Looking for a chocolate tasting experience in London? Want to know where to make your own chocolate? Read our round-up for some of the best chocolate experiences across the UK, and check out our best chocolate recipes here…
Rococo has been creating quality chocolates, wrapped in its distinctive blue and white packaging, for over 30 years now. If you want to get a deeper insight into the brand’s high-end chocolate production, sign up to invent your own chocolate bar at one of its workshops.
These 90-minute sessions cover the history of chocolate – and its provenance – before looking at different flavour combinations. Better still, once you’ve piped your bar to perfection you’ll then get the chance to sample Rococo’s imaginative collection (which ranges from lemon and poppy seed white chocolate to violet dark chocolate).
Back in 2005, Jennifer Earle combined her passion for chocolate, London, walking and talking into a savvy business idea: Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. Today, she and the other chocoholic guides run walking tours around the capital as well as chocolate workshops.
In the meantime, the Chelsea Chocolate Tour is a gentle one-mile meander around the artisan chocolate shops of this chic neighbourhood with tastings (from rosemary and olive oil ganache to passionfruit salted caramel) and hot chocolate on the menu along with a side order of local history.
Click here for more info about Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
Iain Burnett (aka the Highland Chocolatier) sources his chocolate from São Tomé and Príncipe, in Africa, combining them with local Scottish ingredients: cream from a single herd of Perthshire cattle and heather honey.
You can buy the truffles online but it’s much more fun to visit his store in Grandtully, Perthshire. It’s on the same site as the Scottish Chocolate Centre where there’s also a small museum and a café serving moreish mugs of Truffle Hot Chocolate Ganache.
An audio-guided chocolate tasting tour is also available, as is the opportunity to watch the chocolatiers in action as they produce Iain’s creations.
Since 2004 husband and wife team, Chris and Helen Forster, have been hand-making chocolates to sell in their cosy Nottingham shop. Pop in for a box of amaretto truffles and you won’t be disappointed but we advise a more leisurely approach: take a seat in the shop’s chocolate lounge and relax over one of their three hot chocolates.
The house hot chocolate is a must, made with 60% dark melted chocolate and blended with steamed milk before being topped with cream, but the white version is popular among those with a sweeter tooth. What’s more, each drink order comes with a chocolate on the side, so browse the impressive selection at the counter before you sit down (choose from classic pralines and truffles right through to white chocolate-covered pecan and pineapple versions).
Artisan chocolatier Nigel Rumsey’s inspiration was the film Chocolat. Two cafés later he’s also on the itinerary of The Carter Company’s cycling and chocolate-making weekend break in Oxfordshire. The first day and a half are spent peddling through the softly rolling Chilterns, along disused railway tracks and around the historic town of Thame (guests stay overnight here in the Spread Eagle, a Grade I-listed hotel). On the final afternoon you don a pinny, watch the master chocolatier at work and then have a go at making chocolate figurines as Rumsey explains the art of chocolate making.
If you’re looking for a single-origin hot chocolate, head to Copperhouse Chocolate near Angel, London. Made using single-origin chocolate (either 55%, 61%, 75% or 100%) they are then infused with natural flavours. Go for orangeytang flavoured with orange, cardamon and clove or a spicy chilli con choccy flavoured with chilli, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
While a hot chocolate is the ultimate winter treat, you can also enjoy an iced chocolate in the warmer months.
Image by Kirsty Owen
The first branded version of milk chocolate is said to take its name from a Northern Irishman, Hans Sloane. There’s no better place to continue his tradition today than tasting some of the creations produced by local chocolatiers Co Couture, based in Belfast. Since it was opened in 2008, this stylish basement shop has become famous for its handmade truffles and luxurious hot chocolates, making it a popular spot for cocoa lovers. Their award winning creations includes their Irish Whisky truffle which received the coveted 3 Gold stars in the Great Taste Awards.
Co Couture also run chocolate-making masterclasses where you can learn the secrets of fine chocolate making and make your very own truffles to package up and take home. Classes take place in their Belfast shop usually on the first Saturday of every month.
Words by Eileen Malone, Lucy Gillmore and Ellie Edwards, updated June 2019
Top image credit: Rococo chocolates