Do you have a gaping Bake Off-shaped hole in your life which used to be filled by Mel, Sue, Mary, Paul and lashings of chocolate? Well don’t worry, it’s almost as though London has heard our collective cry for indulgence to be satiated, as we’re now smack bang in the middle of Chocolate Week! Now some of you might be thinking “every week is chocolate week at our house”, but even for you fundamentalist chocaholics there’s a world of imagination (cue music) on display from our capital’s chocolatiers, culminating in The Chocolate Show at Kensington Olympia at the weekend.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for getting the best out of Chocolate Week without breaking the bank:
- Chocolate Museum, Brixton – One of the best things about London is that it has a museum for literally anything and happily chocolate is no exception. Established by Isabella Alaya, a French artisan chocolatier, it chronicles Britain’s love affair with the cocoa bean from the 18th century onwards, with an array of exotic bars on sale in its cafe to back up it’s point about the historical deliciousness of chocolate. We reckon you won’t need much persuading. 187 Ferndale Rd, London SW9 8BA. Opening Hours: Wed – Fri 2pm – 7pm, Sat 10am – 6:30pm
- Ginger Pig and Rococo Chocolatiers, Marylebone – Just because chocolate is normally served for pudding hasn’t stopped one of the capital’s best love foodie names getting involved as they collaborate with their next door neighbours on Moxon Street, Rococo Chocolatiers. You wouldn’t necessarily think that butchers and purveyors of chocolate make natural bedfellows, but then you haven’t tried their astonishing chocolate sausage rolls, available every day this week for £4 a pop. 8-10 Moxon St, London, W1U 4EW. Opening Hours: 9am – 5:30pm
- Lady Ottoline Master Martinis, Bloomsbury – Chocolate week has also got to mean a week of silky luxury and there’s no better place to find that than at this gorgeous pub. To celebrate Chocolate Week they’ll be working with Shoredtich-based MAST Brothers to create sumptuous hot chocolates and aromatic chocolate orange and mint martinis. 11A Northington St, London WC1N 2JF. Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm
- Bikeworks Brownie Bake-Off, Bethnal Green – Bikeworks is a London based not for profit social enterprise that uses cycling as a tool to tackle social and environmental challenges in the community, but even these healthy doers of social good know the importance of a good bar of chocolate. On Thursday 15th they’re inviting customers to pick up a free bar of chocolate from their Bethnal Green store and then return later on with a delicious batch of brownies for judging. The winner will receive a free Divine Chocolate hamper. 138-140, Cambridge Heath Road, E1 5QJ. Thursday October 15th, 6:30pm
- £10 Whiskey truffles at Charbonnel et Walker, Liverpool Street – Easily the deal of the week! Charbonnel et Walker create the sort of luxury dessert wonders that you’d expect to adorn the mantlepiece of the sort of ambassador that sniffs down his nose at Ferrero-Roche. They’re also far too expensive for us to suggest normally, but they’re giving away free samples from their Liverpool Street store every lunchtime and on the 14th you can grab a boozy box of whiskey truffles for just a tenner! The West Concourse Liverpool Street Stat, London, EC2M 7PY
- Scoop, Covent Garden, Soho, South Kensington – In our opinion, these three parlours sell some of the tastiest ice cream in town. Normally we’d recommend the authentically Italian straccitella or biscotti flavour, but for this week, it’s hard to look beyond the black hole of dark chocolate temptation that is Cioccolato Extra Fondente, straight from good old Madagascar.
40 Short’s Gardens, WC2H 9AB; 53 Brewer Street, W1F 9UY; 16 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3DL. Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11:30pm.
- Unlimited Chocolate Mousse at Paul Tower 42, Broadgate – The increasingly ubiquitous classy bakers Paul have opened their second restaurant in Bishopsgate and for the entirety of chocolate week they’re offering bottomless chocolate mousse for just £6.50. We double-dare you to turn up, napkin already wrapped around your neck and get ready to release your inner Bruce Bogtrotter! Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ. Opening Hours: 6:30am – 11pm
- Coffee Jar, Camden Town – Whereas once Parkway was once just a side-street distraction in Camden, it has very quietly become the main event and places like Coffee Jar are the reason. Staffed by two hugely friendly ladies from Hungary it sells the richest and deepest flat whites in north London and straightforward chocolate goodies that can kick-start any morning or indulge any teatime. And you’ll have change from a fiver as well. 83 Parkway, London NW1 7PP. Opening hours: 7:30am – 5:30 pm
- Choccywoccydoodah, Carnaby Street – This incredible bestiary of cakes is the answer to the question: “what would have happened if Tim Burton had remade Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it hadn’t been terrible?” Macabre designs rubs shoulders with more ornate sweet creations and none of them scrimp on taste. They’re already revving up for Hallowe’en and you can buy chocolate tombstones or skull lollies for a tenner. 30-32 Fouberts Place, W1F 7PS. Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 7pm, Sun 12pm – 6pm
- Choco-Beerfest: Benjamin Franklin was a man who knew a think or two and he declared beer “prove that God loves us”, so we’re stumped if we know what the creation of chocco-beer means about his feelings. Either way, this meeting of Madagascan chocolate from Madecasse with beer from Tap East will give a unique, warming taste that head brewer Jonny Parks has worked hard to perfect. First pints will be pulled from 7pm on Thursday 15th October at Stratford City, near Westfield.