We met up at the Algerian Coffee Store which is probably the coolest coffee shop I’ve ever laid my eyes on..you can’t actually sit and have a coffee though but can take it away. This shop is full of every type of coffee and coffee bean you can think of plus a lot more. See pic below!
Our guide Dougy took a group of about 12 of us around Soho and Mayfair visiting 7-8 different chocolate sellers. It’s actually much more fun than it sounds. Dougy was a very witty guide giving us lots of useful and useless information related to chocolate. It was definitely educational and Dougy’s anecdotes made it very entertaining. The best part though was of course the chocolate tasting. You’d think tasting a truffle here and there wouldn’t be hard, but actually the chocolate was pretty filling as it was all really high quality chocolate and therefore very rich. We did eat an awful lot of samples, but then again that’s why we were there!
The 2-2.5 hour involves visiting a variety of chocolatiers, some independent like Paul A. Young and some more well know such as Hotel Chocolat and Prestat. Other shops included the classic Fortnum & Mason and the East India Company which both have an extensive selection of chocolate. I was super impressed with Paul A Youngs display of in store handmade chocolates which we got to sample two of, plus some brownies. I can honestly state, the salted caramel and pecan brownie is the best brownie I’ve ever had. This chocolatier is well worth visiting if you’re ever passing Wardour Street.
Paul A. Young
The best chocolate of the day was from Prestat. It was a simple truffle covered in cocoa powder, so delicate and lush I was thinking about it all the way home. The good thing is Prestat chocolates are sold in John Lewis and other department stores so I don’t have to go all the way to their boutique in Burlington Arcade to buy some. If you’re not a chocoholic this tour is still great as we also visited Carpo which is a Greek retailer who sells dry fruits and nuts as well as chocolate. Their roasted macadamia nuts are out of this world – actually they were from Madagascar but seriously good. We also sampled some ice cream at Freggo, which is an ice cream and coffee shop owned by Gaucho just off Regent Street.
Another nice thing about this tour is that you get to walk around some lovely little streets in London that you may not visit otherwise, which also gives you the opportunity to burn off all those calories consumed from sampling chocolate. Some stores offered a 10% discount for any chocolate bought on the day. A fun way to spend an afternoon especially for a chocoholic like myself.
The tour costs £30 per person via Great British Tours but look out for this tour on discount sites which always seem to offering this tour for a lot cheaper. Children can take part but I wouldn’t recommend under 10’s as there is a lot of walking to do, and they probably wouldn’t appreciate the chocolate!