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Miles & Hyde: The Hot Chocolate High

Miles & Hyde: The Hot Chocolate High

A Snow Day in the City

SoHo, NY -- Chandeliers toss prisms of soft blue and gold about the cocoa-infused room. A red leather chair rests on the warm wooden floor below me, and the murmurs of other guests rise and fall in time with Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Rows of buttery fresh-made pastries wave from a glass case.  

A black-clad waiter sets a tray with six tea cups onto the small marble table. Four containing varying shades of thick chocolate, and the other two hold mountains of whipped cream garnished with nutmeg. 

My friends, Lizzie from Oregon, and Fahanny from Ecuador, my mother, Rebecca, and I reach for our orders of hot chocolate, eager to hold the floral cups in our frozen hands after a full afternoon in New York’s January snowfall. 

Lizzie’s eyes widen to the size of the “Oh!” that follows her first sip. “I was not expecting this,” she said, scooping a cloud of whipped cream onto her cup. 

“Fruit of all the kinds that the country produced were laid before him; he ate very little, but from time to time a liquor prepared from cocoa, and of an aphrodisiac nature, as we were told, was presented to him in golden cups... I observed a number of jars, above fifty, brought in, filled with foaming chocolate of which he took some…”
— Bernal Diaz del Castillo

Everyone has experienced underwhelming hot chocolate at some point in their lives, but this was Lizzie and Fahanny’s first encounter with the pure nector that is MarieBelle hot chocolate. 

Not underwhelming at all. 

MarieBelle is an elegant boutique for handcrafted chocolates and sweets with a European-style cafe located in the back. All of their chocolate is made of rare fine Criollo cacao beans sourced from all over the world. 

Their hot cocoa bar offers unique dark, milk, and white chocolate flavors such as cinnamon stick and nutmeg, freshly ground hazelnuts, and aztec. 

The first time I ever had it, I was so blown away that I couldn’t even finish it. It was, and remains, the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. 

Fahanny sits in silence, eyes shut. Lizzie can’t stop giggling. I’m starting to wonder what exactly they put in that hot chocolate. 

I don’t think too hard, however, because before I know it I am giggling, too. 

Mom shakes her head. 

“I told you this hot chocolate is like a spiritual experience!” 

Now even the waiter is giggling as we try to calm our laughter long enough to sip down our last drops. 

Mom and Fahanny looking Fabulous!

Mom and Fahanny looking Fabulous!

“If any man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure; if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent asleep; if his fine spirits have become temporarily dulled; if he finds the air too damp, the minutes too slow, and the atmosphere too heavy to withstand; if he is obsessed by a fixed idea which bars him from any freedom of thought: if he is any of these poor creatures, we say, let him be given a good pint of amber-flavored chocolate... and marvels will be performed.”
— Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

And After

Post-Chocolate -- We hardly noticed the white clusters of snow still falling, silencing the city, when we found ourselves back on the street some great time later. The four of us were completely overtaken by a euphoric hot cocoa haze.

Lizzie was still giggling and Fahanny still said nothing.

The clouds in the sky were darkened, as the sun fell asleep, leaving the snowflakes that fell outlined in the golden light from the streetlights. 

We were sleepy and feared that once the chocolate buzz had worn off we would realize how cold we were, but we were having such fun in our vintage hats and Fahanny’s fancy hair-dos that we couldn’t go home just yet. 

I’m sure we looked ridiculous; four women in the middle of a New York winter, underdressed according to warmth standards and overdressed according to decorum standards garnering odd glances from to chic head-to-toe-in-black fashionistas with pointy shoes. 

We didn’t care. 

Back at the apartment, we were still giggling, punch drunk on chocolate,  as we sat in our pjs, falling in love with Frank Sinatra in High Society (also starring Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly), enjoying Fahanny’s famous plantain dinner which we served in martini glasses just for kicks. 

From racing along the river in our mud boots and dresses, to hot cocoa highs, to Ecuadorian cuisine served with a side of Sinatra, it was a full day sprinkled in confectioners sugar snowflakes and the warm laughter of good friends.

Miles & Hyde: The Murder of Bonnie and Clyde

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