Like water for chocolate. We had watched that movie in Spanish class and discussed the title. What do you think they mean by this? We had not known it was a Mexican phrase where the water to make hot chocolate boils so furiously that it is a metaphor for anger. We make hot chocolate with milk, we had replied.
I was not in Mexico, I was in Guatemala, but it was still the first time I had seen tradicional chocolate with water on a menu.
Café Condesa had been written up on the sheets I had photocopied from a guidebook. Whilst I am reluctant about reviews from such sources, this charming café turned out to be a top tip. It is in a colonial house on the main square and can be spotted by the bookshop at the front. Walking past the shelves, the café is in a large courtyard towards the centre of the building. The courtyard is both peaceful, sunny and has wifi (yes, I am a geek I know).
Before reaching Antigua, I had been stuck in Puerto Obaldia, a tiny village that acts as a gateway from South to Central America. It was the only place I disliked on my whole trip. There was no electricity during the day, barely any food let alone anything vegetarian but worst of all the people were so unpleasant that I truly believe they hated anyone who was not from their village. Plus, the only way to escape was by boat and they refused to take us (despite them asking for a ridiculous sum of money) because it was slightly drizzling. We were stuck.
With this in mind, you will understand why I was so excited to finally have a delicious meal. I was so excited in fact that I wanted to try everything on the menu.
Vegetarian sandwiches, what a novel concept. I ordered an open sandwich with a white bean puree, spinach and a tomato salsa. It came with a side salad of seeded cucumber, capsicum and tomato.
Craving potatoes I also got a dish of fried ones with spring onions. They were buttery and soft, like a home cooked meal.
Wanting to continue the flavours of this delightful courtyard, I ordered a hot chocolate with water and an apple pie. The hot chocolate was amazing, so smooth and rich with slight spices too – I was addicted and could not but help return nearly every day for one of these.
The pie was apple with blackberries and cloves. It was similarly delicious.
The next day I was back again, ordering another hot chocolate, this time with a slice of Macadamia pie which I had spotted in the cabinet of Café Condesa’s take-away shop front next door. It was amazing. The macadamias were fresh and were help together by a buttery caramel. The short-crust pastry was not perfectly presented (with uneven edges as if squashed together by hand) but still perfect in texture and flavour. I was now also addicted to this pie and returned the next day for more.
The only other thing to note, is that I did also eat breakfast here one morning. I had scrabbled eggs with tomato. The serving was generous, something I could have made myself but that I enjoyed eating in this setting, with of course a mug of hot chocolate.
5 Avenida Norte No. 5
(502) 7832 0038