In 18th-century Europe, aristocrats would start their day with a cup of drinking chocolate while bathing in chocolate before suppressing peasant riots with a high-pressure chocolate hose. Today's Groupon lets Philly residents start theirs in similar fashion. For $10, you get $20 worth of sweet treats at Golosa Chocolate Bar & Dessert Lounge. The intimate Bella Vista eatery stocks a stunning selection of specialty truffles, cakes, and baked goods, as well as delicious coffees and hot or cold drinking chocolates perfect for throwing in the face of double-crossing business partners. Stop by Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Helmed by Fabio Scarpelli, an energetic Italian with a serious sweet tooth, Golosa is best known for its dozen varieties of hot drinking chocolate. Unlike the messy, powder-based brews chugged in ski lodges and space stations that haven't yet realized they've been abandoned, Golosa's cups of cocoa are thick, authentic, and velvety smooth. Try the spicy Peperoncino kicked up with red chili pepper ($6), or sink into the warm caramel base of the salty, gooey Salata al Caramello ($6). Equally exotic elixirs such as the Cardamom and White Pepper ($6) and Speziata ($6) pair well with the tiramisu, chocolate crème brûlée, pumpkin cheesecake, and other forkable treats on Golosa's rotating menu.
Golosa offers complimentary WiFi and is BYOB, so you can simultaneously get your fix of acronyms while infusing your hot chocolate with your choice of tipple. Golosa recommends dessert wines, Shiraz, Zinfandel, cognac, whiskey, port, and dark aged rum so long as it isn't the grog the British Navy handed out when they press-ganged you. Gourmet hot chocolate is the perfect beverage for those prone to passing out when consuming it in its natural gas state, as well as those just looking to pass the time with their tongues wrapped in a silky blanket of nostalgia.
- What came to my table was no mug of hot milk muddied with cocoa powder. It was solid chocolate — a bracing 70 percent cacao — melted in a cup. Scarpelli had seasoned it with salt and hot chili pepper, and he confessed to a trace element of dairy, but otherwise it was pure chocolate, thick enough that I had to wait a moment between tipping the cup and feeling the elixir ooze onto my tongue…The salt somehow counteracted the bitterness. The chili pepper added its own kind of heat. Long before the Europeans discovered cacao in the Americas and began alloying it with sugar, the Mayans and Aztecs used it to make a drink very similar to this. Scarpelli's version is certainly not an everyday quaff, but it's almost arresting enough to awaken memories of a past life. – Trey Popp, Philadelphia City Paper
- Golosa reminds me of the ideal date: sexy but not overbearing, friendly and unpretentious, and not too expensive. – Brian Freedman, Around Philly
- My husband and I walked in, and were immediately welcomed and treated like family. The friendly, young Italian owner is definitely his shop's best asset! He had an incredible array of Italian truffles and chocolate pieces (he explained each in detail), as well as cakes and baked goods, an espresso machine, and Capogiro Gelato!...It's so rare to have an intimate experience like that these days. – cypherbandit, Citysearch