FOLLOWING our lukewarm escapade to Pipino, we headed for Cafe Xocolat in Katipunan in the hopes of drowning our meatless misery in hot chocolate. And drown it we did.
Do you have one product or service that you’re particularly good at? Nurture it, develop it, showcase it, make it the center of your business, and promote it like it’s the best thing on earth, ever.
Some small establishments have thrived this way for years, and some have grown into large establishments, just by focusing on that one great product.
So where am I getting at?
In the past few years, coffeehouses have cropped up all over the country (and the world) at a rapid rate. If the makers of Cafe Xocolat had decided to put up another coffee shop, it would have vanished into the fray. So instead, they provided the country with specialty Spanish and Mexican hot chocolate, and now the store has a loyal following.
There are also other good local chocolate cafes, which I will discuss later, but for now we’ll enjoy the uniqueness that Cafe Xocolat has to offer.
The place is a quaint old house, renovated to accommodate guests. I love the mismatched chairs, tables, and cups, and the retro decor. Too bad I was only able to snap photos of an old bookshelf, the counter display, and the cake display. The place was packed with guests, and as much as I can help it I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by including them in any photos without their express approval.
My friends had a cucumber-mint shake (not shown), cafe affogato (not shown), apple pie, and That Xocolat Cake, which was one of the store’s specialties. Meanwhile I had the Aztec Xocolat and a chocolate-lemon bar.
Since the place was full, we ate at one of the benches outside. It was quite dark, with only a few lamps to illuminate our way, but not enough to brighten the place. Barring noisy patrons at other tables, the outdoor section could well be a romantic spot for lovers drunk on theobromine.
The apple pie was middling, because there was a little too much crumble and not enough fruit, but the cake was dark, rich, and delicious without being cloying. We had divided opinions on the chocolate-lemon bar, as the uncommon flavor combination is an acquired taste. I did like how the tartness of the creamy lemon topping cut through the richness of the dark chocolate brownie underneath.
As for the Aztec Xocolat, it was exquisitely rich, not too sweet, and very spicy. Like me, except for the rich part.
To give you an idea of how rich this chocolate is, the consistency is thicker than that of Elmer’s Glue. (Not the best comparison, but close). You do not sip this chocolate; it is best eaten, spoonful by spicy spoonful, for as much as your tongue can tolerate it. As it gets cold it grows heavy in the mouth and the belly, and downing one mug can be quite an experience.
Aztec Xocolat is one of a kind. Like with anything great, savoring this takes time, so ask for it only when you aren’t in a hurry. And for me, this would be best enjoyed alone, with a good book, on a cold and rainy afternoon.
So after that somewhat disappointing meal at Pipino, Cafe Xocolat saved our evening — sort of. We still craved meat afterward, but both restaurants did give us an experience that we can smile back on.
172 B. Gonzales St., Loyola Heights,
Quezon City, Philippines
Telephone nos.: +632-929-4186, +632-927-1990
Press Relations: Rina P. Avecilla +63918-999-7262