The top four places for hot cocoa in JerusalemAs the mercury drops in this city nestled high among the peaks of the Judean Hills, Jerusalemites - who always manage to seem slightly surprised that the weather has yet again grown cold - seek out traditional sources of warmth.
As the mercury drops in this city nestled high among the peaks of the Judean Hills, Jerusalemites - who always manage to seem slightly surprised that the weather has yet again grown cold - seek out traditional sources of warmth. While it's hard to beat the local authenticity of huddling around a tiny space heater in a damp, stone-walled apartment, or stopping in the shuk for a restorative sachlab (a hot orchid root pudding), many in Jerusalem prefer more Western means of snubbing winter weather - like, perhaps, a nice hot chocolate.
Fortunately for cocoa-heads, Jerusalem is not a city in which one is subjected to the powdered, dehydrated-marshmallowed cruelties of the Swiss Miss and her pigtails. It's easy to find authentic, contains-actual-chocolate cocoa in the Holy City, so grab a mug at any of the following places, and banish the chill.
Israel's flagship coffee chain Aroma does right by hot chocolate. Order one, and you'll get a thick-walled glass full of piping hot milk poured over a rapidly melting solid chocolate bar - affording you the appealing activity of mixing your own drink, watching as the molten dark chocolate swirls its way through the milk. It's aesthetically and gastronomically pleasing.
At Tmol Shilshom, it's all about the atmosphere - though the cocoa is delicious as S.Y. Agnon's prose, from which this classic Nachalat Shiva cafe draws its name. Grab a cozy table, lean back against a Jerusalem stone wall and enjoy your cocoa over one of hundreds of well-thumbed books that line Tmol Shilshom's interior.
Also appealing to cultured sensibilities is Mona, a night owl and artistes' haunt of a cafe built into the former home of the Bezalel Academy of Art.
Mona trades in a stylish Continentalism, and boasts the hot chocolate to match - and it's also open on Friday night, when most of the city's cafes are shut down for Shabbat. And since it's a bar too, nobody will say boo if you feel cocoa benefits from a Jameson depth charge.
The now-international chocolate powerhouse got its start in Ra'anana, but its erotically charged and "sensual" marketing made it more of a Tel Aviv than Jerusalem thing - that is, until a Max Brenner outlet finally opened up on chi-chi Emek Refaim Street.
Here the hot chocolate, made with the chocolate that made that composite bald guy famous, gets served in interestingly designed two-handed mugs. If you need two hands to drink it, you know there'll be plenty of it.
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