I’ve never got on with coffee. Despite lining up all the mugs my parents owned on the kitchen bench, and filling them with various combinations of coffee, milk, and sugar, my teenage self couldn’t find a winning formula for my taste buds. So when it comes to hot drinks I’m stuck with tea (I like Green, Rooibos, Peppermint, and Camomile), and for a real treat, hot chocolate. I love a good hot chocolate. There was a time when any old hot chocolate would do, but these days I’m a lot more discerning.

And because I’m not interested in wasting my hard-earned cash or precious calories on a second-rate hot chocolate, I’m guessing you’re not either. So I’m going to share with you the three best places I’ve found for hot chocolate in and around Aberfeldy.

One: Delight Deli

I’m not sure what hot chocolate Delight Deli uses, but it’s nice and chocolatey, and I’m a particular fan of the Deluxe version, which comes with cream and marshmallows. It all spills over the top and feels really decadent. Delight have an array of savoury and sweet snacks to go with your hot chocolate, and there are lots of yummy treats to buy for later on. There’s a great cheese counter (I particularly like the Black Bomber and Godminster cheddars), and their homemade quiches, pies, sausage rolls, and the homemade dishes they make, such as Moussaka and lasagne, are delicious. We always come here to stock up on picky stuff, and the odd proper meal.

Two: Habitat Cafe

Habitat Cafe is something entirely special for hot chocolate connoisseurs. Because they don’t just have ‘hot chocolate’ on their menu: they have FIVE hot chocolates on their menu! Starting with white chocolate and rising in cocoa content to 82%, there’s something for every taste. My favourite is the Haiti, which has 75% cocoa content, and I usually team it with a florentine. Ever since I drank hot chocolate from a bowl at the top of mountain in the Pyrenees, I’ve preferred a less sweet hot chocolate, so I love that I have such a choice here. Food wise, there’s a good selection of savoury snacks and meals to accompany your beverage, and often some inventive home baking that sounds as though it shouldn’t work but somehow does. At the weekend, if you’re early enough, you can sample one of their famous spicy sausage rolls, which I can definitely recommend. If you’re a coffee fan, or travel with one, they’ve won major awards for their coffee, and get lots of mentions in the press that say things like ‘you’d expect to find this coffee shop in Edinburgh or Glasgow’. They support small suppliers too, so all round a great local business.

Three: Iain Burnett’s Chocolate Lounge

The Chocolate Lounge, formerly Legends Cafe, can be found at the back of Iain Burnett, Highland Chocolatier’s shop in Grandtully, which sits on the A827 between the A9 and Aberfeldy. This is my ultimate-treat hot chocolate, and if we get our timing right, we often stop off on our way home to Edinburgh and get some for the journey. The hot chocolate is made from Iain Burnett’s very own chocolate ganache, mixed with hot milk, and it’s to die for. I can’t even describe what it tastes like, it’s that good. If you’re passing by, and you like chocolate, you have to try it out. The only savoury snacks on the menu are the cheese and onion, or cheese and ham, muffins, which are tasty. And there’s a large selection of tray bakes and cakes, including gluten and dairy free options. The attached shop has some lovely gifts, and you can buy all sorts of delicious Iain Burnett chocolates there too.

Some bonus information: Delight and Habitat allow your canine friends to accompany you inside their establishments, and both have a good range of gluten-free savoury food choices.

I’m always on the lookout for a good hot chocolate place, so let me know in the comments below where you’d recommend I try. Dog friendly is a particular bonus!