May 22, 2006

Melissa's: Nutella Hot Chocolate

Maki over at I Was Just Really Very Hungry has just hosted a food blogging event, entitled “Food Destinations”. The idea is for bloggers in all corners of the world to submit a list of their favourite (respective) local eats. Since I was away in Maine over the past week, I have also missed the submission date, but let's pretend I'm merely running on African time, ok?

Since my blog is supposed to be about Cape Town (although I keep on forgetting), I really wanted to participate, but of course, I am currently in the States, so much as I want to, I can’t use this event as an excuse to rush out and photograph (ok, ok, eat at) all my favourite Capetonian haunts. I’ve already blogged one of my favourite Winelands eats, Hillcrest Berry Farm (see photo, right), and any list would have to include places like Olympia Café, Kauai Health Food and Juice Co., Bukhara... the eclectic, random list goes on.

My American flatmates came to visit me in Cape Town two and a half years ago, and we had a marvellous time. And when I ask them about their favourite food memories, they invariably reminisce about our visit to Melissa's Food Shop.

One day I will blog about Melissa’s Food Shop in detail, explaining how it revolutionized the Cape Culinary scene. For now, I will stick to the important stuff. Namely, their nutella hot chocolate.

Now, the recipe is no secret. I’ve watched with anticipation while the wait staff make it. Assiduously slather the inside base and sides of a mug with nutella, then fill with steaming hot milk. If you use a pretty glass coffee mug like Melissa’s does, you can scrape some of the nutella off the mug sides with a spoon in artistic squiggle patterns, turning the milk slightly chocolatey. Then it is up to the drinker to adjust the milk’s chocolateyness by scraping more of the nutella into the hot milk, where it dissolves. If you don’t scrape all the nutella into the milk, you can always eat it with aforementioned spoon once all the milk’s gone.

This is as good – and deadly – as it sounds. My father, the only person I’ve ever seen eat All Bran Flakes with cream and condensed milk, is understandably addicted to the stuff. Once, when my mother was waiting in line to pay for some bread at the Constantia branch of Melissa’s, she called my father who, of all the coincidences, happened to be drinking a hot chocolate at their Newlands branch! The employee at the till, who knew my family through our numerous visits, overheard my mother’s exclamations and said, with something akin to horror – “Your husband can’t be drinking a nutella hot chocolate at Newlands! He drank one here, only two hours ago!” Like all drug addicts, my father tries to hide his addiction. But sometimes, ‘coincidence’ gets the better of you.

On another occasion, I joined Dad for a hot chocolate run after school. Several hours later, I realized I had accidentally left my school jersey behind at Melissa’s. I returned with Dad, and we found the jersey, neatly folded behind the counter, with a label someone had attached: “Mr Hot Chocolate’s Daughter’s Jersey.” ‘Nuff said.

Melissa’s Food Shop
- 94 Kloof St, Tamboerskloof
- Shop 3, Cardiff Castle, Kildare Rd, Newlands
- Shop 1&2 Constanti Courtyard, Main Rd, Constantia
- Cnr Sportica and Bill Bezuidenhout Rds, Tygervalley
- Somerset Road, Greenpoint

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