A pattissier chocolatier, William Curley has a vast array of both chocolates and patitissier. Teaming up with the equally award winning pattissier Suzue Curley, many of the chocolates have an Asian twist- Szechuan Pepper, Green Tea and Japanese Black Vinegar all grace the extensive menu, alongside more British flavours like Mulled Wine and Thyme and Scottish Heather Honey.
With beautiful and elegant shops in the beautiful and elegant Richmond and Belgravia, William Curley is the place to go for extravagance- with a £15 Dessert Bar set menu that boasts Basil infused icecream, Green tea Creme Brulee and Yuzu Jelly.
LouLovesFood recommends the hot chocolate (the time of year for it!) - The Aztec Hot Chocolate and Gianduja are renowned.
To celebrate National Chocolate Week, William Curley will be collaborating with Claridge's for exclusive Chocolate Afternoon Teas and with Michelin-starred The Bingham, creating a unique Chocolate Lover's menu... Time is running out!
My research of the Theobrama Cocoa shop in Chiswick is nothing if not extensive... A sign in itself that the chocolates are good! In contrast to many of their counterparts like Melt... Theobroma chocolates are distinctively light and understated- the Champagne and Lavender Hearts don't try hard to get your attention. They have a strong lavender perfume but are summery, fresh and delicately infused. Even the Caramelised Almond chocolate is light- filled with a fine dry marzipan as opposed to a crunchy praline that I suppose I had expected.
The Assam Tea is a little richer, deep and rich with charcoal flavours. The taste of tea leaves is well balanced against the strong truffle. Other chocolates that pack more of a punch is the Stuffed Fig- with almond, walnuts, orange peel, Cinnamon, French Bourbon Vanilla and Grand Marnier. Phew! The result is sweet and textured, crunchy with strong infusions of flavour and the distinct taste of alcohol.
Looking adorable and classically 'chocolate shop' (or at least the Notting Hill equivelant) Melt... is lined with bowls of chocolates, their flavours written in chalk on blackboards mounted onto the walls. Unlike so many of the other chocolate shops that have to cope with the demand of large scale orders, Melt... restrict their stock so that all their chocolate is still home made- you can see it being created, in fact, in their tiny kitchen at the back of the shop. I truly believe you can taste the love and attention.
Their salted caramels (including Olive caramel) are also beautiful enough to rival Artisan Du Chocolat. No mean feat!
Other flavours worth a go are Peanut Butter and Raspberry jam, Chilli Cube and Coffee and Cardamom Cup. Nice.
I can honestly say I've eaten about half the flavours Melt... stocks, and there are none I wouldn't recommend. The Burnt Orange is a personal favourite, the kind of chocolate you have to stop all else whilst you eat itArtisan Du Chocolat
Artisan Du Chocolat
Cross the road from Melt... and you will find yourself at Artisan Du Chocolat, flanked by tables resembling slabs of chocolate. This is an elegant chocolate boutique selling silver coated chocolate moulded stilettos and their famous liquid salted caramels. With chic Chanel-esque branding, these little round chocolates come in a range of experimental flavours, from Sage and Thyme (No.15) to Madagascan Pink Peppercorns (No.4).
LouLovesFood recommends Red Fruits and Violets O and No.7 Liquid salted caramel. I won't say which flavour it is- why take the fun out of it..?
Artisan also a fantastic cafe menu of coffees, hot chocolates, and amazingly, cocktails.
The cocktail options are stunning and the pudding menu really gets your pulse racing- the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart (below), a rich, oily, salty melting goo of beauty- and well worth the £5 price tag.
Paul A Young
Nestled away amongst backstreets and antique clothing is the magical shop of Paul A Young. Tiny, dark and tucked away, it's like something out of a novel- and being hand made each morning in the shop's chocolate kitchen, his range is renowned. Favourites include Pimms truffle, Chocolate Cheesecake truffle, but there are also some other surprising flavours, including Marmite and Port and Stilton. I wish I could tell you how this one tastes, I'm desperate to try it!
Chocolate Week may come a bit late, but if you find yourself in Angel over the summer, expect to see streams of beaming chocolate smudged faces, home made ice cream gripped in sticky hands. The ice creams are topped with cocoa nibs and molten chocolate, and flavours include white chocolate and raspberry or sea-salted caramel (with 85 per cent dark chocolate).
With a clear passion for his work and a beautiful range of flavours, Paul A Young is one of my chocolate week highlights!
Another area like Notting Hill with a duo of chocolate aristocracies would be Marylebone, home of both Coco Maya and Rococo...
Located in Marylebone, Chelsea and Belgravia, Rococo has made a base in all of London's high end boroughs.
Selling a vast array of chocolate bars including Orange and Cardamom, Rose and Earl Grey, their packaging is as delicate, beautiful and elegant as the chocolate themselves. If you really want to make a feature of chocolate week, they also do chocolate classes, kids parties and (oh my gosh!) chocolate sleepovers.
Set up by three of London's big fashion players, including founder of Agent Provocateur, Serena Rees, I had expected Coco Maya to follow along similar themes- after all, I'm sure the women folk would agree that chocolate and Agent Provocateur style decadence go hand in hand. So I have to admit I was expecting sumptuous surroundings; rich colours, low lighting and lace... Sexy and sleek. Instead, the tiny Chocolatier and Artisan Bakery "one of London's hippest hangouts" is kitsch and classically English, verging on twee, with decor reminiscent of an English tea party- with gold trimmed bone china tea cup and lace doilies. No less gorgeous, but a little surprising.
I tried the interesting Blackberry and Lime. The first bite oozed an amazing tangy liquid- but the chocolate itself was bland and lacking in any character strong enough to compliment its lovely fruity filling.
I followed with a classic truffle to test this further and found that despite it's soft, rich texture, the chocolate didn't pull through, lacking any punch. Not cool, Coco Maya.
Instead, I recommend nipping in for a peek- and if you do feel tempted, go next door to the Bakery...
Unfortunately, I'm only one girl, and hard as I try, I can't eat everywhere! If you know of any places that the world should really know about, please please leave a comment and let us know! Enjoy Chocolate Week!