L’Armoire à Cuillères / Le Jardin d’Hiver

Winter garden

If travelling shapes your youth, it can also have an influence on what you drink. After having lived in many cold countries, Mallorie returned to her homeland here in Clermont-Ferrand to open up L’Armoire à Cuillères. Surely, she decided to set up her very own hot chocolate café as she was still shivering away with thoughts of the Far North. On the menu, expect a comforting hot chocolate like grandma used to make. Enjoy it inside this welcoming spot which is a bit of a cosy cocoon (randomly pick up a book on display while seated on impressive wooden benches), and tuck into a generous slice of chocolate cake or bars of chocolate. You’ll not find any industrial products here, as everything is organic and locally made. It’s not unusual to find the owner at the Saint-Joseph market early on a Friday morning.

Sunday brunch (11.30am to 1.30pm) only costs 14 euros and includes a hot drink, organic fruit juice, bread and spreads, a fruit basket and a savoury dish. Take note: they don’t take reservations for brunch during the week, you can only book the night before so as to keep food waste to a minimum. Don’t even try to call on Sunday morning, as Mallorie will be in the kitchen. It’s no surprise that this place is a rip-roaring success. Measuring a tiny 20m2, the aptly-named Armoire (“wardrobe” in English) is bursting at the seams! And so, the decision was made to open the Jardin d’Hiver in 2016. The extension is designed for groups and workshops, with reservations available online.

Nico Prat