Puerto Cacao

chocolate chaud

I keep a piece of paper near my front door. On it are places in Paris that I want to visit. When I hear about a place that sounds interesting, on the list it goes. Unfortunately, it seems as soon as I cross one off, a few more get added. And the list gets longer and longer and longer and longer and…

One particular spot that I’ve had my eye on for too long was Puerto Cacao, located in the farthest part of the city from where I live, requiring more than my limit of two métro changes. The focus of the shop is chocolate équitable, or fair trade chocolate.

So I was surprised when I was walking near the Marché d’Aligre and the store with the pricey mid-century modern furniture that I used to covet was gone. And in its place was a new hot chocolate spot.


I hovered around outside before stepping in. Being Saturday, there was an inordinate amount of kids in there. And while I love kids, especially the well-behaved French ones, there were a few too many strollers in there to circumvent. But once a few departed and the coast was clear, I was able to poke around and scope out the chocolate bars, which included lots of single-origin tablets, different kinds of cocoa powder, and interestingly, a few bars of pure, pale-white cocoa butter. Being Paris, naturally, there were rows of colorful macarons, but I was getting a little bande by a plate of brownies that looked über-dark, shiny, and bittersweet. (Which I saw getting doused with crème anglaise.) But I was there for the hot chocolate: le chocolat chaud.

Priced at just €3.5 per mug, it seemed like a deal. And the menu featured an extensive list of spices and add-ins that sounded interesting; cumin, cardamom, spiced Spanish red pepper, licorice, mint, and cinnamon were just a few. So I parked myself on one of the tall, unvarnished wooden stools, and ordered a mug.

pitcher of hot chocolate

The hot chocolate is made in batches, mixed by a double-urned machine. Then it’s microwaved to warm it up in a pitcher, to order. I was a little surprised that the hot chocolate that was set in front of me, dusted with spicy-red chile powder, wasn’t all that hot. (Or spicy.) I think the staff was distracted since they were running out of chocolate mix and one person was ready to finish their shift and didn’t want to stay, but the fellow staying on was encouraging her to make more. So a lot of attention wasn’t being paid to the details.

The menu says the hot chocolate is made from fèves des cacao torréfiés, roasted cocoa beans and organic low-fat milk, so I had high hopes for it. It wasn’t as bitter I expected, and prefer, and I assume it was made from dark chocolate, rather than straight cacao mass (100% unsweetened chocolate).

Still, there was something encouraging and good-natured about the place and I think once they get their bearings, it’ll be a nice address to know about if looking for a cozy neighborhood place for a warm spot of chocolat chaud. And in the summer, it’s good to know that a chocolate milk shake is going to be just a short walk away.

Puerto Cacao
2, rue Théophile Roussel (12th)
Tél: 01 43 47 58 60
Métro: Ledru-Rollin

(Another shop is located at 53, rue de Tocqueville, in the 17th.)

Related Links

Le Baron Rouge

Parisian Hot Chocolate (Recipe)

Tuesdays with Dorie

Bicerin (Recipe)

Paris Hot Chocolate Address Book

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  • October 17, 2009 3:22pm

    Too bad it was a little lacking, but still sounds like it could be great. I’m so happy that the French are catching on the fair trade. We’ve been big supporters in Canada for quite a few years now and I try to eat only fair trade chocolate.
    Merci pour l’addresse!

  • October 17, 2009 3:22pm

    Too bad it was a little lacking, but still sounds like it could be great. I’m so happy that the French are catching on to fair trade. We’ve been big supporters in Canada for quite a few years now and I try to eat only fair trade chocolate.
    Merci pour l’addresse!

  • Sarah
    October 17, 2009 3:39pm

    Pre made by machine then microwaved, sounds depressing to me. I hope they work out the kinks because the idea is fantastic and it seems like a great addition to the Paris chocolate scene. Maybe the brownies you passed by were as yummy as you thought they looked…. go back you fool! Just kidding, kinda not thoug, I don’t think I could have left wothout trying one.

    The best hot chocolate (Mexican style) I have had in the US is at XOCO here in Chicago. They roast and grind the cacao beans right in the front window, it is frothy and hot and incredibly delicious. The fresh out of the fryer churros are fantastic along side it. A must try restaurant when you come to Chicago.

    Another favorite, with at home luxury to boot, is Vosges Haut Chocolat. They make three flavors of hot chocolate. Aztec Elixir, Bianca Couture, and La Parisienne. They even sell a hand carved Molinillo so you can froth your drinking chocolate just like they do in Mexico. The Aztec is my favorite hot, but I love making frozen blended versions of the others in the summer. I am also addicted to their Wattleseed and Red Fire ice cream flavors.

    Maybe you’ll put these places on your list or even your online website list to check out :-) Puerto Cacao is now on my Paris list, a very long list now thanks to you and all I’ve discovered here.

  • October 17, 2009 4:22pm

    I have a list of places that I want to visit that grows faster than I can cross off too. One day it will become manageable! The spices offered with the hot chocolate sound so enticing, exotic, and comforting all at once. I don’t know how the French can consume such rich food as shiny brownies doused in crème anglaise and still stay thinner than Americans. This seems awfully decadent to me. How do the French do it?

  • October 17, 2009 5:37pm

    Looks delicious. I would love such a pitcher too. The spicy addition sounds great and worth a try.

  • October 17, 2009 5:44pm

    “Unfortunately, it seems as soon as I cross one off, a few more get added.”

    Ehm, not so unfortunate if you ask me, cher David.

  • Corvus Corax
    October 17, 2009 8:44pm

    David….once you’re committed to the 12th and the Ledru-Rollin Metro stop, you’re no doubt only a short distance from my favorite Paris restaurant, L’Auberge Le Quincy, aka “The Quincy,” located at 28 Avenue Ledru-Rollin.

    Owned by former George V Chef Bo Bossy and his wife, The Quincy is simply not to be missed. We make a point to eat there several times during visits to the City of LIghts. Whether it’s the farm pates to start, the Choux Farci in winter, the house prepared Fois Gras, or the delectable desserts (go for all of them, but if you aren’t tough enough for that, be sure to at least try the best Mousse aux Chocolat and Marron aux Syrop I’ve ever had) the place is just superb. And send a book report. It’s been a few years since our travels have taken us to Paris, but we can’t wait to go again.

  • October 17, 2009 9:52pm

    Oh my goodness. Is that the cure for chilly-garden fingers or what? I sure wish I’d thought of it this afternoon when I finished planting the garlic. Ah well, there is always tomorrow… and I will have to settle for homemade. Chocolat chaud in a pretty French cafe? Someday… someday.
    Thank you for taking us there David.

  • October 17, 2009 10:03pm

    Getting bandé by the brownies – ooh là là, how naughty David!

  • Sparky & Grommit
    October 18, 2009 1:11am

    Here in San Francisco, We too(two) keep an endlessly expanding list of restaurants to experience: so THANKS to the shout out of “Contigo”, which was truly hunger inducing (and drool, also); as well as being a mere six blocks from WHERE WE LIVE.

    P.S. We REALLY don’t blame you for the rather excessive parking citation we received. (Don’t extend into the crosswalk, EVER!) Next time taxi transport will be involved…

  • October 18, 2009 3:08am

    david said : “but I was getting a little bande by a plate of brownies”

    Snooker/pool saying, or naughty image ? It’s hard to know :D…

  • Haley
    October 18, 2009 9:23am

    Consider yourself lucky to be in Paris with so many places to go. I too have a list of places in Paris to see, but as I am not in Paris, it is just a word doc tucked away in the depths of my laptop. If I made a list of places to go in my hometown, it would probably have no items on it. Clearly, I need to move.

    I am currently in St. Andrews for a few months and am finidng it pretty lacking as well. I’ve found 2 restaurants I like. And one store that sells food.

    I’m wondering if the hot chocolate wasn’t hot because of the microwaving. I’ve found that when I make hot chocolate at home, the microwave doesn’t seem to get the milk very hot and that it cools down extremely quickly. It stays hot much longer when I make it on the stove.

  • Lori
    October 18, 2009 1:45pm

    In April of last year, I was staying on Ile St. Louis with my 13 year old niece. On the days when the rain (and, on one memorable occasion, hail) made us too cold to contemplate cornets @ Bertillon (hard to imagine, I know), we were saved by the lovely chocolat chaud at Cacao et Chocolat. I had the spiced and my 13 year old niece had the plain. We were both extremely happy.

    For the record, my favorite drinking chocolate ever is @ Cacao Sampaka in Barcelona. One cup is like the most blissful meal you can remember.

  • Thea Gurns
    October 18, 2009 11:09pm

    Ah, a list by the door — genius! Vintage/used bookstore in mountain Julian, La Jolla’s Whaling Bar for lunch with cute little glass martini pitcher in ice bucket, Paris. And, alas, Dahviiid, Sixth Arrondisemont. Our usual rented flat just t’other side of Boulevard St-Germaine. Organ music in St-Sulpice, a stroll down Rue Jacob, a stop into the olive place. Bliss, bliss, bliss. List goes up tonight. Oh, and Lyon again. This time paying attention. Thanks for the chocolate tip — already know about the silk, the roses.

  • October 19, 2009 1:31pm

    On it are places in Paris that I want to visit. When I hear about a place that sounds interesting, on the list it goes. Unfortunately, it seems as soon as I cross one off, a few more get added.

    I have a running list of books to read that is just like that — books get added, they slowly get crossed off, but the additions always outpace the subtractions!

  • Olivia
    October 19, 2009 2:21pm

    Oh please tell us more about the well behaved children of Paris! Yesterday, here in San Francisco, I watched a kid hit her mom, and the mom say “oh, you goofball.”

    This new cocoa place sounds like it has promise, I’ll be curious to hear if you have better experiences in the future.

  • October 20, 2009 8:04pm

    I’ve had hot chocolate with chili powder and loved it. Cumin and licorice with chocolate sound like they would be quite interesting! I can’t even imagine the flavors together… I’ll have to try that.

  • October 21, 2009 10:56am

    I personally like the stong chocolate flavor but I might give this a try!

  • October 21, 2009 10:58am

    I found this place by chance too..I was just coming from a hot chocolate tasting with chillies and anis at Lunch in The Loft, so I didn’t think I could manage another round..
    They were at the Salon du Chocolat as well.
    Next time…

  • October 21, 2009 11:03am

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for your super October newletter David, which got me out the door much earlier than usual to head over to Ble Sucre for their delicious kouign amann (sp)
    I must put a list by the door -what a good idea!

  • vaxcel
    October 23, 2009 11:55am

    Looks absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try a big mug of it.

  • October 23, 2009 10:45pm

    I keep reading about mexican hot chocolate…I am going to have to make some this weekend. I’m having 11 women over for a ladies Night In and fiesta theme. I love the idea of cinnamon and cayenne and some good chocolate mixed in with whole milk or maybe a tad bit of heavy cream?

  • October 29, 2009 7:23am

    its nice to surf into the lovely blog of yours.. very interesting

    just a hello all the way from Singapore

    Leon :)

  • Amy
    October 25, 2010 1:30pm

    Coincidentally, we went here yesterday after our regular market shopping at the place d’Aligre daily markets. I am sorry to say that whilst the hot chocolate was a wee bit spicey {I chose ginger} it was not hot at all! And on a chilly October morning, I want scalding! I dont think mine got the microwave treatment. We also had the brownie, which was rather special and not too sweet. However, there is a little chocolate shop round the corner, on the Rue d’aligre {called ‘gout the and chocolat’} and they do a hand-made 70% cocoa hot chocolate, in the little mixer things at the door, it is divine! Much thicker than the Puerto Cacao version and a teensy bit hotter. Mmmmmmm