Chocolate Tour!

I love Groupon.  It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack and you have to troll through it in order to find good stuff, but we’ve managed to find such varied things as our roaster dishes and our giant beanbag (don’t ask.  Please, just don’t ask)  But one of the best things I’ve found on Groupon was a Chocolate Tour from Great British Tours.  As a food blogger, I’m always interested in finding out more about the food (especially sweets) in London, so three of my friends and I signed up to find out for all of YOU about the best chocolates in London!

We started at Hotel Chocolat, which is a bit unusual in that along amongst all the chocolate shops that it was founded by two British entrepreneurs!

In this shop, we sampled lemon curd truffles (I tend to avoid lemon curd, but I was impressed by how sweet and tangy it was on the inside) as they had a huge variety of truffles.  I was particularly impressed by the Eton mess, but I ended up buying a sea salt caramel (as it’s a staple, it’s nice to compare at various places) and it was good.  More than good.  It was delicious.  You couldn’t directly taste the salt as well, but it gave the caramel a really nice and delicious edge!  Would definitely recommend.

Also, interestingly, they had a view ingredients for savoury dishes, most notably the chocolate and chili laced olive oil, which was a bit expensive, but which I would absolutely love to try (keep your eyes peeled for a review!)  Our next stop was Freggo for some delicious Argentinian ice cream – really hit the spot on such a hot day!

I’d definitely recommend their special: dulche de leche ice cream with chocolate chips.  It has a lovely caramel texture and they also have some great sorbets (that’s Nina before chowing down on her passionfruit!)   Next stop was Prestat, a little chocolate shop in the covered alleys near Piccadilly.  The chocolate tour gave us free samples of Napoleonic truffles (Prestat was the first shop to produce truffles and have been using the same recipe since the 1800s.  It was nice – very sophisticated, dry and chocolate-y.

I bought a caramel and a rose cream.  I will admit, I didn’t love the rose cream (it was quite strong), but much preferred the chewy caramel, which had a nice dusted outside, quite similar to their truffle.  Would definitely recommend if interested in trying the original truffle!

Next stop was the very posh grocery store, Fortnum & Mason (you might have seen the photos of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Cornwall there fairly recently!)  This had less chocolate, and I headed straight for the cheesemongers (because woman apparently can’t live by chocolate alone?).  I picked up a lovely bit of brie and came back to check out the tea and hot chocolate.  It’s definitely worth coming here if you have an ecletic tea craving!

Our next stop was Charbonnel et Walker.  This is yet another chocolate shop with a royal warrant (we spent a lot of time marvelling about how the Royal Family must REALLY like chocolates), but their real triumph is the rose and violet creams.  If you remember, I tried these at Prestat, but these were my favourite.  It was a sweet vanilla fondant inside (which I have had in America without the flavouring as vanilla creams) and then is flavoured as either rose or violet.  It was actually really, really good at this place (the flavour was quite subtle) and it’s inspired me to try these at home!  So stay tuned for that.

Our final stop was Paul A. Young, where we had a really interesting talk about how chocolate is made (as well as several insults to American chocolate – I felt so bad for my friend Niall, who was wearing a Reeses Cups tote bag!)  But it was pretty cool, actually, since their caramel sea salt (one of my favourites!) had been voted the best chocolate in the European version of the International Chocolate Award.  It was absolutely amazing, wonderfully creamy and salty.  Would definitely recommend!  They had some really interesting flavours as well, like the tomato and basil chocolate.  They do a lot with flavours which would seem savoury, but are actually quite lovely and delicate.

As I noted in my blog post about cookbooks I’m coveting, I really liked the Paul A. Young cookbook and so have definitely added it onto my wishlist!

All in all, I found it to be a great tour, a really interesting way to find chocolate and if you’re interested, I would definitely recommend contacting Great British Tours if you’d be interested in attending it while in London.


One comment

  1. […] am obsessed with salted caramel.  It probably comes from the chocolate tour I attended, where I tried the amazing Paul A. Young sea salt caramel chocolates.  Ever since, I […]

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