With just a month to go until National Chocolate Week, and with York being the capital of chocolate that it is, we thought it was only right for us to try out the best that York has to offer in the way of that family-pleasing winter warmer, the hot chocolate. Selfless, we know. Kicking us off is none other than York Cocoa House.
The place: York Cocoa House, 3 Blake Street, York YO1 8QJ
The concept: Part café, part chocolate library, part chocolate shop, part chocolate school, this place is all about the chocolate. It’s all wooden floors, twinkling lights and thoughtful vintage décor. It’s like stepping back in time, but with excellent 21st century service.
The family-friendly credentials: Although there are a couple of steps to negotiate to get inside, once you’re in there’s a definite family-friendly vibe. Staff will help accommodate a buggy and there are highchairs and baby changing. A lack of apple juice on offer initially disappointed our little viking, but before he had a total meltdown a kind waitress appeared with a glass of off-menu orange squash. Both little vikings enjoyed the white-chocolate dipped shortbread. The Cocoa House runs chocolate workshops for children, like lolly-making, and can also host birthday parties.
The hot chocolate selection: This place is serious about hot chocolate, so much so that it has its own hot chocolate menu. From the Classic Cocoa House Hot Chocolate (using a recipe dating back from 1644) to the Luxury Hot Chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate, there’s something for all chocolate fans. There are even white and milk chocolate versions, or completely vegan dark chocolate drinks made with pure cocoa mass.
The verdict: We opted for a Classic Cocoa House Hot Chocolate that was served in a sensible-sized cup and saucer with a large dark chocolate button on the side. Lovely and rich, it would please grown ups who don’t need Willy Wonka style toppings to their hot chocolate. Perfect for a winter day. Those with a sweeter tooth could opt for the milk chocolate version. Just see if you can resist the oven-warm chocolate and cherry scones. We couldn’t.