Back in the fall (it takes a while to write some reviews), after a long morning of moving furniture, bad traffic, and grumpy spats with my partner, I figured a relaxing and indulgent trip to Naked Chocolate Café , a chocolate bistro and lounge in Center City Philadelphia, was in order.
The interior of Naked Chocolate looks like an elegant bistro with much emphasis on sweet delicacies: chocolate candies, truffles, chocolate-dipped fruits, cupcakes, pastries, and other desserts. We must have hit chocolate rush hour, because there wasn’t an empty table in the house, and the line of waiting customers completely obscured the glass display cases. After bopping back and forth between customers to peek at the offerings, I decided on a vanilla cupcake with pastel green frosting and a small European-style drinking chocolate, their signature drink. My partner chose the spicy Aztec drinking chocolate, infused with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
We ordered our treats to-go since there wasn’t a seat in the house, much less standing room, but by the time we got our treats (not long) the place had cleared out and we decided to sit down. By ordering to-go, we missed on the formalities of having the cupcake presented on a plate and the drinking chocolate served in small, espresso-sized cups. Instead, I got a cupcake in a box, and what seemed like a huge paper cup with a smidge of hot chocolate in the bottom. Presentation is key; I wish we had ordered to eat in.
Drinking chocolate is extremely thick and meant to be sipped. The café offers three sizes: petite, indulgent, and “we’ll never tell.” You can really only stand to drink a little, so I imagine they chose the name for the larger size not because you're being naughty, but because it will kill you and then they'll have to dispose of your body.
I enjoyed the first few sips of my drinking chocolate, and my partner’s spicy drinking chocolate even more. Then I began to feel ill. The chocolate was so thick; I imagined I was drinking straight melted chocolate. Instead of an experience of sensual indulgence, it was more like gluttonous sin. Not in the good way, but in an icky way. (Let me add that I have enjoyed drinking chocolate before, I will eat anything chocolate, and have no inhibitions about eating rich desserts.) I wish I had ordered the American hot chocolate. I apparently was in the mood for a chocolate beverage, not melted chocolate.
If you need to fulfill your chocolate desires, this is the place to do it. All of the chocolates and desserts are made daily in their open kitchen. (My cupcake was delish, by the way.) Just be forewarned that, while the drinking chocolate is good, it is rich and better thought of as dessert and not a beverage. I knew this, and still went wrong.
Naked Chocolate Café,
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