Crazy for cocoa? Aren’t we all. Luckily London is a haven for the sweet-toothed, with a wealth of exceptional chocolate shops dotted around the city. Here we select our favourites, from the eccentric to the traditional, offering melt-in-the-mouth treats – bars, boxes, drinks, eclairs and more. Whether you’re looking for a treat for a loved one or just a little pick-me-up for yourself, a trip to one of these chocolate emporiums will do the trick – plus some allow you to see the goods being made before your eyes.
The Best Chocolate Shops in London
Artisan du Chocolat
Artisan du Chocolat has been redefining modern luxury British chocolates since 1999, with humble beginnings at Borough Market. Since then, the brand has supplied chocolate to Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK, branched out to a global market and even sent chocolate gingers into space. Today you can head down to Artisan du Chocolat’s stores in Chelsea or Selfridges for a taste – think chocolate pearls, caramels, truffles and bars, all of which are hand crafted in the brand’s atelier in the Kent countryside.
Wedderburn House, 89 Lower Sloane St, London SW1W 8DA and Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, London W1A 1AB; artisanduchocolat.com
Harrods’ Chocolate Hall
A trip to Harrods is always a treat – but it recently got a whole lot more exciting thanks to the arrival of a sparkling new chocolate emporium. Timed to celebrate 150 years since the opening of the store’s first confectionary counter, the Chocolate Hall rivals Willy Wonka. Its piece de resistance is the Chocolaterie: a multi-sensory theatre where shoppers can see and smell chocolate being created in front of their eyes. Expect to see all the Harrods favourites on the shelves, including the signature Gold Bar, which has been made using the same recipe for over 20 years. Alongside this, the hall will play host to a number of stalls from confectionary partners, which means you can dip strawberries in chocolate at the Godiva station and build your own pic ‘n’ mix-style chocolate bag at Venchi. Chocolate shops, there’s a new sheriff in town.
Food Halls, GROUND FLOOR, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL; harrods.com
Michelin-starred quality chocolate with a conscience? We’re in. Cartografie is a fairly new chocolate company created by ex-pastry chef at The Ritz Kae Shibata alongside Sven-Hanson Britt, winner of Masterchef The Professionals – The Rematch 2019, who joined forces after both finding themselves without jobs during lockdown. Aware of the potentially disastrous effects the chocolate industry can have on both the environment and the people of the cocoa origin countries, the pair made it their mission to only source from ethically-minded suppliers. Cocoa beans are sourced from the 2020 degrees either side of the equator where they ripen, before being turned into products by Kae and her team at their chocolate studio in London’s City Island. Their portfolio includes the Purity range: a selection of wafer-thin discs with a touch of sea salt, as well as the Cartografie range, which includes filled handmade chocolates flavoured with unique water-based ganaches and caramels.
14 New Union Square, Nine Elms, London SW11 7AX; cartografiechocolate.com
Back in 1983, Chantal Coady OBE launched Rococo on the King’s Road, with the aim of changing the way fine chocolate was perceived. And we’re very glad she did, because the chocolate is to die for. Truffles, nougat, pralines, bars, you name it – Rococo has it all. While the shop’s brand ethos is classic and traditional, its creations come in all sorts of unusual flavours, from Persian lime to orange and geranium.
Various locations; rococochocolates.com
Take a trip down Brick Lane and you’ll struggle to walk past Dark Sugars without popping inside. The luscious cocoa scent lures you in, as do the tantalising rows of pearl chocolates and truffles which line the shelves. Rest assured they taste as good as they look, thanks to founder and chocolate genius Fatou Mendy, who spent three years researching cocoa on her family’s farm in Ghana before launching her Shoreditch shop. Dark Sugars’ signature chocolate pearls come in a wide range of flavours, from sea salt caramel to passion fruit, while truffles range from stem & ginger honey to chilli to vodka & orange.
141 Brick Ln, Bethnal Green, London E1 6SB; darksugars.co.uk
A casual visitor to Marylebone chocolatier Pierre Marcolini will most likely have been drawn in by the enticing rows of pastel-topped eclairs and picture-perfect macarons in the window. But the real treasures here are the chocolates: delightfully creamy, melt-in-the-mouth Belgian beauties, packaged in stylish boxes and ready to be devoured. After opening his first London shop back in 2015, self-proclaimed ‘haute chocolatier’ Pierre Marcolini has established his brand as the fashion set’s go-to chocolatier, attracting collaborations from the likes of Victoria Beckham – partly due to its low sugar rate, which, magically, doesn’t compromise the taste. Their twist on the classic chocolate bar (the Barre² range) is inspired, with flavours such as pistachio and caramelised hazelnut.
Various locations; eu.marcolini.com
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse
These days you don’t have to go all the way to Paris to sample Alain Ducasse’s chocolat, thanks to the opening of a boutique store in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. The chocolate here is seriously upmarket, crafted in Paris with the finest ingredients and available in three ‘families’: single-origin ganaches, truffles and pralines – all of which come in a whole host of different flavours and variations.
Arches, Unit 15 Bagley Walk, London N1C 4DH; coaldropsyard.com
Watching chocolate being created is pretty mesmerising, as demonstrated by boutique chocolate shop Melt, where friendly chocolatiers roll truffles in front of your eyes. Founded by Londoner Louise Nason in 2006, the shop is named after the experience of eating chocolate, the only food that melts at body temperature. There’s everything from bonbons to chunky slabs to caramels, with flavours like pistachio marzipan milk, salted praline, and ruby & rose, all as fresh as can be. If you fancy getting in the kitchen yourself, Nason’s chocolate shops also offer chocolate making courses and truffle workshops.
Various locations; meltchocolates.com
Paul A Young
Named as Britain’s best chocolatier, Paul A Young is best known for his innovative and powerful flavour combinations, from dark chocolate with Marmite to white chocolate and masala spices. But his more traditional creations shouldn’t be missed, particularly the award-winning sea salted caramel. Unusually for London, Paul and his team make their chocolate daily by hand in the shop’s kitchen, with fresh ingredients and no preservatives, so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal.
33 Camden Psge, London N1 8EA; paulayoung.co.uk
If wacky flavours are your thing, head to South London’s Melange, a friendly, rustic spot with more of a down-to-earth vibe than some of its posher counterparts. From coriander and grapefruit to cumin and mint, flavour combinations are unusual and innovative…and, crucially, very tasty. Feeling inspired? They also run chocolate making classes from The Chocolate Museum in Brixton.
2 Maxted Rd, London SE15 4LL; themelange.com
As a young man, Silviano Venchi would wander through the streets of his Italian hometown Turin, stopping to breathe in the chocolate aromas as he drifted in and out of pastry-makers’ workshops. Whenever he could, he would sneak into the kitchens of local chocolate-makers and watch them work, which eventually landed him a job as a confectioner’s assistant – and in 1878, he went on to open his own chocolate shop. Over a hundred years later, us Londoners can reap the benefits of his labour by making a trip to one of the Venchi shops, which are dotted around the city, showcasing artisan Italian chocolate at its very best.
Various locations; venchi.com
Featured image: Vie Studio via Pexels