You might not know this, but you really, really should. There's a World Chocolate Day and it's coming up on July 7. Realistically, chocolate requires no calendar appointment, but it's nice to have an excuse to indulge in something special. And now that we're on our feet and out of our front doors again, what better way to celebrate freedom than with a visit to one of London's premiere chocolatiers? The Capital has some of the best chocolate shops around, including those in which you can take masterclasses and others with 'Cocoa Vaults' if you're up for a unique adventure.
So whether you're trying to find a chocolate gift for someone special, or you're keen to indulge in something luxurious yourself by sampling the best chocolate in London, step this way...
Rococo - Seven Dials
The first word in British luxury confectionary, Rococo is an absolute must visit. Happily, there are several locations in the Captial, but we'd recommend heading either to their founding shop on the King's Road or to the chocolate shop in Seven Dials, Covent Garden.
Originally established in 1983, Rococo placed emphasis on style and design, with both gloriously appointed packaging and carefully curated in-store displays.
These days, the chocolates are made by hand in small batches by their various chocolatiers and include a variety of experimental concepts and exquisite flavours, such as salted caramel seagull eggs, praline potatoes and Hayman’s Exotic Gin Ganaches.
This is a place to buy someone a truly beautiful gift.
38 Earlham Street, Seven Dials
Paul A Young - Wardour Street
Originally with an Islington location, Paul A. Young's Soho shop is a heavily visited attraction. The man himself is quite a personality, regularly hosting live cookalongs, appearing on Channel 4 shows and designing chocolate masterpieces for exhibitions.
Every morning, he and the team make every single chocolate by hand in the kitchens, using only the freshest of ingredients. The rows and rows of exquisitely crafted treats will sap the willpower of anyone stepping through the door.
The flavours are anything but predictable - Marmite truffle anyone?
143 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 8WA
Hotel Chocolat - Great Monmouth Street
It might be a global superpower at this point, but despite the brand's colossal presence, Hotel Chocolat is still one of the best places to go for deliciously creamy, super quality chocolate. And at the Monmouth Street store, you can embark on a chocolate tasting adventure in their Chocolate Vaults, in which experts take you on a journey of discovery and, most importantly, you get to sample parts of the chocolate making process.
4 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden
Läderach - Regents Street
If it's Swiss chocolate that you're looking for, a trip to Läderach won't hurt. What started as a family company in the 60s has now grown into something of an empire. All their chocolate is still produced exclusively in Switzerland, but they now have over 100 chocolate shops worldwide.
254 Regent St, London
Melt Chocolates - Notting Hill
Gourmet, handmade chocolates that inject a bit of the fun factor into everyone's favourite sweet treat. Firstly, their shops have exposed kitchens inside them, so that you can watch the chocolate making process while you choose your selection. Secondly, in the summer their chocolate experience includes ice cream (coated in chocolate) by the name of 'melties' - and if that isn't just the cutest...
59 Ledbury Road, London
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse - King's Cross
Coal Drops Yard - a recent, major development in King's Cross - is home to a great many shopping delights. And happily for the chocolate-obsessed, it has paved the way for Londoners to sample Parisian masterchef Alain Ducasse's wares, without having to book a table at his Michelin starred restaurant at The Dorchester.
Crafted in a workshop in Paris, Ducasse's chocolates are singularly refined - so head here for ancient recipes and rich, chocolate mastery.
15 Bagley Walk Arches, Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross
Artisan du Chocolat - Kensington
Despite its French name, Artisan du Chocolat is British through and through.
Its founder, Gerard Coleman, trained first as a pastry chef in Dublin, London and New York, and then as a chocolatier in Belgium, before opening his first store.
His CV includes creating tobacco chocolates for The Fat Duck, and liquid salted caramels for Gordon Ramsay. The exquisite South Sea Pearls of dark ganache and Tahiti Pearls of smooth hazelnut praline are hugely worth a try.
246 High Street Kensington
Dark Sugars - Brick Lane
Something very different from your average shiny-countered, prettily displayed chocolatier. This chocolate shop gets back to chocolate's wonderful, dark, messy roots.
Piles of truffle blocks sit in organic, natural wood bowls on an otherwise barebones counter. Chocolate powder lingers in the air. The choice is fudgey and rich and includes everything from covered mango slices through to popping candy.
141 Brick Lane, London
Pierre Hermé - Monmouth Street
Pierre Hermé brings a little slice of Paris to London with his exquisite chocolateries in Belgravia and Covent Garden.
Famed for his dark, passion fruit Venezuelan macaroons, he certainly likes to experiment with flavours like the intriguing dark chocolate with olive oil and black olives.
The chocolate alone will win you brownie points but for a really special gift, go for the The Syrine Box of macaroons, filled with 24 macaroons of their iconic flavours: rose, raspberry and lychee.
38 Monmouth St, London
Pierre Marcolini - Marleybone
Not just an expert chocolatier, Pierre Marcolini was recently named 2020's Best Pastry Chef in the World, so surely that makes his stores worth a visit alone. Italian-Belgian Marcolini is something of a personality and a fashion darling too. He has collaborated on chocolate collections with some very impressive talent, including Victoria Beckham, Saint Laurent and Tom Dixon.
37 Marylebone High Street
SAID dal 1923
If Willy Wonka was Italian, he would dream up this little chocolate coffee shop in the heart of Soho.
It is the sister cafe of the oldest chocolate factory in Rome, and everything is made, laced, covered and filled with chocolate, from chocolate spreads, to the chocolate-made spoons and shot cups.
It feels like you have stepped into some bubbling laboratory of chocolatey creations.
Instead of regimented displays, you see jars packed with chocolate-coated cocoa beans, steaming cauldrons of molten chocolate, which, when poured, slide thickly down the sides of your mug.
The walls are even decorated with vintage metal chocolate moulds. We are guessing you get the picture - it is ALL about the chocolate here.
41 Broadwick St, London
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