Friday, January 31, 2014

American Candy Stand, Choc Peanut Butter Thickshake

Merkel and Myrtle returned the American Candy Stand Cupcake Café in Norwood recently.  The concept of providing a USA themed dessert café seems to be enduring.  They even have a young waitress with an American accent.

Merkel chose the chocolate and Reese’s peanut butter thick shake for chocolate drink of choice on this occasion.  This was served in a tall glass, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  It was served with a straw which double as a spoon as it had a plastic spoon at one end.  This was a creamy, tasty drink.  It was not hugely chocolaty but the peanut and chocolate flavours were in good balance.  The cost was $6.90.
American Cupcake Diner on Urbanspoon

Chocolateria san Churro, Marion

Chocolateria san Churro has a café in Marion shopping centre.  It is shop 2052b on the second level near the cinemas.  I attended there recently to receive my free Churros for two with dipping chocolate as it result of it being my Birthday.  Marion Shopping Centre has a large san Churro with similar décor to the shops in Gouger Street and Rundle Street.

This time I chose the dark courverture hot chocolate.    This was served in the san Churro mug and saucer. This was delicious rich chocolate flavour with no frills.  The cost was $5.95.  It went down well with the Churros and dipping chocolate.
Chocolateria San Churro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Pour

This little coffee shop is at 111 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide is providing retail coffee as well as providing a cafe.  The the First Pour name of is well hidden, etched into the window above the front door.  The Veneziano branding is a lot more prominent which is why this posting was titled "Veneziano" originally.  It has seating inside and on the footpath.  In addition to coffee it provides coffee makers and barista training.

The hot chocolate came in a black ceramic cup and saucer with a stylish teaspoon.  It was topped with froth and a sprinkle of chocolate powder.  It was creamy and had an unmistakable Belgian chocolate flavour.  The cost was $5.50 but the drink was worth the expense.

First Pour on Urbanspoon

2 Delicious

Merkel and Myrtle recently visited the 2 Delicous Café near the busy intersection of Payneham and Portrush Roads. The address is 2/356 Payneham Road, Payneham.  This was probably part of the reason for the name.  The other reason would that this is renovated deli.  Change delicatessens into Cafes seems to be commonplace as the old corner store goes out of fashion as we all become more mobile.  This has happened with the Duthy Deli and the Young Street Café for instance.  2 Delicious is a family owned Café and there is plenty of seating and many choices on the menu.

The hot chocolate was served in a glass with handle and a saucer.  It was topped with a froth and sprinkle of chocolate powder.  It was light chocolate flavour and too weak for Merkel’s taste.  The cost was $3.40.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Birdcage Cafe

Merkel and Myrtle visited the Birdcage Café in Rundle Street recently.  This is a nicely decorated dessert café.  It provides some wonderful looking desserts on the menu and a few savoury items as well.  Merkel and Myrtle indulged in the Chocolate Fondue for two.  The chocolate was good and the there was a wide selection of nibbles to dip in it.

The Birdcage does a range of flavours of hot chocolate including hazelnut, raspberry and white chocolate.  Merkel chose the orange flavour hot chocolate.    This was served in a Birdcage theme mug with a marshmallow.  It was topped with a thin froth and a sprinkle of chocolate powder.  The orange flavour was strong but unfortunately the chocolate was thin and weak.  The cost was $4.95.

Birdcage Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Village Baker, Black Forest

The Village Baker is a small bakery in the Black Forest Village shopping centre at 725 South Road looking across to the Glandore Oval.  The Village Baker focusses on the take away trade so there is not much seating.  Four bar stools inside and a couple of tables outside.

The hot chocolate came in Genovese branded ceramic cup and saucer.  The drink was well presented with a white froth and an even sprinkle of chocolate powder but it was too weak and too sweet.  The cost was $4.10.

Village Baker on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Paparazzi, Iced

Paparazzi was a cool place to visit on a warm day.  Merkel and Myrtle had been there before and wanted to escape the summer heat.  Paparazzi have a good menu and plenty of seating inside and out.  They have friendly service and have a waitress that looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The iced chocolate came in a tall glass, topped with vanilla gelato, whipped cream and sprinkle of chocolate powder.  A spoon and a straw were provided.  The taste was cool but the chocolate syrup was fairly sweet.  Still it was pleasant drink on a hot day.  The cost was $6.50.

Opie’s Bakery Café

This café is at 378 Unley Rd, Unley Park.  It is large bakery with plenty of seating inside and out.  You can buy bread, cakes, pies and whole range of bakery goods.  This is a traditional bakery with a comfortable café.

The hot chocolate cost four dollars and came in a glass with a handle and saucer.  It was nicely presented with a white froth and a dump of chocolate powder on top.  The flavour was chocolaty enough and was a pleasant milk chocolate flavour.

Opie's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 27, 2014

Café Ambra

Café Ambra is in the Mitcham Square Shopping centre.  It has previously been a Billy Baxter’s outlet.  It is now a slightly more upmarket café with friendly table service and some more substantial meals.

The hot chocolate came in a black ceramic mug and saucer.  A marshmallow was provided in the saucer and drink was topped with a white froth and a sprinkle of chocolate powder.  The cost was $4.40 and the drink had a good milk chocolate flavour.

Colin & Co, Rundle Place

Colin & Co is a café at the Grenfell Street entrance of Rundle Place.  The décor is minimal but stylish and there a range of seating options.  There are a number of light meals available including sandwiches, salads and lunch boxes.

The hot chocolate was $3.90 and came in custom ceramic cup and saucer topped with froth and a sprinkle of chocolate powder.  The drink was a good dark chocolate flavour.
Colin & Co. on Urbanspoon

North Terrace Cultural Precinct

Sightseeing Highlights
  • Art Gallery of SA
  • SA Museum
  • Migration Museum
Chocolate Highlight
  • Cocolat, Rundle Place
  • Balaena Cafe
  • Chris Jarmers@Air
  • Rundle Plaza
  • Rundle Mall
This tour is to be undertaken on foot.  The northern side of North Terrace contains some of the most prestigious buildings in Adelaide.  Starting from the East we have the Botanic Gardens and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.  Then there is the old Brookman building of the University of South Australia, Bonython Hall and the Elder Conservatorium of Music in the Adelaide University, then we have the Art Gallery, Museum and State Library.  Heading further east we than have Government House, Parliament House, the Train Station and Casino.

We start our tour at the Art Gallery of South South Australia which is a grand old building.  Entrance to the gallery is free for most exhibits and  you can spend hours looking through the collections in this gallery.

The next building to west is the Museum which is set back from North Terrace with a fountain and lawns in front of it.  The museum houses many exhibits including natural history, Egyptian relics, meteors and Pacific cultures.  The Balaena Cafe is near the front of the building past the large whale skeleton.

If you wanted a fine restaurant at which to dine at this point then you good consider Chris Jarmers@Air on the opposite side of North Terrace.

Next we head west past the State Library to the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue.  We head north down Kintore Avenue until we get past the State Library where we turn off to visit the Migration Museum at 82 Kintore Avenue. Australia has been shaped by the migrants who have come here and this museum documents their history and their history.

If you wanted to spend some time outside you could head further north to the Woman's Memorial Gardens, the Parade Ground and the River Torrens.  For this tour though we will head south along Kintore Avenue, past Government House and the war memorial to the west.  Cross at the lights over to Gawler Place and keep going South until your reach Rundle Mall.

Rundle Mall is Adelaide's premier shopping precinct.  There is much here to do for the avid shopper however after you visit to the North Terrace Cultural precinct its probably time to sit down and have some good chocolate.  I suggest you go to Cocolat in Rundle Place.  Walk east along Rundle Mall and you will find the escalators from Rundle Place on your right.  Descend the escalators to the lower ground floor and walk to Cocolat booth in the food court.

ChocAdelaide Instructions
ChocAdelaide Version 2 or higher (available for download)
  • Tap "Merkel's Tours" from the overflow menu.  
  • Tap the "Select Locations" button under "North Terrace Cultural Precinct".

Version 1

Show all the locations within 300 metres of the South Australian Museum.  
  • Ensure you are using "Closest First" order
    • Tap "Menus" on the action bar, "Settings", "List Order of Locations", "Closest First"
  • Search for location "South Australian Museum"
    • Tap "Search" on the action bar,  Tap "Clear", Enter "Museum" under "Location Name", tap "Search"
  • Set "South Australian Museum" to your reference location
    • Tap "South Australian Museum", tap the "Fix Location" icon on the Action Bar, tap "Fix Selected" button
  • Show locations within a 0.3 kilometre radius of the Town Hall
    • Tap "Search" on the action bar, tap "Clear", Enter ".3" below "Distance from Here", tap "Search"
  • Ask ChocAdelaide to show the direction and distance to these locations
    • Tap the "Fix Location" icon, tap the "Unfix" button

Cocolat Rundle Place

Merkel recently visited the new Cocolat outlet in Rundle Place which is where the Harris Scarfes hardware basement used to be.  Rundle Place runs between Rundle Mall and Grenfell Street, just west of Regent Arcade.  This new Cocolat is a booth in the lower ground floor food court just opposite a new T-bar.  There is plenty of seating in the food court and they do the usual chocolate menu but include a savoury sandwich menu as well.

It was a hot day so Merkel chosed the Iced Chocolate for $5.95.  The drink was served in a tall glass and topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and flaked chocolate on top.  The chocolate sauce was made of real chocolate and was not the sweet syrup that is often used for iced chocolate. This was definitely one of the better iced chocolates available in Adelaide.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bracegirdle's Kensington

It was a pleasure to discover recently that Bracegirdle's House of Fine Chocolate had opened its fifth shop.  It is in Kensington, right next to the Regal Cinema which is now part of Trak cinemas after its many years as the Chelsea Cinema.  The Cinema building is a great icon and an example of architecture from another era.  Bracegirdle's complements this with warm timber interiors.  This is a small shop with 6 tables inside and one outside but still has a wonderful chocolate menu.

I chose to go with the standard dark hot chocolate.  It comes in large decorative mug and saucer with a brown froth on top and “B” rendered with chocolate powder.  A marshmallow is provided.  The flavour is an excellent creamy Belgian chocolate.  The cost was $6.00.  

San Churro, Hot and Cold

I attended a film with friends this week at the Palace cinema on Rundle Street.  The film was Spectacular Now.  This was a teen coming of age story and there was some good dialogue and sensitive performances by the lead actors.  I am not sure that the story about self-obsessed teenagers had much appeal for the oldies and it did not have the typical themes that attract a younger audience.  Perhaps this is why their were only eight in the movie auditorium.

Walking down Rundle Street after the film I noticed the new location for Steven ter Horst Chocolatier Café.  The Café has moved from its location on Unley Road.  This should make Rundle Street a Mecca for chocolate lovers joining Cocolat, Chocolate Bean and Chocolateria San Churro on this strip.  Steven ter Horst will wait for another day as San Churro was our destination.

I had the hot and cold Spanish chocolate at San Churro.  This was a scoop of white chocolate ice cream in the thick Spanish chocolate.  This was more to be eaten with a spoon rather than drunk.  It was reminiscent of chocolate pudding with ice cream.  It was a pleasant way to finish and evening and cost $6.95.

Impressa, Iced

Impressa is a little Café in the Unley Shopping Centre.  It took over from “Lunch Cutters” and did extensive renovations.  The Café has a cosy atmosphere and does a good range of meals.

I chose the iced chocolate to have with my lunch.  The drink was served in a tall glass and was topped with a scoop of vanilla gelato with a sprinkle of chocolate powder.  The rest of the drink was milk and chocolate syrup.  It could have been more chocolaty but it was a cool drink.  The cost was $6.50.

Impressa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 20, 2014

Victoria Square

Sightseeing Highlights
  • Adelaide Town Hall
  • Victoria Square
Chocolate Highlight
  • Fiefy's 
  • Argo
  • Haighs (Central Market)
  • Treasury on King William
  • Blefari
  • Town Hall Garden Cafe
  • Funk Coffee in the SA Water building
  • The Adelaide Hilton

This tour is to be undertaken on foot.  Victoria Square is the heart of the Adelaide Central Business district.  There are number of old buildings and plenty of Cafes.  The more intensive shopping areas are North of Victoria Square.  There are plenty of buses that take you to Victoria Square.  The Tram is also an effective way to get there.

The Town Hall to the North of the Square can be your first destination.  This has a classic old white large marble staircase.  It is a good venue for musical concerts.  There are guided tours of the building if pre-arranged and a cafe inside the building.

From the Town Hall I suggest you wander north to Pirie Street and then east along Pirie street.  You will pass BTS Cafe which provides wonderful cupcakes.  Past BTS you will find an even smaller Cafe set back from Pirie Street.  This is Fiefy's.  Fiefy does wonderful hot chocolate and the best orange flavoured hot chocolate in Adelaide.

Continue south through the hole in the building that is occupied by Fiefy's and then west back towards the rear of the Town Hall passing under a covered walkway, and then south again to get to Flinders Street.  You will pass the Town Hall Garden Cafe and the old Pilgrim Uniting Church.

Travel west to the corner of the Flinders St and King William St.  You are standing in front of the old treasury building.  You can wander inside to see the court yard of this old building which is now a deluxe hotel featuring the Treasury on King William restaurant.

Back on the corner of Flinders and King WIlliam Streets you look over to the post office building which is still a functioning post office and has a clock tower which chimes every 15 minutes.

We will now wander around the Victoria Square which has been completely renovated over the last 12 months.  Cross south over Flinders Street and go east to the front of Blefari Cafe, who do a good Belgian hot chocolate.  Travel south along the edge of the square past the old buildings which are now occupied by the Carnegie Mellon University and cross Wakefield Street.

You are now on a corner where you can see the St Francis Xavier's Cathedral to the east.  If you keep heading south you will find the very modern SA Water building.  It is a grand foyer with a Funk coffee shop inside it.

At the traffic lights head west across the square.  Victoria Square is also the aboriginal location of Tarntanyangga.  Cross at the light on the other side of the square to the Hilton Hotel.  This is another modern building with a grand foyer and a good Cafe inside but I suggest saving lunch for your last stop.

Walk south then turn west into the Market Arcade.  Haighs Chocolates is on the left as you walk into the Central Market.  The Central Market is a great place to wander and shop for fresh produce.  Retrace your steps to the Hilton Hotel and then cross Grote Sreet to the north.  Argo Cafe is your final destination on Victoria Square just past the corner with Grote Street.

ChocAdelaide Instructions
ChocAdelaide Version 2 or higher (available for download)

  • Tap "Merkel's Tours" from the overflow menu.  
  • Tap the "Select Locations" button under "Victoria Square".
Version 1

Show all the locations within 310 metres of Blefari.  There are many Cafes in this area so you will have a number of cafes on the list you can ignore.
  • Ensure you are using "Closest First" order
    • Tap "Menus" on the action bar, "Settings", "List Order of Locations", "Closest First"
  • Search for location "Blefari"
    • Tap "Search" on the action bar,  Tap "Clear", Enter "Blefari" under "Location Name", tap "Search"
  • Set "Blefari" to your reference location
    • Tap "Blefari", tap the "Fix Location" icon on the Action Bar, tap "Fix Selected" button
  • Show locations within a 0.31 kilometre radius of the Town Hall
    • Tap "Search" on the action bar, tap "Clear", Enter ".31" below "Distance from Here", tap "Search"
  • Ask ChocAdelaide to show the direction and distance to these locations
    • Tap the "Fix Location" icon, tap the "Unfix" button

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Surrounds

Sightseeing Highlights
  • National Wine Centre
  • Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Chocolate Highlight
  • Chocolateria San Churro (Rundle Street)
  • Concourse Café
  • Fibonacci Café
  • Ayers House Museum
  • Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute

This is a tour that can be undertaken on foot.  If you are driving, then Plane Tree Drive surrounding Botanic Park is a picturesque place to park.  Plane Tree Drive is lined with huge plane trees and runs off Hackney Road.

The National Wine Centre should be your first destination.  This building has an unusual architecture and houses displays of wines, wine-making facilities and art exhibitions.  It also incorporates the Concourse Café

The quickest way to the Botanic Gardens is through the side entrances.  Walk north along Hackney Road and then west into the gardens.  You will be able to spend hours in the Gardens.  You will see the large glass Conservatory from where you enter the Gardens.  Admittance to the Gardens is free but there is a charge for entering the Conservatory.  The Botanic Gardens includes the Fibonacci Café with its view over some leafy archways and the Botanic Gardens Café.

When you are finished in the Gardens head south to the main entrance.  You will pass the large buildings of the Royal Adelaide Hospital which is due for replacement in a couple of years.  Head out of the entrance across North Terrace to East Terrace.  You will pass the Light Horse Monument and the Botanic Hotel at the intersection of North and East Terraces.  Heading south you will  pass the East Terrace Continental Cafe and reach Chocolateria san Churro  where you will be able indulge in chocolate delights after a healthy walk.

ChocAdelaide Instructions
ChocAdelaide Version 2 or higher (available for download)

  • Tap "Merkel's Tours" from the overflow menu.  
  • Tap the "Select Locations" button under "The Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Surrounds".
Version 1

Show all locations within a 300 metre radius of the Botanic Gardens as follows:
  • Ensure you are using Closest First order
    • Tap "Menus" on the action bar, "Settings", "List Order of Locations", "Closest First"
  • Search for location "Adelaide Botanic Gardens"
    • Tap "Search" on the action bar,  Enter "Adelaide Botanic" under "Location Name", tap "Search"
  • Set "Adelaide Botanic Gardens" to your reference location
    • Tap "Adelaide Botanic Gardens", tap the "Fix Location" icon on the Action Bar, tap "Fix Selected" button
  • Show locations within 0.3 kilometre radius of the Botanic Gardens
    • Tap "Search" on the action bar, tap "Clear", Enter ".3" below "Distance from Here", tap "Search"
  • Ask ChocAdelaide to show the direction and distance to these locations
    • Tap the "Fix Location" icon, tap the "Unfix" button

Merkel's Tours

Merkel's Tours is a new concept in chocolate tourism.  On these pages there will be a number of self-guide tours which I have chosen which take you to some of my favourite locations.  Of course there will always be some link with chocolate or hot chocolate on these tours.

Each tour will consist of a number of locations in close proximity which will enable my loyal readers to visit sites of interest.  The tours are based around Adelaide and may be walking or driving tours.  They will typically link together three or four locations and have optional deviations.  Typically each tour will take half a day to complete.

To assist the chocolate tourist there is an Android app being developed called ChocAdelaide.  The icon for the app is a rendering of the "Light's Vision" statue in chocolate (above).  This app will provide you with information about the various sites on the tour and point you in the right direction. Instructions will be provided on each tour on how to use the app to show you around.

Tours being developed include: