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Sipping Basque Hot Chocolate in Bayonne
According to legend, Bayonne was the launchpad for chocolate consumption in France. It arrived in Europe by way of Spain in the 16th century thanks to Hernán Cortés, a Spanish Explorer who brought cocoa beans from Mexico. Jewish artisans, who were skilled at making chocolate (among other things), were expelled from Spain and later Portugal during the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand and settled in Bayonne, where they continued to hone their craft. The chocolate was transformed into a rich, creamy liquid that would go onto become the drink of choice for royalty. Since 1854, the tradition at Cazenave has been the chocolat mousseux -a hot chocolate whipped by hand using cocoa beans roasted on-site. A hint of cinnamon spices up the drink while the rich, homemade whipped cream that it's served with makes it indulgent. Enjoy a cup in their salon de thé but don't leave without picking up several bars of colorfully wrapped chocolate to take home with you.
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