While I doubt a search for chocolate decadence is what brought you to Rwanda in the first place (or maybe it was… who am I to know such things?), chocolate lovers can take comfort in the fact that Kigali has come a long way, baby. The chocolate situation was bleak back in 2010 when I arrived, but that once pitiful chocolate ‘scene’ has been replaced with an impressive array of offerings from a variety of bakeries, restaurants, and cafes around town.
Here, for all of your chocolate-loving needs, is my homage to the best Kigali has to offer…
Inzora Rooftop Cafe has a small selection of delicious baked goods, including a chocolate mocha cake that’s worth a try. The standout for me, though, is their mega chocolate-y brownie! It’s a perfect size and just the right amount of chocolate goodness. As a bonus, they’re gluten free. As another bonus, Inzora is a lovely place to hang out and they do delicious drinks as well.
Nakumatt – Lots of different goodies at lots of different (high) prices.
Nakumatt has closed.
If you’ve been in Kigali for a few years, you may remember the ‘Great Dairy Milk Drought of 2012’. They vanished and us chocolate lovers were left with a choice between buying old, crusty Mars Bars at Simba or holding out until ye olde Dairy Milk did flow again through the aisles of Nakumatt. It was a weird time, my friends. Well let me tell you… those days are gone! Nakumatt’s chocolate aisle is currently a sight to behold. And behold it, I do! I often find myself staring at its wonders, trying to decide between dark chocolate or peanut butter M&Ms, always taking more than a few moments as I consider paying Rwf 7,500 for a large bag but eventually talk myself down and end up with a small package for a still obscene but slightly more palatable Rwf 1,600. Actually… that’s quite an insane amount to pay for M&Ms, no matter what the variety. But walk down that aisle and you too will find yourself giddy with excitement and temporary chocoloate-option-induced price blindness. Maybe you want a Caramel Milky Way? It can be yours! Or what about a Peanut Butter Snickers (I didn’t even know that was a thing)? Your dreams, too, shall come true! The selection is astounding. However, due to budgetary restrictions, I no longer allow myself to venture down that aisle of wonders, instead veering past the bakery which is 1,000% less tempting.
Brioche – Rwf 3,200
I guess chocolate bomb is really a sort of a mousse slash cake type thing. But it’s so damned delicious that I’m giving it its own category. It’s my favourite decadent treat in the city and it comes in two glorious versions: one is covered in cacao and is 100% pure chocolatey bliss while the other has the same mousse cake but is covered in a silky dark chocolate with banana slices lurking within. I’m partial to the banana one but I’d happily eat either as my last meal were I to be on death row. Assuming I was on death row in some far away country, I wonder if they’d make a spacial order to a Kigali Brioche for me. If this scenario ever occurs, I’ll do my best to let you know the result.
Brioche – Rwf 3,000
I tried this slice of deliciousness awhile ago at Brioche’s first location at KBC. It wowed me! A cake in Kigali that tastes as good as it looks is a rare, rare thing. It’s quite a marvel at how dry most cakes in this city are. They lure me in with their luscious looking icing and then offend my palette with their dust-like interior. Such a let down. But, this one day at Brioche, I was reminded how cake should be. It didn’t grate the interior of my mouth like sand paper. It was moist! MOIST! And I hate that word. But I’m using it… because that’s how happy I was. But then the unthinkable happened. The cake disappeared from the Brioche display cases. Alas, I was cakeless once again. But, fear not! For I’ve spoken with the Brioche boss and he tells me that these cakes are available through pre-order and, more importantly, he plans on bringing the individual slices back soon. If you can’t wait that long, Shokola Lite also do a good chocolate cake with delicious icing – ask for a corner piece for maximum icing goodness.
Brioche – Rwf 1,900
The Umubano Hotel’s bakery is a bit of a dark horse in the world of Kigali bakeries and had been my favourite chocolate eclair for a long time – that is until Brioche barged onto the scene. Brioche just gives good chocolate, you know? They know their stuff and their chocolate eclair is no exception. The pastry is a cut above, the filling is ‘just right’, the topping just chocolatey enough, and the extra decorative touch of shaved milk chocolate elevates their eclair to Kigali’s number one position. Not that there are many places in town that even do eclairs… but this is one to watch! …I mean, eat.
La Terrace, Hotel Des Mille Collines – Rwf 7,000
Though Rwf 7,000 for a dessert is pretty pricey, if you’re at Hotel des Mille Collines and want to treat yourself, this will do the trick. It’s a dense and delicious pocket of gooey melted chocolate inside a yummy chocolate cake with a side of raspberry sauce. It’s a great combo and worth a try but due to price and decadence you might want to share this one.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Bourbon Coffee – Rwf 1,200
Ah Bourbon… I love your ice cream so, but you only seem to have it about 25% of the time I go in there. It’s so hard to find. Like a unicorn. A frozen, chocolate-flavoured, unicorn. And now, whoa is me, I’m told that your machine is broken and who knows when we can expect to see ice cream there again? But if you can manage to track down this elusive item, make sure to take advantage. The ice cream really is quite delicious (lots of people rave about the peanut ice cream) and chucking a bit of chocolate sauce on top (for free) will add to the chocolatey-ness. Bourbon also do a mean chocolate shake but beware of their cakes – they’re never as good as they look.
Brachetto – Rwf 5,500
I had a pretty bad ass chocolate mousse at L’Epicurien back when they first opened and I dream of it often. It’s dark and thick and gooey. But a few weeks ago I discovered the one chocolate mousse to rule them all at Brachetto. L’Epicurien’s still comes highly recommended, but it’s a close second to Brachetto’s masterful mousse. Now, this mousse isn’t the usual offering found at most Kigali restaurants as a brown blob in a glass (which are all still very delicious) but something with a bit more creativity and ‘zing’. What is ‘zing’, you ask? Well I’m not sure. But the Brachetto chocolate mousse has it. The mousse itself is amazing and then the chef goes all crazy on us with roasted macadamia nuts and (and this might be where that ‘zing’ comes from) thyme. Thyme? In chocolate mousse? MADNESS! I know, I know. But it works. Trust me. Try it.
New Cactus – Rwf 3,200
Known evocatively as ‘La Dame Noire’, this is the sundae to end all sundaes – at least by Kigali chocoholic standards. It’s one of the few places in town to double up on the chocolate with hot fudge sauce on top of glorious chocolate balls of ice-creamy goodness. Throw some whipped cream and crunchy chocolate bits on top and it’s almost too much to take! But take it, I do. It’s good. Really good.
Rz Manna – Rwf 1,200
This beautiful little tart looks like it’s more about white chocolate – the imposter among chocolate lovers! But if you venture beneath those white chocolate curly bits, you’ll find a filling of deliciously dark chocolate lurking within the crispy pastry cup. However lately Rz Manna seems to have gone a bit downhill and the chocolate tart is no exception. It’s just not as crammed full of chocolate filling as it once was… but it’s still one of my favourite treats in the city. Hopefully Rz Manna will pull up their socks, sort their issues out (the punching and such) and start living up to the high standards that they opened with. My chocolate tart is suffering!! But it’s still delicious.
Cafe Neo – Rwf 1,500
Cafe Neo has closed.
You can find these glorious little cupcakes at Cafe Neo but they can’t take credit for them, I’m afraid. Neo import these beauties from the online cake delivery people at Slices and Cakes. This is good because, while I’m not likely to ever put in an order for 12 cupcakes for delivery (that would be a feeding frenzy not befitting of a lady such as myself), I am likely to order one with a coffee. So it’s great to see that their cupcakes are available outside of the online ordering realm.
Inzora Rooftop Cafe – Rwf 2,000
The hot chocolate offerings in Kigali are usually a mixture of milk and water mixed with Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder. Yummy sometimes but not exactly inspiring. I thought I discovered the best hot chocolate at Brioche (yes, them again) a few months ago. It comes in a cute little pot with melted Belgian chocolate flavouring the milk and, while it’s certainly good and worth a try, the hot chocolate I recently had at Inzora Rooftop Cafe trumps it. It’s super chocolatey and topped with foamy milk and cocoa which sets it apart. For a bit of variety, try their peppermint hot chocolate.
Pain au Chocolat
Brioche – Rwf 1,600
I wanted to add Bbrood’s chocolate croissant here in the chocolate pastry category but they never have them in stock when I go. So sad. So, in full knowledge that I might as well call this article ‘Eating Chocolate at Brioche in Kigali’, I’m including yet another delicious Bioche offering. The Bbrood croissant is a close second, though. If you can find the thing, give it a try! But the Brioche pain au chocolat is flakey and light and has just the ‘right’ amount of chocolate and makes for a nice sneaky unhealthy breakfast from time to time.
And there you have it! Chocolate in Kigali all wrapped up into one delicious post for your drooling pleasure. Now it’s your turn! Where are your favourite places to indulge? What’s your favourite chocolatey thing Kigali has to offer? Let us all know in the comments below!