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Image courtesy of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
Image courtesy of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
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The Essential Guide For Chocolate Lovers In London

Picture of Harriet Clugston
Updated: 13 September 2016
It seems the world cannot quite decide which day of the year it wants to dedicate to the celebration of all things chocolate — the Americans seem to have their own thing going in October, while some have an international day of observance occurring in July. Others, however, designate September 13th (the birthday of one Mr. Hershey) as International Chocolate Day, and who are we to spoil the party? So, in celebration of this dubious but thoroughly delicious occasion, we offer you the best of London’s chocolate-themed activities.

Take a chocolate-making class

Give a man some chocolate, and he’ll eat for a day. But teach him to make chocolate? Now you’re talking. Well, men (and ladies, obviously), you’re in luck, as your city just happens to be a stomping ground for some of the best chocolatiers around, and they’re willing to share the chocolatey wisdom. If you’re in the mood for a splurge, Claridge’s offer popular masterclasses; learn the secrets behind several of the luxury hotel’s chocolate classics, discover the different types of chocolate, get tips on how to cook with them, and enjoy a lunch with chocolate dessert, included in the price. At the far more affordable end of the spectrum, events company MyChocolate run a selection of chocolate workshops, including a general chocolate-making session, luxury chocolate-making, and chocolate cocktail-making. Leading chocolatier Paul A. Young runs a busy schedule of tasting and making workshops from his three London stores, while Hotel Chocolat offers ‘Bean to Bar’ experiences at their Covent Garden location, teaching pupils how to make chocolate from scratch.

Take a trip to the Chocolate Museum

Head down to Brixton for a browse around this tiny, independent museum run by French chocolatier Isabelle Alaya, who’s also behind the chocolate brand Melange Chocolate. The museum is home to a collection of memorabilia telling the story of the British chocolate industry, the evolution of designs in chocolate packaging and advertising, and the history of chocolate around the world, from the Mayan times through to its arrival in Europe. There are also sections narrating the process of chocolate making, and the dark role played by slavery in the industry’s past and present — and it’s all attached to a shop and café, hosting regular chocolate workshops.

Visit the country’s last Royal Chocolate Kitchen

The beautiful Hampton Court Palace is home to the country’s oldest chocolate kitchen and the only surviving royal example, built in 1689. Drinking chocolate became a popular beverage among the 17th-century bourgeoisie; elite chocolate houses popped up across London, while the city’s aristocrats began building their own specialist chocolate kitchens at their country manors, among them King William III’s at Hampton Court. Having lain unused for 300 years in the cavernous palace, the kitchen was rediscovered by chance, and brought back to its former glory. Head over to the Palace to see the perfectly preserved historical chocolate-making equipment, watch actors authentically recreating the process, and swot up on your chocolate history.

Interior of The Royal Chocolate Kitchen, with the Kings private chocolate chef, Thomas Tosier|©Richard Lea Hair/Historic Royal Palaces
Interior of The Royal Chocolate Kitchen, with the Kings private chocolate chef, Thomas Tosier | ©Richard Lea Hair/Historic Royal Palaces

Go on a chocolate tour

The name really speaks for itself with Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. Alongside chocolate workshops, these lovely chocoholics offer a delectable take on the historical walking tour, stopping off at some of the best chocolate and sweets boutiques across the city, and promising to see to it that ‘you can’t consume any more chocolate by the end of the tour’. The company have also recently launched their Taste Tripper food guides — opt for the chocolate guide and receive recommendations on the best chocolatiers, with specially arranged treats waiting for you to sample and allowing you to move through your chocolate tour at your own pace. Alternatively, BestTours offer their own chocolate walking tour, which stops at the finest chocolatiers Mayfair has to offer, including one with a Royal Warrant, as well as sampling what they describe as the ‘best chocolate ice cream in London’.

Tasting chocolate on the Chelsea Chocolate Ecstasy Tour|Image courtesy of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
Tasting chocolate on the Chelsea Chocolate Ecstasy Tour | Image courtesy of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours

Sip on a chocolate cocktail

Kill two vices with one stone with a deliciously decadent chocolate cocktail. Among the best picks across the city include the Chocolate Martini at Dirty Martini; the creamy White Mocha Tini or indulgently nutty Brazilian Monk at Be At One; the White Chocolate and Raspberry Bellini at Coin Laundry; or the white chocolate-infused, coffee rum concoction, Milky Way, at Barsmith. The ultra stylish Donovan Bar at the Brown’s Hotel is a great option for scrumptious, ultra-Instagrammable cocktails on any occasion, but their Royal Affair, Black Forest Wish, and Africa mixes will have chocoholics salivating. The best option for chocolate tipples, however, is always going to be Rabot 1745, the chocolate-themed restaurant by Hotel Chocolat in Borough Market, which serves up an entire array of inventive, chocolatey cocktails in a colonial plantation setting.

Cocktail creations @rabot1745 @boroughmarket chilli chocolate…#delish #cacoacuisine #dinner #cocktails #style

A photo posted by Rabot 1745 (@rabot1745) on