A day without chocolate
is a day without sunshine
Wintery weather in Athens demands hot chocolate on a Sunday. But not any old hot chocolate will do. We’re at the elegant Le Petite Fleur in the upper crust suburb of Kifissia. The tiny interior is pink, white and pastel girly chic, with splashes of pillar box red. It’s sunny but a chilly, fickle wind keeps the temperatures well down. Hardy folk and smokers sit outdoors. We’re sitting inside, where Sarah Vaughan is playing (on vinyl) over the sound system. Seductive aromas of chocolate waft through the cafe, mingling with the jazz notes.
Leafy Kifissia is 16km north of the centre of Athens. It is a suburb of old money, stately neo-classical villas, luxury apartments, abundant chestnut and plane trees turning rust and flame towards winter, boutiques on narrow streets. And a dire lack of parking space. Posh Kifissia is not immune to graffiti – the scourge of modern Athens defacing almost every suburb.
But it’s still lovely, nonetheless. Gardens flourish here, more so than in concrete jungle areas closer to the city centre. A wintery weekend jaunt to the crisp air of Kifissia has long been an Athenian tradition I enjoy.
Chocolate flows in deep, dark, sweet waves
There’s no smoking indoors at Le Petite Fleur. For once, Athenians are observing the law. They can be fiercely laissez-faire and many don’t give a shit about passive smoking. Athenians light up and what-the-hell. Valrhona, the French luxury chocolate brand, is the basic mix for all the hot chocolate drinks at Le Petite Fleur which also serves a quality selection of coffee and tea. With delicious little cookies on the side. The menu offers chocolate tarts, cheesecakes, and serves light meals and some alcohol.
Greeks go more for milk chocolate loaded with sugar. Fortunately, Le Petite Fleur offers dark chocolate the way I like it too, with cinnamon and hot pepper served in cups almost as big as bowls. The waitress insists it’s “bitter” and warns me I might not like it. Of course I like it. Although I still prefer Spain’s hot chocolate – very dark, not overly sweet. Le Petite Fleur dark chocolate is spicy good, but alas, still too much sugar for me. There’s imaginative options for next time: Chocolate with honey, orange and brandy, chocolate praline. Kαλή όρεξη!
CHECK LIST FOR LE PETITE FLEUR
- Le Petite Fleur is in Kifissia at Αγίων Θεοδώρων 4 and also in Halandri and downtown Kolonaki
- Take a train or a bus from the CBD to Kifissia
- Serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies and cakes, light meals, some alcohol
- Delicious ice tea in summer
- No smoking indoors
- Open 7.30am – 11 pm daily
- Free wifi
- Credit cards accepted
- Prices start from €5 for hot chocolate but servings are generous.