As with everything it seems, the Parisians take hot chocolate seriously, quelle surprise! So there is a sort of unspoken rivalry in across town for the coveted title of best chocolat chaud.
Certainly the famed Angelina’s has more than earned its reputation for fabulously decadent hot chocolate and nor do I deny that luxuriating in the opulent surroundings of their restaurant opposite the Louvre is unquestionably poetic.
However, queues are an unfortunate consequence of the notoriety and detract somewhat from the whole experience. You start to feel a little bit like you’re on a production line which is a bit of a shame but unsurprising.
If you fancy an altogether more intimate experience go to Jacques Genin.
A totally different proposition, think minimalist more than Belle Epoque, Jacques Genin specialises in original and avant-garde confectionery, exquisite pastries and, of course, mouth-wateringly good hot chocolate.
A word about the hot chocolate, the heavy aroma wafts through the air as it arrives and despite being outrageously rich it manages not to be cloyingly sweet.
Order one pot between two. There’s more than enough to share. Believe me, I am the most reluctant sharer of chocolate with the sweetest tooth and the biggest appetite. Despite being convinced I could slurp the lot, had to admit defeat, offer a cup and still leave some in the pot. It broke my heart but had to be done.
We hadn’t planned to order anything to eat… We even had placed our order before we caught sight of one of the famous millefeuilles being set down on another table and chased the waitress! We plumped for classic vanilla. That too was really, very good.
Our tummies were too full to buy anything for the road but the confectionery displays were stunning.
A word of warning; I know I’ve showered praise on every aspect of our visit but I should add that we went on a weekday which certainly helped with the speed of service and the complete lack of queues. Tables aren’t in abundance here, which is partly why it’s so pleasant, often in Paris you’re shoehorned between your neighbours, but makes things tricky if the shop gets busy. The operation isn’t as slick as Angelina’s but it’s all a case of swings and roundabouts. Jacques Genin gets my vote but it depends what floats your boat. An excuse to try both I say!