This is all fiction


This time, they decide to go in. They’ve avoided it for weeks — months, even — despite the recommendations of friends. But today, the time is right. And so is the nippy weather: perfect for a cup of hot chocolate. Except at Knoops it doesn’t come in a cup. (And no, paper cups don’t count.) So that’s already one mark against them.

The variety available to order is meant to be impressive (everything from white to 100% dark) but in fact, it’s a worry. This is a place that has succumbed to the modern misapprehension that choice equates to quality. ‘If I can have anything I want, it must all be good.’ The marketeers have won: hordes of people have somehow come to believe this flawed logic. (Tip: always go for the restaurant with the minimalist menu.) After staring at the options for a while, she orders the milk version and he goes for the 85% dark.

They take a sip, and immediately, at the same time, they both know most of it will end up in the bin. This is not hot chocolate. This is frothy, warm milk, with a bit of chocolate added for flavouring. The taste is cow, not cacao. The froth is a sure sign that this is a beverage aimed at helping the active-wear-clad residents of Richmond revert to the comfort of the cradle. It is infantilism wrapped in paper. Into the bin it goes. And when they get home, they both have the same thought on their mind: dig out their Wedel stash from their last trip to Warsaw and make a cup of the real deal.

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