Paul A Young
Paul A Young is a man on a mission. After winning the award for the best new chocolate shop, for his first store in Islington, at the World Chocolate Awards in 2007, he’s gone on to open two more shops. One is on Threadneedle Street, the other in Soho. Every morning, he and the team make every single chocolate by hand in the stores’ kitchens, using only the freshest of ingredients. The rows and rows of exquisitely crafted treats are bound to melt the hearts of anyone that steps through the door, and the caramels are to die for. We’re also told he makes a Marmite truffle, which if we’re honest, we’re not entirely convinced about.
Address: 20 The Royal Exchange , Threadneedle Street , London EC3V 3LP; 33 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8EA; 143 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 8WA; http://www.paulayoung.co.uk/
Founded in 1983 by Chantal Coady, Rococo’s slogan ‘once bitten, truly smitten’ couldn’t be more true. In fact there’s not much that cheers us up more than being given a box of their organic milk chocolate sea salt wafers in their iconic graphic blue and white packaging. Beneath each beautifully wrapped bar lies some serious cocoa, and from its 71% dark chocolate, to the popping Marc de Champagne ganaches, everything is entirely Fairtrade. Log on to their blog to check out the latest events in their stores, including the tempting chocolate and wine pairing evenings they run. What could be better?
Address: 5 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU, 45 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5HG; 321 Kings Road, London SW3 5EP; rococochocolates.com
The prize for the most elegant of our pick of chocolate shops should probably go to Cocomaya. Each of its stores feels as well thought out as the chocolates they make: think stripped wooden floors, heavy wooden benches, glass lanterns and plenty of whimsical decorations. It’s particularly atmospheric around Christmas. Using the best quality Fair-trade, South American cacao beans, the team is always trying out new flavours, from sour cherry to lavender to ginger to cardamom. They’ve also expanded and added artisan bakeries to their sites, offering handmade cakes, brioches and delicious Vienna-Style pastries with their afternoon teas. We can’t think of a lovelier way to spend a wintery afternoon in the capital.
Address: 12 Connaught St, London, W2 2AF, 3 Porchester Place, London, W2 2BS; Unit 10, 186 Pavilion Road London SW1X 0BJ; cocomaya.co.uk
Artisan du Chocolat
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. Back in 2000 he created tobacco chocolates for The Fat Duck before hitting fame, with his liquid salted caramels for Gordon Ramsey at Claridge's (they still get people heading in their droves for them). For a Christmas update on the favourite, you can try the salted caramels with spiced fig – delicious. If you’re looking for an unusual gift for someone, then there’s always the brilliant Cocoa Rehab package, which costs £60 and involves three months worth of couture chocolates delivered to your door.
Address: 89 Lower Sloane Street, London, SW1W 8DA, 81 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 4UL; Borough Market, London SE1; artisanduchocolat.com
Pierre Herme brings a little slice of Paris to London with his delicious macaroon and chocolaterie that opened in Belgravia in 2010. Famed for his dark, passion fruit Venezuelan macaroons, he certainly likes to experiment with flavours. Over the years he’s come up with plenty of fruity combinations, as well as an intriguing dark chocolate with olive oil and black olives. If you can’t decide what to go for, you could always try out his Chocolats au Macaron, which have a signature layer of almond paste and a rich layer of flavoured ganache.
Address: 13 Lowndes Street, London, SW1X 9EX; www.pierreherme.com
Taste buds tickled our pick of the best chocolate shops in London? Check out our pick of the best places for a sweet fix in London