Some things in life make the day that bit brighter. Travel is one of those things that fires up that happy light inside of me and so is chocolate. If you’re looking for that special gift or a yummy treat to get you through the sightseeing day, chocolate is that luxurious snack which calms those sweet food cravings we all have every now and again.
So for you all, my lovely readers I have taken the hard work out of your chocolate search for you. I have trawled the streets in Britain’s fair capital, searching for the very best in Chocolate shops and tried and tested their bestselling wares (I’m not going to lie, this was the sweetest of research assignments and the chocolate taste test was especially hard work!).
From high end store concessions to specialist chocolatiers no corner has been left unturned. We have tasted truffles, macarons and drops and the results are in! So here for you is my take on the best chocolate shops in London:
Situated down Earlham St near Covent Garden, Rococo Chocolates has that boutiquey atmosphere without losing its welcoming feel. The variety on offer had some interesting twists with a number of more traditional flavours included. This store also stocks some beautiful-looking truffles and other artisan sweets such as marshmallow cubes which are very hard to resist.
The chocolate: Moroccan mint and Milk Chocolate
The dark chocolate was rich in flavour without being overbaring, this one came out on the top of the two with my tasters. Although with the hint of mint delicately balanced the mint chocolate was also a hit. at £1.50 for a small bar, it did not feel ridiculously priced for the quality and I will definitely pop in again if I find myself in that part of the city.
2. Paul A Young
This cozy modern shop is one that oftens hits the ratings as a chocolate favourite with reviewers, so I had high hopes. My entrance to the shop coincided with a tour group who were cheerfully greeted by the shop staff and invited to try a sample from the table of truffles in the centre of the shop. But there is plenty more on offer with chocolate lollypops, bars from the neatly stacked shelves or my personal favourite, hot chocolate which you pour yourself from the crockpot warming away and top with one of the six different toppings such as chilli and cinnamon.
The chocolate: Caramel Crunch bar
This was a puzzling flavour for those not in the know, with a difference of being like a crunchy bar or honeycomb to less complimentary comments such as cake batter flavour being put into the mix. We concluded that this was a blissfully smooth chocolate with the crunchy pieces adding a little something extra. This would be a good recommendation for anyone looking for a bit more than a plain chcolate bar.
3. Artisan du Chocolat (Selfridges Concession)
This concession was a part of chocolate store heaven for me in the form of Selfridges confectionary hall and saw me wandering round the display counters in a chocolate daydream before making my choices. Artisan du Chocolat’s signature Sea Salted Caramels were one I had seen in countless articles and with the elegant displays in this concession and incredible Liquorice & Poppyseed sample I was gifted with, I couldn’t wait to try these out.
The chocolate: Sea Salted Caramels
At £6.95 for a box containing only 4 truffles this was by far the most expensive, but this brand aims to deliver a little bit of luxury to its customer with the wrapping and presentation of its products very classily done. Unfortunately the cocoa on the outside of the caramels was a little intense and while there was plenty of caramel, the actual chocolate did get lost in these little balls leaving us a bit disappointed.
Famed for its cake-making shows and a great favourite amongst the Brits, this shop is a tourist attraction all on its own before you even get to the chocolate. Elaborate displays can be seen through the colourful window frames and the location of this shop in Foubert’s Place felt in keeping with the artisticality of nearby Carnaby street. Every nook and cranny of any Choccywoccydoodah’s is crammed full of sweet treats and this store was no exception with buttons, popcorn-pops and easter bunnies galore adorning every shelf and table. With such variety it took me a while to make my selection, opting in the end for a bag of mixed chocolate drops as my taste-tester choice.
The chocolate: Mixed chocolate drops – White, Milk & Dark
While normally the chocolate chips of Choccywoccydoodah would have made an excellent treat, they unfortunately did not taste quite so good as the other Chocolate choices we had. The chocolate would make a great novelty gift for someone to take home as a souvenir of their visit, but it is a shame to say that the quality of the chocolate seems to have been lost amongst the cake creativeness we all know the brand for. That said, I sampled some chocolate cake in the store and this was a lovely flavour. My suggestion would be to go early and book a space in the cafe for tea and cake before admiring the displays downstairs.
5. Melt (Selfridges Concession)
Melt was the discovery of the day for me. Found as another of the vast Selfridges Confectionary hall, this concession had some unique flavour combinations with some amazing mixed chocolate boxes. The assistant was so friendly and helpful in providing a number of yummy selections for me to choose from. As one of the newer chocolatiers in London, it has some very original ideas. I wouldn’t miss this one out!
The chocolate: Feuilletine & Sea Salt Milk Chocolates
My heart (no brain skill involved) settled on these pretty gold spritzed square chocolates and boy was I glad I did. My tasting group were quietened into a sea of mmm’s, pleasantly surprised by the wafery crunch of the bite-sized pieces. The balance of the sea salt in these is just perfect and my only regret was that I’d only bought one bag of these home with me. At £6.99 for a 500g bag, these are real value for the chocolate quality and were by far, the favourite of the evening.
6. The Mystery Chocolate (Paul A Young’s Marmite bar)
Paul A Young’s did have some unusual flavours and one that I was assured of as a bestselling seller was the Marmite bar so I decided to give it a try.
The chocolate: The unexpected thing about this bar was that the marmite was actually an inside filling instead of being mixed into the chocolate and it was this, that we found oh so slightly overpowering. Even for marmite fans like myself, this was difficult to swallow and faces of ‘why would you do this?’ told me that my tasters did not have the easiest time either. If you’re brave enough, give it a go and let me know what you think!
The Final verdict: While all of the chocolates were different in appearance and flavour, it was agreed that difference in the chocolate quality could easily be tasted, but contrary to what we often think this did not necessarily mean the chocolate tasted good. While we like to think of ourselves as being connoisseurs of the choclate world, when it comes down to it, the flavour in some of the designer brands might just not be there and what our tastebuds are actually craving is a good old-fashioned bar of Dairy Milk.
*In order to find the top Chocolate testing locations, we collated reviews and information from many of the big London websites including tourist guides and national magazines. Choosing the top five of the most voted -for results as our Chocolate trial destinations. Chocolate tasting was a blind test with my special helpers having no clue as to the makers or flavours of the chocolate they were tasting.
Some of the colourful comments from the tasters….
“This tastes like hamster chocolate”
“My face is not impressed”
“I like the dark better than the light”
“This is going to be good, I can tell, whoa! Bit intense!”
“Love marmite, love chocolate. Hate marmite and chocolate”
“Tastes like a man’s #*@! without hair on it”