B1 Intermediate UK 63 Folder Collection
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Harry Kersh: There's no better way to stay warm in London
than with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
And the city has a couple of popular spots,
all with their own unique take on the drink.
Hey guys, it's Harry and Ju.
Ju Shardlow: And on this very gray day, we are on the hunt
for the best hot chocolate in London.
So, as usual, we have looked through TripAdvisor,
social media, and just plain old local recommendations
to try and find four places
which will be the best of the best.
Harry: What we will be looking for is a hot chocolate
that has a nice texture, something that is not too sweet,
and its overall luxuriousness.
Ju: First stop: Dark Sugars,
a chocolate shop that brings the culture
of West African cocoa production to Brick Lane.
Fatou Mendy: What we've tried to do with the hot chocolate
is kind of do it in the way
I know how to do hot chocolate back home.
What we do is we combine cocoa powder and chocolate,
which is a combination of milk,
dark, and white chocolate in there.
So, and then we make a very thick paste first.
And then we heat up the milk, pour the milk,
and then top it up with foam,
and then the shavings go on top.
We believe that it's the best hot chocolate
because it's full of experience.
We feel good when we're doing it.
Harry: Cool. Ju: Yeah, cheers.
Harry: Cheers. Ju: Wow.
Harry: Ooh.
Ju: That's got such a lovely flavor.
I love all the theatricality of the shavings on top of it.
There's just a real kind of sense of drama
for this hot chocolate.
Like, you watch it being made in front of you,
and there's shavings going on the top,
like, you can see that the milk's being whipped up.
Like, it is a really enjoyable experience
first of all for the eyes, before your taste buds.
But, also, this just tastes delicious.
Harry: That dark chocolate has a really,
really lovely bitterness. 'Cause otherwise it
can kind of be a bit too sweet at times, whereas
the dark chocolate really does help to balance it out,
particularly with the white chocolate in there as well.
Lovely bitterness from that.
Ju: Yeah, the flavor of the chocolate,
and I like the fact that obviously it's got
white chocolate, and the dark chocolate,
and milk in there as well.
But again, it does have sort of
a satisfying wateriness to it.
Like, it's not grainy, obviously, and it's not,
but again it's not just like a whole dollop
of melted chocolate straight in your face.
Like, it actually feels more like a drink.
Which is what you sort of want for when
you're walking around on a cold winter's evening.
Harry: Second stop: Said Dal, an Italian cafe
that offers a slightly thicker consistency
than traditional hot chocolate.
Andrea Alinovi: The idea came around five years ago.
We gave a twist to something already successful.
But then also we have been able to
offer a product which force the client
to go into a direction of having a different experience,
which is like...similar to the margarita with salt.
Instead of salt, we have chocolate,
three kinds of chocolate all around the cup,
so there is no other way of drinking it
than getting chocolate in your mouth
and sometimes getting dirty.
When we first opened, the reaction was...
not very good at the beginning
because the perception of hot chocolate was different.
The expectation was different.
And now, after a few years, we are very well known.
And we have a lot of people coming
from anywhere for our hot chocolate.
Customer: It's fabulous because it's, I mean,
it's dark, but it's not too bitter.
So it's just the perfect compromise.
And it's so thick, like, it reminds me
of my Italiano chocolate that I used to drink back in Italy.
So it's like being back home.
Ju: I'm actually really excited to see
how Harry's gonna eat this,
because it looks pretty messy.
Harry: I'm a bit of a professional,
but even I think this is gonna put me to the limits,
'cause this is just covered in chocolate.
It looks really good.
It smells amazing.
So, we've got the gianduja hot chocolate,
which is kinda hazelnutty.
And it kinda just smells like melted Nutella,
which immediately is making me really excited.
Ju: Oh, wow.
Oh, my God. That is... Harry: Oh, [bleep].
[laughing] Shh!
That is incredible, wow.
Harry: When I said sip, I don't think that was
the right word; it's more like a bite.
Ju: Face-plant of chocolate.
Harry: It's rich, it's...the texture is nothing like
you'd expect in terms of, like, a normal hot chocolate,
'cause this is way thicker.
It's so creamy and luxurious.
Ju: It has, like, the texture of a churros dip
because it's got that, like,
really luxurious creaminess to it
and a texture that you almost want to dip something in it,
like, you just wanna dip your face in it.
That's what you want to do.
But the taste is lovely, though.
I think, as British people, we're used to
that kind of very sad, like, hot water with cocoa powder.
But this really, this is Italian food and drink.
So it's luxury; it tastes incredible.
Next we head to Mamasons, a Filipino ice cream parlor
that uses traditional ube ingredients.
Florence Mae Maglanoc: Ube is a sweet potato
or a purple yam.
And it comes from the sweet potato family.
It's indigenous to the Philippines.
And it's naturally purple; that's what's so great about it.
It's like the vanilla of Philippines.
We actually use our ice cream in the wintertime;
that's how we actually created the product.
So we're very keen on no waste
and using everything that we've got.
So we actually melt down the ice cream,
mix it with Belgian white chocolate,
add a bit of Horlicks, heat that up with some milk,
and it's perfect.
And then the whipped cream itself,
we use an ube jam and we mix it with cream.
And then we have a special whipped-cream machine
that, like, makes it all fluffy and airy.
And then the outside bits are ube wafers.
So it's just a bit of an ube-overload cocoa,
and it's perfect for winter.
Customer: I love the ube whipped cream 'cause
it's so pretty. I love the color.
And it's the best part of the cocoa, in my opinion.
I eat this stuff all the time.
Harry: Mm.
Ju: Mm.
Harry: Not bad. Ju: Ooh, wow.
Blimey, that's sweet.
Harry: It's very sweet.
Ju: That's really, really sugary.
Harry: Very sugary.
Ju: I mean, I was kind of expecting it to be
quite sugary anyway, 'cause when I've had things like
lavender or like sweet potato lattes before,
they've always been really heavy on the sugar.
Harry: Mm.
Ju: Ooh.
Harry: I don't mind that.
Ju: Yeah, I certainly get a lot of the yam taste
from the flakes at the side.
But really smooth, really drinkable.
Harry: It's almost like when you salt the rim
of a margarita.
Do you get much of the ube?
'Cause I'm mostly just getting kinda whipped cream.
It's quite sweet.
Maybe, like, a tiny bit of kind of earthy flavor from that.
Ju: Yeah, I get a little bit of a sweet-potatoey
kind of taste to it, like, a little bit of a yam taste.
But mostly from the cream at the top.
I'm not really getting so much of,
like, a white chocolate taste
from the actual hot chocolate itself.
But maybe that's just the sugariness of it, maybe.
Harry: Would you say it's maybe outwardly less chocolaty
than the other ones we might've tried?
So, I think this is more about the whipped cream,
and the kind of the ice cream, and the sweetness.
And obviously, 'cause it's made with white chocolate,
less of a kind of cocoa taste from that.
On to our final stop, Chin Chin Labs,
who've created an almost pudding-like take
on the traditional hot chocolate.
Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur: What Chin Chin is best known for
is creating dishes that you can't get anywhere else.
Our hot chocolate is more like a hot chocolate pudding.
The chocolate that we use is really expensive
French chocolate from Valrhona.
It's 80%.
We have chefs in the kitchen making small batches every day.
And then the marshmallow itself,
it's our own recipe, it's a secret recipe
that we make in small batches and mixes.
And then when we top off the hot chocolate
with the marshmallow, the balance is good
because the marshmallow's really sweet.
And we have that sort of toasty flavor
because we blowtorch it.
The actual hot chocolate itself is quite bitter.
So it combines really well.
So, the idea is we give you a spoon,
and there's a bowl underneath.
And you eat it like this with a spoon.
And you have to get the marshmallow
and the hot chocolate together
so the balance is right when you eat it.
Customer: I really love, like, the marshmallow aspect
of the hot chocolate. It's so gooey.
So when you pop the spoon in
you get the gooeyness of the hot chocolate,
and then you get the quality Belgian chocolate
coming through, through the Valrhona sprinkles.
So, it's amazing.
Ju: Should we go for it?
How are you supposed to?
You just go in?
Harry: So, I think we just gotta commit and go for it.
You ready? Ju: Right. OK.
It's like a dessert.
Harry: Yeah, this could go everywhere.
Good luck. Ju: OK, good luck.
Harry: Oh, look at that.
That is an extremely, extremely Instagrammable dessert.
Ju: That is, yeah.
Harry: I got, like, a bit of marshmallow
and a bit of hot chocolate.
Ju: It's so lovely and shiny as well.
It seems so luxurious.
Harry: Oh, wow. Ju: Wow.
Harry: That marshmallow's so good.
Ju: Yeah, that is so good.
The marshmallow's, like, really, really,
it's very filling.
It's not...[laughing]
Harry: I've got a breach.
Ju: It's really filling.
It's not too sweet.
As well as the actual hot chocolate inside,
once you get down into it.
I mean, this is dribbling everywhere,
but once you get down into it it's just this lovely, rich,
very, very flavorful hot chocolate.
Which I wouldn't say is too overly sweet.
It just has a lovely, like,
luxury kind of dribbliness to it.
And the texture of the hot chocolate's lovely as well.
Harry: So, I've picked my winner.
You've picked yours.
I'm excited to see what you've picked.
I have a feeling we might disagree,
but let's find out.
Reveal on three? Ju: OK.
Harry: One, two, three.
Ju: Chin Chin Labs.
Harry: Said Dal.
We disagreed, I knew it.
I knew we would disagree.
Ju: Why did you pick them?
Harry: So, I mean, for me, Said Dal was just, like,
unlike any other hot chocolate I've ever had.
It was the most luxurious thing
maybe I've ever eaten in my life, in general.
In terms of just like, it was so velvety,
it was so chocolaty, the kind of Nutella-y flavor
that we got from that hazelnut hot chocolate.
And obviously that triple chocolate on the side of the cup
just kinda took it to another level.
And I thought it was just a really, really cool experience.
What made you pick Chin Chin Labs?
Ju: That was delicious, don't get me wrong.
I probably would've picked that,
but for me it came down to the price.
I think Chin Chin Labs was the cheapest one
of the whole day, and for the value for money
it was incredible.
The actual quality of the Valrhona hot chocolate
in Chin Chin Labs was more of, I would say,
a drinking chocolate.
But what you had in Said Dal
was more of a, like, an actual pudding.
It was very dessert-like, like, I would have that
as a dessert rather than a hot chocolate, I would say.
Harry: I see your point, Ju.
This is a really tough decision.
This is maybe the closest one that we've had
in this series, to be honest.
But I think, overall, I'm gonna agree with you.
And I'm gonna come around to Chin Chin.
For a few reasons.
I think you've kinda covered some of the reasons
in terms of, like, it did feel like more of a dessert
than a hot chocolate.
And I think as tasty as it was,
I would've hit my threshold of how much of it
I could drink quite quickly at Said Dal
because it was just so rich and so luxurious.
Which is great in, like, a small dose,
but like you say, more of like a sit-down
desserty experience than a hot chocolate, perhaps.
So, we've crowned Chin Chin Labs
as the best of the best hot chocolate in London.
But that's just our opinion.
Did we miss any of your favorite spots?
Let us know in the comments.
Ju: You've got some on your face.
Harry: Have I? [laughing]
How about now?
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The Best Hot Chocolate In London | Best Of The Best

63 Folder Collection
day published on April 21, 2020
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