“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
– Charles Schulz
I should preface this blog post by saying that I am (much to the dismay of many that have heard) not the biggest chocolate fan. It’s never been something that I’ve necessarily sought to satisfy my sweet tooth and I’m much more likely to be found with some chewy candies in hand over a chocolate bar. BUT after the gracious invitation of Jennifer Earle, founder of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, I had to at least give it a good try right?
Chocolate Ecstasy Tours operate out of London and offer a variety of tours around London and Brighton, centered of course around chocolate but also expanding out into the world of Ice Cream and coffee as well!
Our tour was based in the upscale neighborhood of Chelsea and offered by Jennifer and new guide Harmony. We started the tour tucked inside Rococo Chocolate Cafe where we learned about the different percentages of chocolate and sampled different regional blends of cocoa with a few surprising ingredients from Cardamom to Basil to Chili.
As the snow (in April!) and rain raged on outside we enjoyed several samples of truffles before heading off into Belgravia toward Pierre Hermé and his famous macarons.The shop was narrow but well stocked with an explosion of colour as the macarons were offered in delicious combinations like Fresh Mint, Milk Chocolate and Passionfruit, and Vanilla with Olive Oil. The macarons were soft and overstuffed with filling and quite simply the best I’ve ever had.
After another chocolate sample, we were off to stop number 3, Royal Purveyor of Chocolates and favourite spot of Roald Dahl, Prestat Chocolates.Stepping into Cafe Prestat is like walking into the cafe of Willy Wonka himself, it’s easy to see the Roald Dahl influence and mutual appreciation. Dahl himself used Prestat’s chocolate truffles in his book My Uncle Oswald.
The cafe feels like a small town shop but is filled with colour, towering baked treats, and incredible hot chocolate. Our plate of truffles looked like tiny suprises from the famous Wonka Chocolate Factory and the Chai Hot Chocolate was the perfect blend of spicy and sweet.
Our final stop was Artisan Du Chocolat which is famous for it’s Salted Caramel invention for Gordon Ramsay, but I found the chocolate pearls to be the most interesting (and tasty) offering. The only off putting sample was a tobacco flavoured bar which was quite smoky.
All in all for a non-chocolate lover I must say the afternoon was actually quite a pleasant surprise! Jennifer’s knowledge and passion of not just chocolate and it’s origins and history but also the neighborhoods and shops we visited was clearly evident and she made the group feel at ease, engaged and well looked after the entire time!
If you’re ever looking for something interesting and tasty to do on your next free afternoon in London, definitely book a spot with Chocolate Ecstasy Tours!