From salted caramel truffles to ginger infused dark chocolate bars and gooey brownies, we’ve sampled a host of gorgeous confections to select the best chocolate makers in the capital. They really do raise the bar when it comes to artisanal chocolate for which it’s well worth loosening a couple of buttons.
Paul A Young
Paul A Young is a flavour alchemist, mixing unusual and daring tastes with excitingly enjoyable results. He is the winner of countless prizes, including the Academy of Chocolate’s 2013 gold award for his passion fruit curd filled chocolate and its 2011 gold award for his Aztec hot chocolate and his sea salted caramel filled chocolate, and he is widely regarded as Britain’s best chocolatier. His exotic flavour combinations extend to brownies and muffins, and his caramel and pecan brownies are not to be missed.
Paul A Young, 143 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WA, +44 (0)20 7437 0011
Nearly three decades since it opened, Rococo continues to sell some of the best chocolate in the capital. Its exquisitely wrapped confections make perfect gifts, and in particular the salted caramel seagull eggs and the praline quail eggs are a fun twist on traditional Easter eggs. Other novelty chocolate gifts include beautifully hand-painted dark chocolate lobsters, and Jersey new potatoes made with praline and white chocolate. Rococo is closely involved with the Grenada Chocolate Company with which it jointly owns a cocoa farm in Grenada. Beans harvested there are used in the organic Rococo house blend.
Rococo, 321 Kings Road, London SW3 5EP, +44 (0)20 7352 5857
Artisan du Chocolat
Having trained as a chocolatier in Belgium, Gerard Coleman created confections for Gordon Ramsey at Claridges and for Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck before opening the Artisan du Chocolat. The shop has been much acclaimed and Coleman’s salted caramels have become so iconic that they featured in the 2004 novel The Apologist by food critic Jay Rayner. Head here any time, but the Easter eggs are extra special. Try the Creme de la Creme eggs, a grown-up version of Cadbury’s popular Creme Eggs.
Artisan du Chocolat, 81 Westbourne Grove, London W2 4UL, +44 (0)845 270 6696
Walk into this shop and you’ve stepped into chocolate lovers’ heaven. The first thing you’ll notice will be the towering, sculpted fantasy cakes that are offset by the plush red velvet interior. If, however, you are not looking to buy a bespoke and wonderfully indulgent cake (prices start from £450 and can reach thousands), there is a wide array of Willie Wonka-like treats on offer. From dark chocolate cinnamon mendiants (a French tradition of disk-shaped chocolate), to salted popcorn slabs and large white chocolate West Highland terrier figures, this is very much an art and design focused chocolatier.
Choccywoccydoodah, 30-32 Fouberts Place, London W1F 7PS, +44 (0)20 7734 9713
Winner of numerous awards from the Academy of Chocolate, William Curley is renowned for his unusual taste combinations. Perhaps most notable is his use of Asian flavours, as in his Assam tea caramel mou bar and his miso and walnut biscuits. He is famous not only for his exceptional chocolates but also for his patisserie, and his flagship store in Belgravia is home to a popular dessert bar which offers a sweet and refreshing alternative to afternoon tea.
William Curley, 198 Ebury Street, London SW1W 8UN, +44 (0)20 7730 5522
If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional milk chocolate or want an added kick, hotfoot it to Montezuma’s. This innovative British chocolate store is famous for its unusual flavour combinations and has handmade chocolate bars to delight both young and old. With flavours such as dark chocolate with lime and sea salt, and white chocolate with ginger and chili, these bars make perfect gifts and offer a great alternative to the products of big brands. We recommend the Great British Pudding bars based on quintessentially British dishes such as Eton mess, apple crumble and treacle tart.
Montezuma’s, 51 Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA, +44 (0)20 7539 9208
This small, chic boutique in the heart of Notting Hill boasts an impressive array of high profile chefs who have been involved with this inspiring enterprise since it started in 2006. All the recipes are designed in-house and so the shop exudes an exquisite aroma of chocolate. Appealing to all the senses, it sells an assortment of eye-catching chocolates including Melt’s gold bar made with milk chocolate, nutmeg and gold powder.
Melt, 59 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AA, +44 (0)20 7727 5030