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Forget fancy cocktails and hoity-toity mixologists. The newest bars in France are serving up chocolate.
Puerto Cacao, a friendly destination in Paris’ 17th arrondissement, sells rich hot chocolate spiked with flavors like vanilla, ginger or mint by the cup or the liter. Chocolate brownies, crepes, fondue and mousse are also available. Out in Strasbourg, two successful shops recently opened. Bistrot et Chocolat stocks 12 kinds of hot chocolate, and Déclinaison Chocolat is run by 26-year-old confection wunderkind Stephane Gross (he plans to open an outpost in Paris next year).
Never an industry to miss a trend, fashion companies have gotten in on the cocoa craze, too. Jewelry firm Mauboussin just opened a chocolate bar on the third floor of its Champs-Elysées flagship where customers can sample exotic varieties like Guanaja, Manjari or Caraïbe while perusing pricy baubles. The store also serves mini chocolate tarts and fluffy chocolate creams.
Even soccer and rugby fans, not exactly known for sophistication, can get their fancy chocolate fix at Stade de France, the stadium in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. Pastry guru Pierre Hermé has opened a chic and cozy lounge where he will serve desserts including chocolate and raspberry macaroons and coffee-spiked chocolate tarts for any sports nut with a craving.