I headed out to John Lewis to pick up my husband’s oyster knife (a fool’s errand, as it turns out–the knife is mysteriously in Leith) and decided to take the route that brought me right past the Hotel Chocolat on Frederick Street. We stopped in last weekend and I tried their cocoa infusion (essentially a tea made from cocoa beans), which I found intriguing. It had a slighty watery chocolate smell, but no chocolate taste; instead, it was like a light, fairly earthy tea. Like a very gentle puh-erth. This time, I wanted to try one of their lattes, which you can get made with either two shots of espresso or two shots of roasted cocoa. I can get an espresso latte anywhere, so of course I went with the cocoa.
Like the infusion, this was intriguing. It lacked the astringincy of espresso and instead delivered an earthy, mushroom-like flavor, led by a rich butteryness from the milk and the cocoa. It’s not sweet, and it doesn’t taste like chocolate. I enjoyed it…for a while. Eventually, however, the novelty wore off and I started to feel like I was drinking mild creamed mushroom soup. Good creamed mushroom soup, don’t get me wrong, but a mushroom soup nonetheless. That flavor is pronounced, and once you place it, you can’t get it out of your head that this is mushroom, not cocoa. Having had the experience, I don’t feel a strong desire to keep repeating it, but maybe I’m being a bit too harsh. I’m sure it took me a while to start really liking lattes and other espresso drinks too. It’s possible that, given enough time, I’d get used to this and even possibly start craving it. Maybe it’s an experiment I’ll try sometime.