July 24, 2014

Haute Chocolate Wars

Xococava vs. Soma

Thinking of getting your sweetheart a box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day? You might want to stir up some lovin’ with a hot cup of cocoa instead. Hot chocolate is, well, hot again, thanks to the chocolatiers at uptown’s XocoCava and downtown’s Soma, which are creating new and enticing recipes that are definitely not like the powdered stuff your mom used to mix with milk. So which cup of haute cocoa will warm your honey’s heart? That’s for you to decide.

Name & year opened:
Chris McDonald, 2008 David Castellan, 2003
What are your secret ingredients?
Seventy per cent chocolate, sugar, cocoa, sea salt and water. Some things are best left secret.
What’s the cocoa-making process like?
Sugar and water is brought to a low simmer. We then whisk in the sea salt and cocoa and cook over low heat. We add the chocolate and allow it to melt before blending together and straining. We blend all ingredients in a pasteurizer/homogenizer. Then we serve it up as either a small intense shot, with steamed milk, or as a bicerin with a layer of espresso and semi-whipped cream.
Marshmallows or whipped cream?
Our cinnamon or mint marshmallows complement our hot Xocolate perfectly. Cold, slightly sweetened and semi-whipped cream.
Prized piece of cocoa-making machinery?
My marble table. A Barth Scirocco 400–cocoa bean roaster (circa 1950).
Would you ever drink the powdered stuff?
Only on a canoe trip. What powdered stuff are you talking about!?
Any famous patrons?
Yes! Joe Mimran was just in the store. Sure: Meryl Streep, Rachel McAdams and Susan Sarandon.
Complete this sentence: A cup of hot cocoa a day...
... keeps me from spending all my time at [my restaurant] Cava. ... makes your booty sway.