Move over washed-up coffee shops on every corner of every street, Cacao 70 and its hot chocolate is making a mark in Montreal. Set downtown Sainte-Catherine where the “mehs” trample the “yums”, this chocolate wonderland scores huge points, shedding a positive light on the district’s culinary scene with chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. And then some.
Boasting an around-the-world cocoa collection highlighting 30 different countries, the Hot Chocolate Bar is the main event. If you get one shot at Cacao 70, get it right with this. Each drink pairs melted chocolate morsels and the appropriate hot chocolate base. From 29-100% cocoa, pure, dark, semi and milk chocolate lovers have plenty to choose from. Popular picks include 70% Cuba (dark), 55% Belgian (semi) and 40.5% Ghana (milk). It’ll cost you a whopping $9.25 – a ridiculous price for a ridiculously luxurious drink.
Love, love, LOVE 71% Ecuador. Sitting pretty at the bottom of a large goblet, a thick, dark puddle of melted 71% Ecuadorian chocolate intensity is too good not to spoon. The menu describes it as having exceptionally fine flavor, a soft quality and subtle aromas. I say it’s crazy rich and decadent. But it doesn’t stop there. Temper it by slowly stirring in the hot dark chocolate base. It’s too hot to handle at first so give it a few minutes. Smooth and lavish with bittersweet tones, it’s so good but so bad, almost like liquid sin. The only problem is, it begins to clump as it cools down, but they’ll gladly re-heat it for you. Oh and, it’ll put a smile on your face. Literally. They cleverly rim the goblet with melted chocolate. That way, when you take a sip, an adorable chocolate smile extends from the curls of your lips to the balls of your cheeks! Too. Damn. Cute.
The American Style Hot Cocoa ($7.25) hits me hard with nostalgia. Steaming in a fat mug, a velvety fusion of dark chocolate (my choice) and milk is tucked underneath a thin blanket of bubbles. Two chubby marshmallows bob at the surface, slowly dissolving and sweetening at the same time. A drizzle of melted chocolate seals the deal. It’s loose but filling, wonderfully bittersweet and undeniably cocoa-y. To give it another dimension, like a warm, throat tingling sensation, ask for a little cayenne. A good choice, yes, and comforting at its best.
Several trusted sources reveal the New York Style Frozen Hot Chocolate is a complete watery bomb. Apparently, it’s nothing like the one Serendipity is famous for. Skip it. If you must have a hot-meets-cold-chocolate-drink, check out the Dark Frozen Hot Cocoa ($7.25). Served in a tall glass, a buttery scoop of chocolate ice cream streaked with liquid chocolate floats on a blend of hot dark cocoa and melted dark cocoa. A chocolate overload that’s sweeter than it is bitter, frothy but thick and hard not to like.
Good news kids! And chocoholics! Anyone who tells you chocolate can’t be a meal is flat out wrong. Case in point: Cacao 70’s Chocolate Pizza. It starts with a 12-inch pizza crust, your choice of dark, semi or milk chocolate spread, and a few fail-safe toppings. Here’s half of the Chocolate Marshmallow Pizza. The bread base is plain and soft with just a gentle crunch around the outer edges and underbelly. It’s smothered with melted dark chocolate, liberally dotted with toasted mini marshmallows and topped with more chocolate of course. Watching gooey bittersweet and sugary strings when you break off a slice is the best part, with eating coming in a close second. Minds won’t be blown but it’s good stuff. It comes with fresh strawberries and bananas to ease your conscience, but there’s dipping chocolate too – so to hell with that. Chocolate Pizzas are only available in full ($24.95) or half sizes ($14.95). Like everything else, portions are very generous – over-the-top-rich and food-coma-inducing if you get a drink too. Please be advised: Share or die.
They’ve got salted crepes, pressecrepe sandwiches and salads too. But c'mon, that’s what you’d get after browsing page after page of chocolate therapy and high-calorie desserts? Bitch please…get out.
I don’t know what we did to deserve Cacao 70 but we hit the jackpot. Insane decadence is a common theme here. Don’t take it lightly. Avoid eating anything heavy before dropping in. Actually, don’t eat anything at all. If you do, you risk leaving food and drinks behind. Prices are sky high but they’re justified by ample servings and awesomeness. And, it’s not like you’ll be here every day. Give in to the occasional splurge! Spoil yourself with a chocolaty treat, enjoy the ambiance and be gracious to ultra-sweet staff. Families looking for fun, lovers and your foreplay, single ladies out and about, dudes…that like chocolate, there’s a table at Cacao 70 with your name on it!
2087 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest | map