Shanghai’s winters are not known to be friendly, but they are a great excuse to indulge in one, or eight, delicious cups of hot chocolate. So forget about your dental hygiene and waistline, make the most of the cold with these remarkable cups of chocolate that will tide you over until spring.
Iconic tea house Angelina has been pleasing Parisians with its fancy French pastries and cakes since 1903, and are especially renowned for their hot chocolate. Le chocolat chaud l’Africain (68RMB) at its Shanghai outposts does not disappoint. So thick it struggles to be poured from the little white jug into the little white mug, the drink is served with a spoon meaning that sippability thankfully isn’t an issue.
If you choose to visit Angelina’s Shanghai Centre branch in the afternoon, try to nab a window-side table – or a spot on the outdoor terrace if you’re feeling brave – and feel whisked away to the boulevards of Paris à la Coco Chanel.
Add: 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu
Ch2 by Whisk
Multiple hot chocolate options at cocoa specialist, Ch2 by Whisk, make finding your ideal cup easy. The classic 64 percent cocoa Cocotology (46RMB) is solid, but it’s the Cocoa-phobia (46RMB) that really wins our heart. At 74 percent cocoa, the drink has a lavalike consistency and arrives served with a bowl of whipped cream. It’s undeniably decadent, but in contrast to most other options around town, it manages to avoid being sickly sweet.
Add: 1250 Huahai Zhong Lu, near Huating Lu
Farine’s signature hot chocolate is silky, very rich and quite spicy. Arriving in a small bowl, the drink immediately hits you with a waft of steaming wintery aromas that will transport you to the pistes in the French Alps. Made fresh daily using French vanilla bean, cinnamon and cardamom, this next-level cup will warm and sooth, and although we encourage ordering a croissant to dip into this glorious chocolate decadence, we’d advise not planning any vigorous exercise for a few hours after.
Add: 378 Wukang Lu, near Taian Lu
HoF aren’t just famous for their desserts – their chocolate drinks menu offers perhaps the best variety in the city, with five hot and three cold options available. For traditionalists, the creamy hot chocolate (38RMB) with 60 percent cocoa will appeal, but for us, it’s all about the Michel Cluizel hot chocolate (40RMB). This special drink is not overly thick, nor sweet, but slightly bitter with the deep flavour of 85 percent cocoa dancing about on the taste buds. If you’re after something denser and sweeter, the Italian thick hot chocolate (40RMB) will do the trick – served very warm, it’s one you can linger over all afternoon.
Add: 30 Sinan Lu, near Huahai Zhong Lu
Definitely one of the biggest hot chocolates about town, and certainly the most playful, is this giant mug from Kommune (45RMB), which comes complete with a chocolate marshmallow ball. This long-time Tianzifang bar and restaurant does a fairly peaceful trade during the week but is invariably packed on the weekends when punters flock to the terrace, even in winter.
We prefer heading indoors, where you can forget about the outside chill as you dip a large chocolate ball into a piping hot mug of milk to make this superb drink. It’s perhaps not the most refined of options, but it’s by far the most entertaining; and in terms of volume, the most filling.
Add: No 7, Lane 210, Taikang Lu, near Sinan Lu