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Lachoco Latera is a little hole in the heart of Macarena, distilled from the franticness that the city often induces, where you can savour decadent chocolate and take some time out for yourself. The name takes its cue from children’s songs. Its lightheartedness and simplicity points to a grand philosophy of life – that you can enjoy life from just the simplest things, whether it is enjoying a reassuring cup of hot chocolate, taking time to read a good book, or spending time with our friends and families.
Marcela is the mastermind behind the divine chocolate shop-cum-café. All her life has been imbued with chocolate. She grew up with the dark matter when she was showered by the chocolates that her mother brought back from across the world. After writing a dissertation on the anthropological aspects of chocolate at the Universidad Externado, and studying the crafts of chocolate in Argentina, Marcela returned to show everyone what good chocolate is and how to live life.
The hand-made, beautiful artisan chocolates with imaginative flavours are hard to find in Bogotá. The range of irresistible temptations really takes the indecisive part of you. Should I go for the experimental coriander, or my solid favourite dark chocolate and nuts? These unique flavours are inspired by Marcela’s daily life and chosen for their Colombian reference. Take the lemon and coconut milk chocolate. It is inspired by the coconut lemonade that is widely consumed on the northern coasts. Or you have the sabajon of feijoa, the chocolate that is made with the liquor of a rare green fruit that inhabits in South America. Each piece of chocolate is a 3 course meal in itself. The mango and green pepper dark chocolate, a curiously looking camouflage-patterned little stub, first engulfs you, and then with the mango’s freshness rinses your palate just like the sorbet that interludes a French dinner, finishes with a surprise spicy kick.
Needless to say, all the chocolates are made from natural ingredients. Since all the flavours have been thoughtfully designed by Marcela, the chocolates have become an extension of her. So eating these chocolates gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling that someone is reaching out to caress your heart.
To avoid the dilemma of choices, it’s best to go with a group of friends to share the love. ‘Chocolate is such a magically thing. It’s something that you can share among your loved ones for the special moments. But it can also be shared among your friends just because it’s such a great and happy thing!’ says Marcela.
At Lachoco, you’ll see that most people go for a cup of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate-drinking is a tradition that is deeply engrained in the consciousness of Colombians, especially in the Andean capital. It’s usually drunk at teatime in Colombia after 5pm, which is the Once. The code name Once, meaning eleven, was adopted for men to disguise their plan to go for a drink of the throat-burning liquor that is spelt with 11 alphabets, Aguardiente, instead of the innocent hot chocolate. Nowadays, friends normally meet up for a coffee or a beer, and the hot chocolate-drinking tradition has retreated to the domestic space, shared intimately among families.
Lachoco not only brings back the tradition, it has reinvented the Colombian hot chocolate! Although still served in the Colombian way, with semi-hard cheese and white bread (or Almojabanas) that you would dunk into the chocolate, Lachoco’s hot chocolate is not as sickly sweet as the ones you’d get in an old fashioned place like La Puerta Falsa. Apart from the standard chocolate completo, you have numerous others: cremoso, cinnamon and clove, the unusual mint and even ginger. The light and fluffy roll with a crusty skin that comes out fresh from the oven is more commonly found Europe than in Colombia.
Instead of tourists, the place is filled with bohemian types of all ages from the neighbourhood. They seem to have made the Lachoco their regular hangout, like their local pub. ‘It’s a place that was born out of our love,’ said Rafael, the man behind the chocolate goddess. Filled with so much love and passion, it’s such a warming place to bring your loved ones to share your appreciation for each other and for life, whether it’s on Valentine’s or any other day, because you don’t need a special day to show your gratitude.
With softly-played music and a colourful interior decorated by Violeta Iris, the Colombian artist, Lachoco is a sanctuary where you can spend a Sunday afternoon to recharge your batteries with its positive energy. You can also get your reading inspiration from the large selection of books from Rafael, who said, ‘Lachoco is where chocolate meets books.’ Since the couple has recently had two children, the bookshelves are also filled with children’s books for your family time!
Make sure you go there for their Valentine’s special flavour, the cherry dark chocolate truffle!