Bea’s of Bloomsbury
The cupcake craze may have swept the nation in the past couple of years, but for Bea’s of Bloomsbury it’s nothing new. They’ve been doing it for years and have got it down to a fine art. The full cupcake menu includes treats such as strawberries and cream cupcakes, sticky toffee pudding cupcakes and (our personal favourite) the rum truffle cupcakes. They’ve even got gluten-free and vegan cupcakes, so no one misses out. Not a fan of cupcakes? Don’t panic, the light as air red velvet sponge cake is just heavenly. Everything can be ordered to go, but we’d recommend making the most of their super-cosy, bunting-clad interiors and stay for afternoon tea.
44 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8NW; tel: 0207 242 8330.
Choccywoccydoodah? You guessed it - it does what it says on the tin. The place is quite literally packed to the rafters with delicious chocolates and marshmallow creations. The design-focused chocolaterie hails from Brighton and has just opened their sleek black and red three-storey store in the heart of Soho. The ground floor is dedicated to sculptural works of chocolate art, which if you find all a bit too tempting you can purchase and take up to the second floor cafe to enjoy straight away with a rich Belgian hot chocolate or a milkshake. We love the fact that they even employ two chocolatier florists, who create unique handmade chocolate flowers. If all that's not enough, they're excitingly opening up the third floor at the end of May. Called Choccywoccyboudoir, you’ll be able to hire it out for private parties.
30-32 Fouberts Place, Carnaby, W1F 7PS; tel: 0207 734 9713.
Damian Allsop Chocolates
Chocolatier Damian Allsop is single-handedly keeping the capital sweet with his new Eat London range of chocolates. He calls them ‘flavour changing bars’ and has chosen the tastes to reflect the multi-cultural city: the Afro-Caribbean-inspired Brixton bar has banana and coffee in it; Soho Square has a taste of Italy with strawberry, raspberry and basil; and Grosvenor Square references all things American with popping candy and cinnamon. Damian uses a water ganache as the base of his chocolates (making them surprisingly light and fresh), and if you want in on his secrets you can, with the brilliant chocolate masterclass that he’ll running on Saturday June 9th at the Wyndham Grand.
Wyndham Grand, Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10 0XG; tel: 0207 823 3000; Book here: Wyndhamgrandlondon.co.uk.
If you're after a bit of a healthier sweet fix (and are a fan of mangoes) then MADD is the place for you. Pretty much everything on the menu includes the golden fruit - from the Thai-style rice pudding (that's soaked in sweet coconut milk and topped with fresh mango, and quite frankly to die for) to the new-on-the-menu macaroons. Complementing its quirky concept is the unashamedly bright decor and very strong cocktails (all featuring, you guessed it, mango) and topped with animals made from fruit - such as a frog crafted out of a lime and a dolphin from a banana. Which leads nicely on to the fact that, yes, this place is bananas (and mangos) but it's frivolous, downright tasty fun.
53 Rupert Street, London, W1D 7PH; tel: 020 7434 0827.
Pierre Herme, Selfridges Food Hall
Hailing from Paris, Pierre Herme otherwise known as 'The Picasso of Pastry' creates desserts and macaroons that are complete masterpieces. His patisseries in Paris are more like a high-end jewellers with the beautiful desserts displayed in glass cabinets. Over here in London, you can sample his macaroons in Selfridges, where a little like a fashion designer, he releases two seasonal collections per year inspired by his surroundings. Far more adventurous than the other famous macaroon-makers we could mention, Hermes isn't afraid of blending bold, unusual flavours such as olive oil with mandarin or chocolate and coffee with aniseed. Standout flavours are the Infiniment Rose (Rose & Rose Petal) which is as delicately flavoured and texturally light as air, while the Infiniment Caramel (Salted-Butter Caramel) is unashamedly dense and richly-flavoured. These macaroons may not come cheap, but they are certainly not to be missed.
400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB; tel: 0113 369 8040.