Sponsor
Subscribe

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

RSS|ATOM|RDF

Subscribe with Bloglines

Add to My Yahoo!

Sponsor

blog advertising is good for you
Personal
Search Site
Recently


Endings, Beginnings
and Spaghetti

The Anna
Tasca Lanza
Cooking School

Springtime
in Sicily


Born-Again
Vegetable
Boiling

An Inspiring
Book


Cold
Comfort


The Pizza
Project

Happy 2012, Long Time
No See



How to
Cook Indian


Blogs Around the World

101 COOKBOOKS
San Francisco, CA, USA
AN ENDLESS BANQUET
Montreal, Canada
BLEEDING ESPRESSO
Calabria, Italy
CHEZ PIM
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
CHUBBY HUBBY
Singapore
CREAMPUFFS IN VENICE
Toronto, Canada
COOKING ADVENTURES OF CHEF PAZ
New York, NY, USA
DAVID LEBOVITZ
Paris, France
DELICIOUS DAYS
Munich, Germany
DESERT CANDY
Washington D.C., USA
DINNER WITH JULIE
Calgary, Canada
DORIE GREENSPAN
Paris and NYC
EGGBEATER
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
FOOD & THOUGHTS
Copenhagen, Denmark
FOOD BEAM
Côte d'Azur, France
GLUTEN-FREE GIRL
Seattle, WA, USA
GRAB YOUR FORK
Sydney, Australia
HOMESICK TEXAN
New York, NY, USA
IL CAVOLETTO DI BRUXELLES
Rome, Italy
KALYN'S KITCHEN
Salt Lake City, UT, USA 
KUIDAORE
Singapore
LA TARTINE GOURMANDE
Boston, MA, USA
LOBSTERSQUAD
Madrid, Spain 
LUCULLIAN DELIGHTS
Pistoia, Italy 
LUCY'S KITCHEN NOTEBOOK
Lyon, France
MATT BITES
Los Angeles, CA, USA
MY MADELINE
Boston, MA, USA
NAMI-NAMI
Tallinn, Estonia
NORDLJUS
Suffolk, UK
ORANGETTE
Seattle, WA, USA
THE PASSIONATE COOK
Singapore
RAMBLING SPOON
Chang Mai, Thailand
ROSA JACKSON
Nice/Paris, France
SEVEN SPOONS
Ontario, Canada
SIMPLY RECIPES

SF Bay Area, CA, USA
SMITTEN KITCHEN
New York, NY, USA
STEAMY KITCHEN
Tampa Bay, FL, USA
SWEET AMANDINE
Cambridge, MA, USA
TARTELETTE
Charleston, SC, USA
TEA AND COOKIES
SF Bay Area, CA, USA 
TOAST
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
THE WEDNESDAY CHEF
Berlin, Germany

Beyond Blogs

MORE FOOD LINKS... 

« School Food | Main | Where do food passions come from? »
Thursday
Mar312005

Edinburgh Gems: Plaisir du Chocolat

 

It's no secret that quality food can be hard to come by in Scotland. The climate's not very good for growing much of anything, and somewhere along the line local tastes made a mass migration towards things cloaked in fried batter. And when good food does appear, it's usually under the guise of an expensive and somewhat pretentious restaurant meal, the kind that if you live here you can probably only afford once or twice a year. With that in mind, I've decided to profile a few of the places I've discovered over my years in Edinburgh that really stand out, whether for the quality of their food, their ambience, or the strikingly good value they represent in a city with often overblown food prices.

plaisir.jpgFirst on anyone's list of local foodie gems should be Plaisir du Chocolat. This diminutive cafe and pâtisserie, which actually encompasses two locations across the street from each other, is a little haven of France in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. On a bleak winter's day there is nothing more comforting than to spend a few hours lounging beneath the potted palms at one of their iron tables, drinking in the smells of chocolate simmering away in the back kitchen. The decor, with its understated Art Nouveau elegance, along with the slightly aloof waitstaff will leave you feeling like you've been teleported across the Channel - and to complete the illusion they'll even let you pay for your chocolate in Euros.

As the name suggests, chocolate here is the prima donna, but they do seem to make a brisk business of selling real food as well. The food is supposed to be very good, things like salmon quiche and tarte à l'oignon, foie gras terrine and braised rabbit, but it's not cheap, and let's not kid ourselves - the only reason you really want to come here is the chocolate. I was lured here the first time by descriptions of their hot chocolate, which is how I discovered that they also take a lot of pride in their tea. The menu I was given for hot chocolate, in fact, listed nothing but teas for the first forty pages or so, complete with descriptions of the hillside they were grown on, the handwashing habits of their pickers, and the general climatic situation at the moment of their harvest. An impressive collection, I'm sure, but I was more interested in the chocolate. Tucked away on the back page, it's not an incredibly long list, but it encompasses a lot. Depending on your mood you can order a single origin hot chocolate (Venezuelan, Caribbean, or Madagascar?), something called 'chocolate espresso' (a tiny espresso cup of warm ganache), or various liquer-imbued concoctions. They make their hot chocolate from melted bars of high-percentage Michel Cluizel, and they don't dishonor the brown gold by bumping up the sugar content. They do have sugar around, obviously, as I discovered when I made the obvious faux-pas of asking for some to make my 99% Noir Americain a little more palatable (the uncomprehending look from the waitress was enough to discourage me from doing *that* again). If you're in the mood for chocolate in a more solid form, they have a selection of cakes to die for. Just go up to the counter and point at what you want - they're all good.

Finally, if you can avert your eyes from the cakes for long enough you'll see that they also produce chocolate in a more transportablechocolates.jpg form, which is just the thing if you're wondering how to take all this chocolate ecstasy home with you. They sell little ganache-filled chocolates, beautifully decorated and full of flavors which will surely spark some after-dinner conversation. How about hot chili, rosewater or smoked tea? Or maybe whiskey and heather honey? Make sure you read the full list of flavors on the wall before you make your selection - and try to remember which is which, because you will certainly buy so many different flavors that you won't remember when you're home.

Plaisir du Chocolat, 251-253 Canongate, Edinburgh. Tel. 0131 556 9524

Update July 2007: It saddens me deeply to report that due to financial problems, Plaisir du Chocolat has closed! While there appears to be a new chocolate-based business in its place, it is in no way affiliated with the original. Plaisir's website says they are looking for a new address and will hopefully be open in time for Christmas; I'll certainly post it here once I know about it. 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (6)

isn't it a lovely place to be? gosh i so miss Edinburgh! this is a really sweet site... i just discovered it! am currently doing on a year away from Edinburgh in the Twin Cities and hoping to finish my PhD soon too.
January 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermay
I really love Plaisir. Great place to relax, you can even be served champagne with those fabulous gateaux cakes (the raspberry was my favorite). i was one of their aloof waitstaff and i really enjoyed my time there. I was so happy to see a page online about it, good memories.
April 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChristina
Plaisir does indeed do fantastic chocolate, but there service is worse than aloof now, particularly if you make the mistake of attempting to buy something to take away with you. Would you believe 75 minutes to buy 3 types of tea in a presentation box? £65 I was spending - a present for someone who loves these particular teas. I used to be regular, but not any more.
September 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJacq

shame it closed down - looks like we're missing a treat there.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertenerife

Scotland is seriously a great place..i visit there few years ago...and i enjoy there alot...and it was a great fun there...i also visit Plaisir du Chocolat that time..it was great...the food was very good....i like your post alot..thanks for shring it

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervilla espagne

Plaisir du chocolate shifted to Dubai, I'm sitting there trying its delightful chocolate tart and delicately flavored teas. Those who miss it can look it up if they ever visit the UAE

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSafa

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>