.

The Bacchus Bar standard hot chocolate comes in a tall glass with a handle, white froth on top and a marshmallow. The flavour of the drink seemed to mostly come from chocolate syrup and required a stir to get any chocolate flavour out of it. The syrup made the drink too sweet, but nevertheless your reviewer could have sat there for ages looking across the waves in the sea air.
Bacchus Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Hot Chocolate Awards Specialty Class (Part 2)

Previously this site has announced the awards for the economy class hot chocolates and announced some awards in the Specialty Category. Here we announce the Best Vienna hot chocolate, the best Italian hot chocolate and the overall winner for the best tasting hot chocolate in the specialty category.

The nominations for the award of best Vienna hot chocolate are:

The winner is Funk Coffee, Waymouth St

The nomination for best Italian hot chocolate are:

The winner is Adelaide Coffee Bar

The nominations for best tasting hot chocolate in the specialty hot chocolate category are:

An honourable mention goes Spats Café. for a wonderful liqueur hot chocolate but the winner is Bracegirdles, Toorak Gardens.

Congratulations to the Specialty Category Winners

You will be receiving your Merkel Award Certificate in the post. Stay tuned for more Merkel Awards.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Duffy's Bakery, Unley

This is a pleasant Unley Road bakery which has a liquor license and provides a range of coffees and hot chocolates. There is plenty of seating inside and outside. Patrons can select something to eat from a long menu of pies and pastries.

The standard hot chocolate was $3.30 for a cup or $4.30 for mug. An extra 70 cents was charged for added syrup in one of three flavours; vanilla, hazelnut or Irish cream. Merkel chose a cup of hot chocolate with Irish cream flavour hoping to emulate the hot chocolate with Baileys experience he had at Spats. The hot chocolate came with a white froth and a marshmallow. Unfortunately the Irish cream flavour is just not the same without the alcohol and the drink was too sweet. It probably would have been a more satisfying drink without the syrup.

Chau Colat

This is Belgian hot chocolate on a stick. Chau Colat comes in a small plastic packet and it looks like a lollipop. I expect the name is a French pun as Chaud is French for hot. The chocolate on a stick looks impressive with a little drink cup rendered in light and white chocolate.

To turn Chau Colat into hot chocolate requires the drinker dip it into a cup of hot milk (heated to 75 degrees) and stir it. For a similar review see Chocablog. Kath at Chocablog probably does a better photo.

Your reviewer purchased this treat from Chocolates on Parade in Norwood. Chau Colat cost $4.30 for a single hot chocolate so this is pretty expensive for a home made drink but the taste was good, dark and Belgian.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Café Paradiso

The Café Paradiso website advises that this Café was inspired by the film Cinema Paradiso and that the Café was a pioneer in providing al fresco dining on King William Road. Cinema Paridiso is one of the most famous Italian films. It is a beautiful film about love, nostalgia and pursuit of life goals. These are eminently suitable characteristics for a café to attempt to invoke.

The hot chocolate cost $4.20 and comes in a generous ceramic cup with white and pink marshmallows. It comes with a tasty brown froth and a sprinkle of chocolate. The drink was rich and dark but did not evoke any particularly chocolaty flavours. However, it was comforting to see the white and pink marshmallow again which your reviewer last encountered at Swiss Glory and the Black Wattle Café.

Lucia's Hot Chocolate

Lucia's has a store as well as a coffee shop in their Central Market location. Lucia's sell their powdered hot chocolate in the store. There were no directions on how to make the hot chocolate on the pack so your reviewer added about four teaspoons of hot chocolate powder to some hot milk and then added a couple more until the taste was right. It was a good chocolaty taste.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Organics to Go

This is a café and grocery at the Hills end of the Glen Osmond Road. The shop is split into the organic grocery and a café area with plenty of comfortable seating. The walls are adorned with some impressive local art.

The hot chocolate comes in generous ceramic cup with a white froth and sprinkle of cocoa. The taste was rich and chocolaty. It was most the chocolaty organic hot chocolates your reviewer has tasted.

Chocolate Week in the UK

It is chocolate week in the UK from October 12 to 18 2009. They are having chocolate dinners, chocolate tastings and demonstrations by chocolate experts. Some things of interest to chocolate drinkers might be
  • Louise Thomas, of The Chocolate Consultant will demonstrate how to make three hot chocolates, Aztec, European and Single Origin Hot Chocolate Blocks from chocolate shop Melt.
  • This is followed by hot chocolate day at Melt.
  • Complimentary hot chocolates for Breakfast at Una Hotel.
  • Chococo Hot Chocolate World Tour where patrons can discover the world of hot chocolates without leaving Chococo in Dorset.
  • The Tequila Master class with a chocolate twist.
  • Head Chef of Mint Leaf Restaurant Group in London creating an incredible feast of chocolate and curry dishes served with extraordinary chocolate cocktails.
  • At Hoxton Apprentice Guests are encouraged to pop in to the restaurant and peruse a chocolate-inspired menu, sip a free chocolate cocktail and nibble on the free chocolates.
What a pity Merkel's passport will not be ready in time for this event.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Serves You Right

This small café on Unley Road has a full range of breakfasts. It has some seating inside and a covered courtyard with more seating. Patrons can have a hot chocolate with a marshmallow or shot coffee for $3.70. Mugs were available for $5.00. Merkel chose the marshmallow option. The hot chocolate came in generous ceramic cup with a homemade marshmallow. The drink had froth and a sprinkle of chocolate on top. The drink itself was a bit weak and watery but the marshmallow was tasty.

Serves you right is now a disappearing hot chocolate venue.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hot Chocolate Awards Specialty Class (Part 1)

A Specialty hot chocolate is one that is identified as something other than the standard hot chocolate. The award is selected from those specialty hot chocolates reviewed on this website and include

  • Vienna hot chocolate (topped with cream)
  • Swiss hot chocolate (chocolate variety)
  • Belgian hot chocolate (chocolate variety)
  • Chilli hot chocolate for that added spice
  • Orange hot chocolate
  • Liqueur hot chocolate
  • Organic hot chocolate, and
  • A few miscellaneous hot chocolates such as marshmallow topped hot chocolate, white hot chocolate and ginger hot chocolate.
The awards in the category of specialty Hot Chocolate will include:

  • Best dining experience in the category
  • Best presentation in the category
  • Best unique specialty
  • Best chocolate experience in the category
  • Best Vienna hot chocolate
  • Best Italian hot chocolate
  • Best tasting hot chocolate in the category
This is a fairly large category so this posting will only cover the first four awards and a second posting will cover the last three. The nominations for best dining experience in the specialty category are:
  • Chianti Classico for the hot chocolate in a fine restaurant
  • Cikolatte for the chilli hot chocolate in Turkish theme coffee shop
  • Cocolat, Rundle Street for the "top deck" milk chocolate and white hot chocolate drink and a great "Brandy Apricot" chocolate cake
  • Square Café provided a good Jaffa (orange flavour) hot chocolate and a view over Hindmarsh Square
The winner is Square Café .


The nominations for the award of best presentation in the specialty category are:
The winner is Chocolate at No. 5.


The nominations for the best unique hot chocolate specialty are:
The winner is Bliss.


The nominations for best chocolate experience in the specialty category are:
While XO Supper Club deserves an honourable mention the winner is Bracegirdles of Glenelg.


Congratulations to the winners and stay tuned for the second part of the Specialty class of the Merkel Awards.

Square Café

This is a very pleasant Café with plenty of seating indoors looking out on to the East side of Hindmarsh Square. The seating is comfortable and spacious and the piped music is soothing. The Café does a range of light meals and sandwiches.

The hot chocolate cost $4.00 for a standard hot chocolate and $4.30 for a Vienna hot chocolate. Merkel opted for the Vienna hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was topped with light whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa. It also came with a marshmallow. This was a reasonable hot chocolate with a milky taste but the best part of the experience was the comfortable surroundings.

Merkel noticed while sipping his Vienna chocolate that Square Café also did a Jaffa hot chocolate. This situation demanded a return on the following day. The Jaffa is an Australian and New Zealand confectionary made by Allen's and Cadbury. It is a chocolate covered with an orange flavoured coating. The hot chocolate was finished with a tasty white froth with a sprinkle of chocolate in the shape of a star. The drink was the best orange hot chocolate that Merkel has tasted and beats the Chocolate Bean and the home made orange-hazelnut chocolate. The Jaffa hot chocolate probably cost about $4.80 and came in a generous ceramic mug with an Allen's Jaffa as an extra.

This venue seems to have closed and is now on the list of disappearing hot chocolate venues.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cocolat, Rundle Street

Your reviewer had his long awaited visit to the Cocolat Rundle Street store recently. After a couple of attempts where the shop was full he finally chose time that was less busy. The Rundle Street venue is better geared up for a large Café trade than their other outlets at Hyde Park and Balhannah which have been reviewed previously. The surroundings are luxurious and comfortable with comfortable soft chairs and mood lighting.

As with the Balhannah outlet there were hot chocolates to choose from such as chilli, white, mocha and top deck. Merkel chose the top deck hot chocolate which is named after the Cadbury chocolate bar that combines milk chocolate and white chocolate in the same chocolate bar. The Cocolat Top Deck is made by putting white chocolate syrup in the glass followed by dark chocolate syrup followed but your standard hot chocolate mixture. The drink was finished with a thin forth and a sprinkle of chocolate flakes and served with a marshmallow. This hot chocolate cost $4.50 and came in a tall glass with a handle.

The hot chocolate was too milky for Merkel's taste and the chocolate syrups seemed more gimmicky than a true taste sensation. The real success of the trip was the individually made "Brandy Apricot" dessert that was purchase with the hot chocolate. This chocolaty yet fruity cake was delicious.
Cocolat on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 9, 2009

Café Presto

This Café is in the Arkaba shopping centre tucked in behind the Arkaba hotel. This is a pleasant modern café with lots of big windows. The waitress seemed to be finding the early Saturday morning disagreeable but delivered the food and drinks efficiently.

The hot chocolate came in a big ceramic cup with a fluffy white froth and a sprinkling of cocoa in the middle. A marshmallow was also provided in the $3.20 cost. The hot chocolate was a milk chocolate flavour but was not particularly chocolaty.

Hot Chocolate Awards Economy Class

The Hot Chocolates in this class cost three dollars or less.

Economy Class Hot Chocolate (Three dollars or less)

  • Best dining experience in the category
  • Best presentation in the category
  • Best chocolate experience in the category
  • Best tasting Hot Chocolate in the category
The nominations for best dining experience in the economy category are:
The winner is Cocolat, Hyde Park .


The nominations for best presentation of a hot chocolate in the economy category are:
  • Brunch for a well executed spider web on the froth.
  • Lunch'n Latte for a the pattern illustrated in the photo.
  • Earl of Leicester for knowing how to wrap a napkin around a glass to stop your reviewers fingers from being burnt.
The winner is Lunch'n Latte


The nominations for best chocolate experience in the economy category are:
The winner is Providore, Central Market.


The nominations for best tasting hot chocolate in the economy category are:
The winner is Pat-a-cake Bakehouse Cafe.


Congratulations to Pat-a-cake Bakehouse Café, Providore, Central Market, Lunch'n Latte and Cocolat, Hyde Park. You will be receiving your Merkel Award Certificate in the post. Stay tuned for more Merkel Awards.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Pancake Kitchen

The Pancake Kitchen is an Adelaide icon which has stood the test of time. It is one of the most enduring all-night establishments in South Australia and created a model that was used in other states in Australia. Details have changed over the years but it still has a similar menu to when it started and provides good value meals around the clock. One innovation is the live Webcam on its website which shows the table at which Merkel and Myrtle sat when they dined at the restaurant earlier this week.

The Pancake Kitchen has a menu based around pancakes which most people think of as a dessert. Merkel therefore had an expectation that the restaurant might do something special when it came to hot chocolate. He was not disappointed. The menu had a standard hot chocolate for $3.50, a Vienna hot chocolate for $5.00 but also a marshmallow cocoa for $5.00. The marshmallow cocoa was a hot chocolate topped with home made marshmallow. It came in a tall glass with a handle, topped with an iceberg of marshmallow. The apology from the waitress suggested that the marshmallow topping usually was presented a little more elegantly. It was a block of marshmallow which came out of the glass at an angle and was topped with a sprinkling of cocoa. This presented a challenge to the drinker. The marshmallow and the chocolate beneath it tasted good. The light sticky marshmallow balanced well with the chocolaty drink. The challenge of negotiating the drink with strategic sips and teaspoons of marshmallow was part of the appeal.
Original Pancake House on Urbanspoon

Orange Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

Merkel attempted the recipe on the outside of the can of the Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa Chocolate Hazelnut the other night. Regular readers may be aware that Merkel did not particularly enjoy this hazelnut hot chocolate so the attempt at a recipe would both help use up the chocolate powder and provide and opportunity to try a new taste sensation. Generally the mixture of orange and chocolate works well especially in dark chocolate.

The recipe called for the making the hot chocolate with the peel of one orange and then disposing of the peel before drinking. In this case it did not impart enough orange flavour in the hot chocolate and did not really help the sweet taste of the hazelnut hot chocolate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Taldy-Kurgan

Taldy-Kurgan also known as "Taldykorgan" is the administrative centre of Kazakhstan but is also the name of stall 3 in the Adelaide Central Market. On the sign outside the stall they advertise Eurasian food and organic coffee. This seemed to include some Russian dishes, omelettes and other light meals.

Your reviewer has also resorted to Wikipedia to work out what they might mean by Eurasian food. Eurasia is the geographical combination of Europe and Asia. The term also refers to people of mixed European and Asian ancestry. It is also a form of fusion cuisine that combines styles of cooking from Europe and Asia. Given the name of the stall I expect the food was fairly typical of the Kazakhstan region.

This background is all pretty irrelevant for this review. While your reviewer purchased the hot chocolate from the Taldy-Kurgan stall he enjoyed a curry from the Malacca Corner nearby. The hot chocolate was quite delicious though. It was a creamy Swiss style hot chocolate. It came in a tall glass with a handle and was $3.50. It had a good froth and a sprinkle of chocolate on top.
Taldy-Kurgan on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Caffe Amore

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's Amore

Amore is another one of those Cafés that seems to have confusion about the spelling of Café and Caffè. Café is the French spelling and has been adopted into English as standard spelling for a coffee-house or restaurant. Caffè is the Italian spelling. Interestingly if one translates Café from English to Italian with babelfish one gets Caffè. Translating Caffè from Italian back to English yields "Coffee". Amore has a URL of cafeamore but the web site itself refers to it as Caffè Amore. Other Cafés that use both spellings in different situations within the store and on the web are Caffè Como, Café Dolci and Caffè Buongiourno.

The last time Merkel Marmaduke sat in Caffè Amore was when it was Fleet Street Café and across the road was The Left Bank coffee shop. Both were innovators in their day and well patronised eating establishments. Now the Left Bank building has been knocked down and a number of financial institutions have taken its place. Fleet Street was extensively renovated to become Caffè Amore but still has plenty of seating, good food and table service.

Merkel ordered his usual hot chocolate and received it in a glass with a handle. It had a good froth and a sprinkle of chocolate on top. The hot chocolate had a hazelnut flavour. It was reasonably rich but the sweetness of the hazelnut hot chocolate does not appeal to Merkel. The hot chocolate cost $3.50.

When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, that's Amore
Caffe Amore on Urbanspoon

That's Amore Lyrics as performed by Dean Martin available from http://www.metrolyrics.com/thats-amore-lyrics-dean-martin.html. The songwriters were Harry Warren and Jack Brooks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Café Delicieuse

This Café is tucked away in Wyatt Street just off Grenfell Street one of the busier parts of Adelaide. There is plenty of seating on two levels inside Café Delicieuse and some seating on the footpath. The décor is modern. There is plenty of art on the walls and reading material in magazine racks. The menu is mainly light meals perhaps a bit more upmarket than your usual café.

The hot chocolate was $3.80 and came in a generous ceramic mug. The mug came with two marshmallows; one white and one orange. This was only the second time your reviewer has encountered an orange coloured marshmallow having recently encountered one at Café Symphony. The waitress could not tell me what flavour it was. Your reviewer gave Myrtle, his partner for lunch, the challenge of working out the flavour. She was not much help. The hot chocolate was pleasingly creamy and tasty. It could have been more chocolaty. The drink was served with a good froth and a sprinkle of chocolate.

Merkel Awards Cerficate

The Certificate design has been finalized for the upcoming Merkel Awards. Below is and image of the certificate that the deserving winners can expect to receive.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Café Fresh

This Café is at the base of "the black stump" 25 Grenfell Street. There are a few tables inside and some tables on the plaza outside which is pleasant when the weather is good.

Café Fresh had a standard hot chocolate for $3.90 and the Vienna hot chocolate for $5.00. As Merkel needed to watch his pennies this lunchtime he opted for the standard hot chocolate. The froth sat like fluffy clouds on the top of the hot chocolate and was covered in a sprinkle of cocoa. The drink was watery and unsubstantial and did not include marshmallows.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fasta Pasta, Adelaide

Now that the original Fasta Pasta in Pirie Street is closed the only one in the Adelaide CBD is at the corner of South Terrace and Pulteney Street. This restaurant has always been a favourite for the Marmaduke family. It offers a range of good tasting evening meals and delivers them quickly. The surroundings are comfortable and the Gelati is always a favourite with the little Marmadukes.

The hot chocolate is available at only $2.80 for a cup and $4.00 for a "Grande" mug. The cup is a Ducale coffee cup and comes with bubbly froth and a sprinkle of chocolate. The drink seemed too overly hot and the taste was watery. This is one of the cheapest hot chocolates you can get in town with the espresso bar froth but there are better tasting hot chocolates for three dollars and under.
Fasta Pasta on Urbanspoon

Ecco Espresso Bar

Ecco Espresso is at the entrance to the arcade between Victoria Square and the Adelaide Central Market. The décor is good with some original art hanging on the walls and there is plenty of seating inside and out. It serves light meals and a range of coffees.

Ecco does both the standard hot chocolate and Vienna hot chocolate for $3.50. As the upcoming Merkel Awards include a category for Vienna chocolate your reviewer decided to try the Vienna. This came in a Coffex coffee cup with a modest heap of cream on top sprinkled with cocoa. The taste was not particularly chocolaty and will not fare very well at the upcoming awards.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Doof Doof

This shop with the motto "We know food backwards" is an organic restaurant and food store. This small café has comfortable seating and a attractive décor. Kitchen utensils from a bygone era create some of the decoration on the walls.

The hot chocolate is not on the menu but they were happy to do one. It was $3.50 and came in a big ceramic cup. The froth was good and well decorated with a semicircle of chocolate on top. The drink itself had a dark chocolate flavour but could have been more chocolaty. As with Bliss and Café Symphony there is an added benefit that your hot chocolate is organic. Both Bliss and Doof Doof are also in the Australian green dictionary.


Doof Doof on Urbanspoon