Hot Cocoa Tasting at a "Chocolate Lounge" | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Hot Cocoa Tasting at a "Chocolate Lounge"

I know that I promised to write about historic chocolate rituals today, but I haven't had time to read that book yet. Somehow, though, I did find time yesterday to indulge in a visit to CoCo Sala, a chocolate lounge in downtown DC...you know, for research.Now, I'm familiar with wine flights—a menu ...

smithsonian.com
Three flavors of hot cocoa served as a 'flight,' at CoCo Sala restaurant in Washington, DC


I know that I promised to write about historic chocolate rituals today, but I haven't had time to read that book yet. Somehow, though, I did find time yesterday to indulge in a visit to CoCo Sala, a chocolate lounge in downtown DC...you know, for research.

Now, I'm familiar with wine flights—a menu option that offers small tastes of several different wines in some sort of themed progression—but I had never heard of a "hot cocoa flight" before. As a chronically indecisive diner, I appreciate the concept. Instead of having to choose among salted caramel, peanut butter, or dark cocoa, I got to try all three!

The flight arrived in three lovely little glass goblets, artfully lined up on a platter with garnishes of flaked chocolate and caramel syrup. My friends had opted for full-sized mugs of cocoa (dark and milk), which were topped with a handmade square marshmallow. We fell silent for several moments as we sipped and passed glasses around in the candlelight. It did feel a bit ritualistic, somehow.

The verdict: Dark chocolate cocoa was everyone's favorite, with milk chocolate a close runner-up. The peanut-butter was as delicious as a Reese's peanut-butter cup, which is to say, the sugar and peanut tastes definitely outmuscled the cocoa. (Tasty, but only in small doses.) And the salted caramel was like a liquefied Werther's Original somehow made even sweeter (did they mix up the salt and sugar in the kitchen?). I stopped after a few sips, lest I induce some sort of sugar coma.

The concept of cocoa bars/lounges seems to be a growing trend, at least in DC, where three of them have opened since I moved to the area in late 2007 (I'd like to think there was a connection between those events, but there's not, of course). I've still got to try ACKC and Locolat someday soon.
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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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