MoRoCo Chocolat is a chocolate lover's paradise nestled in the heart of Yorkville. With hundreds of sinful chocolate concoctions, there's seemingly no limit to Chef Iris Roteliuk's imagination. A dark loungy environment serving up tantalizing treats, this chocolatier is bringing the sexy back to plain old cacao.
Walking through the boutique is like opening a jewelery box of delights. Adopting a clean all white concept, tempting goodies stock the streamlined shelves. Technicolour macarons are gently stowed away in dainty pull out glass display cases. This is not a place where baked squares are served on parchment paper. Instead, the delectable treats are presented with a touch of finesse.
I'm utterly immobile in front of the chocolate fountain. Watching the continuous flow of chocolate cascading over tier after tier is quite seductive, and reinforces why chocolate is such a potent aphrodisiac.
The shop opens up on to a grandiose lounge. Plush velvet banquettes, chandeliers and offbeat sculptural busts are all very bourgeois. However, the stuffiness of neo Rococo décor is offset by quirky twists found at every corner. Courteous staff members are quick to point out the pièce de résistance: a complete tea set suspended upside down from the ceiling of one of the woman's bathroom stalls. General Manager, Terry Hughes describes it best: "This place is really like Alice and Wonderland meets Rock and Roll!" We recline on stylish daybeds out on the sun-drenched patio. After settling in, I begin to notice the kitschy touches thrown in at every corner. The frog stools, the garden gnomes dancing across the astro turf hedges and the oversized Elizabethan throne all manage to bring a smile to my face.
MoRoCo offers an extensive menu of French bistro fare for lunches, brunches and light dinners, as well as a full-out high tea service if given 24 hours notice. However, we are here for one thing only: the chocolate.
If you have been fortunate enough to visit Angelina in its heyday, long before it became a prime tourist trap in Paris, then you're already familiar with the luxurious Parisian pastime of sipping chocolate in swanky surroundings. Of MoRoCo's three sipping chocolates, I try the dark ($12 for a small pot). My espresso cup of velvety Valrhona chocolate is sinfully delicious. In between sips of melted bliss, I bite into a Caramel Roasted Pecan chocolate ($3.75). The gooey caramel oozes forth from its protective chocolate shell, a nice compliment to the bitter pecan. I sit back to enjoy the sugar rush and lapse into a surreal state, completely lost in a swirling Willy Wonka wonderland.
Greedy gulps of the Frozen White Queen ($16) further my buzz. A frothy, frozen, white chocolate martini heavily spiked with Cointreau, vanilla vodka and complete with an edible chocolate stirrer is sure to win over even those lacking a sweet tooth. I try a trio of salty caramel, pistachio and lavender cassis macarons ($2 each). In the past few months I've made it my personal mission to scour the entire city looking for the perfect macaron. A smooth ganache sandwiched by two perfect meringue disks that are crisp and break upon contact, but do not compromise on its dense, chewy texture. While I still vividly remember Pierre Herme and La Durée in Paris, the ones at MoRoco are pretty good. The consistency of the ganache in the Lavender Cassis is like sugary jam and the taste of the pistachio is overly perfume-like, but the salty caramel is just right. We also try their chocolate-vanilla twist frozen yoghurt sprinkled with chocolate pearls. Light, tart and ice cold, it comes as a shocking contrast to the indulgent sampling of creamy chocolates beforehand.
To top off the gluttonous buffet, we are presented with a smorgasbord of house made marshmallows, dark chocolate petals, warm caramel and chocolate sauces with an antique Mayan inspired burning torch. All of this hoopla is to transform s'mores ($22), the ultimate campfire treat, into the most exquisitely interactive experience for two. An ingenious way of bonding with a partner over a warm flame or breaking the ice on a frigid first date. MoRoCo certainly brings out the childlike whimsy in even the most jaded. Whether it's the secluded patio, the handsome interior or the individual bathrooms complete with light dimmers, there's something undeniably romantic and wonderfully magical about this place. Photos by Francis Jonas Yap.