Sunday morning we all woke up with the collective desire for some joint-warming exercise and fresh air. Not very surprising, considering we’d been in semi-hibernation since it first snowed mid November and the couch had basically become our best friend. We decided on a long hike from our condo building near whyte ave to Cococo on 124’th street where we’d reward ourselves with chocolate and coffee. That’s just how we function as a family, if you really want to get us to do something, give us food. Guaranteed, one of us will take the plunge. The walk there took about an hour and it was truly lovely. Edmonton can be gorgeous in the winter with It’s seemingly endless expanses of white and it’s powerful sun which reflects everything in a silvery haze. There are also some really fascinating vintage, Downton Abbey-like buildings along the road that leads to 124’th, a beautiful little street with many benches and an imposing view of the river valley.
The walk was definitely frigid though, and by the time we finally reached Cococo I had had enough of the great outdoors.
Cococo is a Calgary based company that bought out the bankrupt Bernard Callebaut franchise a couple years ago. They’ve been selling Bernard Callebaut chocolates ever since and about a year ago, the company opened their first chocolate boutique and café in Edmonton. We’ve gone several times, although only to buy chocolate, which is and has always been incredible and for house-made gelato and sorbet. Sunday, we opted for warm drinks. My father ordered chamomile tea and a croissant, which I must admit he called an incredible pastry. He spotted it in the display case, which had many interesting looking pastries and looked adorable with it’s lace decorations and ribbons.
My mother and I were unfortunately a little disappointed. Our order was taken quickly by a kind and cheery barista and delivered to our table within minutes, which is where it gets strange. She had ordered an earl grey but said it was ‘too sweet’ and ‘not nearly warm enough’, which didn’t make any sense considering how quickly our drinks came. I had a soy chai latte which sadly, was also on the bland side and barely tepid.
The soymilk they used was delicious but the chai only tasted milky, not spicy, which was what I was expecting. Then again, it could have just been a bad drink day for the cafe. I’ll judge the next time I go, although I’ll probably opt for a signature hot chocolate instead, which sounds infinitely more promising.
I also noticed they had several new chocolates, including a spicy habanero dark chocolate with sea salt that I just had to try and which was downright incredible. The chocolate bar is incredibly balanced in sweetness and spice, the sea salt coating giving crunch to the chocolate. It has a creamy texture and melts on the tongue almost like a truffle. Although I’m not much of a fan of milk chocolate, I’m sure the milk variant is delicious as well.
A third of the store is devoted to beautiful chocolate sculptures, gifts and novelties which are arranged so beautifully you don’t even want to touch them.
In any case, Cococo is definitely the place to go for killer gelato, French pastries and chocolate. The ambiance is lovely and the staff kind. However, I am not so sure about their drinks. It may have just been an off day, so I will definitely give them another chance.