December 17, 2011

Licking the Bowl

This was a new echelon of The Chocolate Experience. 

"Angelina" is supposedly the place for the best hot chocolate in Paris. There is the regular one on Rue de Rivoli, across from the Tuileries Gardens and close to the Louvre. There is also one inside Chateau de Versailles, but I stayed in town today. Obviously anything with "best" and "chocolate" in the title is something I must check out.

So I waited in line for 30 minutes with a bunch of tourists (because all the Parisians make reservations ahead of time). I almost threw up when the dad in the family in front of me said he'd take the buffet at Corral any day over a 50 Euro brunch at Angelina - I'd rather pay 100 Euro for every French meal than eat anything at Corral. 

My chair and I enjoyed the privacy of a very crowded and buzzing atmosphere inside. There were plenty of different kinds of people to watch and listen to, and thankfully I was not seated next to tourists. You can tell a place is good when there is a fairly strong mixture of real Parisians in the restaurant: they're speaking relaxed French, have no shopping bags, and have layered appropriately for the weather.

The rest of The Chocolate Experience is best understood by the thoughts streaming through my mind (and onto my memo app) as I had my first Angelina hot chocolate.

"Someone melted my favorite chocolate and put it in this cup."

"A true drink of actual chocolate."

"Willy-Wonka-esque extravagance in chocolatey taste!"

"I'm letting a chocolate fountain rain into my mouth."

"Like the best Christmas fudge, but melted into liquid form."

And from that thought, I realized the truth of it all: it was the essence of candy-making during the holidays. Those moments when the house is filled with the intoxicating aroma of melting chocolate and it takes everything in your power to not dip the ladle into the saucepan when Mom isn't looking to down a whole spoonful of the treat. The only satisfaction of this fantasy is being granted the rights to scrounge up whatever's left and lick the bowl.

It was too rich to finish, even for me. But I definitely had all my wildest chocolate dreams come true, and that means the job was well done by Paris' Best Hot Chocolate.