Chocolate Week sadly has come to an end for another year. So to ease the pain I thought it might be an idea if I wrote about something chocolatey. I could have written about Brugges, Brussels or Biarritz, all famous for their chocolate. Bordeaux could be on the list too as it was the port where cocoa from the French colonies was brought into France and where several chocolatiers have plied their trade for decades. Switzerland might well have featured too. I decided however, to opt for Cologne instead and the Chocolat Grand Cafe.
Usually when I review a cafe it is the coffee I go in for. This was not the case on my visit to Cologne though.
The museum is located in a modern complex that tastefully incorporates two of the old buildings on the wharf beside the Rhine. The restaurant occupies a prime position in the cutting edge modern part of the building. On a fine day you can choose to go out on the terrace or a cobbled, little used path beside the Rhine. Either inside or out you have a great view across the Rhine, one of Europe’s great rivers
The Chocolat Grand Cafe is at the rear of the Chocolate Museum and beside the Rhine. The ambience is open and inviting with a decor that is sleek, modern and light. The cafe has and indoor and outdoor area with huge picture windows for those days when the Northern European weather is not at its best. The cafe is entered through the museum atrium but you do not need to visit the museum to go to the cafe.
Although the coffee here is excellent you don’t come for the coffee. It’s the chocolate drinks for which the cafe is renown. In fact you have to read through all the chocolate based drinks to reach the coffee. I chose an iced mocha as it was a glorious sunny September day. To accompany it I had three scoops of chocolate ice-cream each made from single origin cocoa beans from different farms.
It is so difficult to get the balance of chocolate and coffee right in a mocha but in my opinion Chocolate Grand Cafe achieved it. The chocolate was rich enough with just the right hint of coffee. Creamy in texture it was topped with rich cream not the aerated stuff often served up. Decadence served cold in a tall glass.
The ice-cream was served on a elongated plate with three shallow depressions. The ice-cream was beautifully smooth and creamy and flavoured strongly with the chocolate. Served at a optimum temperature for tasting you could identify the subtle differences between each one. In my opinion the one from a farm in the Ivory Coast was the winner.
The Germans have mastered the art of Kaffe und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake) so it would be remiss of me not to indulge further in one of several cakes, all lavishly chocolatey, on offer. It was difficult to choose from the array of cakes on offer. The descriptions were in English as well as German so I had an idea what I was ordering. I eventually chose a cake described as being “enrobed in rich dark chocolate”. It sounded very indulgent. It arrived set out on a plate that would not look out of place in a Michelin starred restaurant. The word cafe does not adequately describe a place that serves such decadent indulgence. I sliced through the moist chocolate cake with my fork and took my first mouthful. The textures and tastes beautifully complemented each other led by the bittersweet lingering taste of the dark chocolate that enrobed the whole confection; a symphony in chocolate. At that moment I decided that moving to Cologne might be a excellent idea.
Is the coffee good? I wouldn’t know. After all this is one cafe you do not go to for the coffee. One thing for sure. From now on no visit to Cologne will be complete without stopping by the Chocolat Grand Cafe.
Do you have a favourite chocolate themed cafe? If so leave the details in the comments below and I will try very hard to get there and provide you, my readers, with a review.