Visit London Blog » chocolate Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Valentine’s Day Treats in London Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:07:37 +0000 If you’re seeking a unique way to say ‘I love you’ to your special someone, here are a handful of Valentine’s Day treats to sweeten up your loved one.

Houses of Parliament Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea
Combine a love for British history with a love for British tradition this Valentine’s weekend. Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner, then the next day continue on into the weekend with a guided tour around the Houses of Parliament. Follow this grand occasion with afternoon tea in the elegant Pugin Room, overlooking the River Thames. The tour will take you into both the Commons and Lords’ Chambers. Saturday 15 Feb. The tour and afternoon tea are priced at £41.50. This offer is also available on 1 Feb, 8 Feb, 22 Feb and 1 Mar.

Fortnum and Mason Hamper
Treat you loved one to a touch of class with the Be My Valentine hamper from the traditional London store, Fortnum & Mason. The hamper is filled with a Marc de Champagne box of fine chocolates, Amber Rose body lotion, luxury bath truffles, and a bottle of personalised Fortnum’s rosé Champagne. Hamper priced at £100.

Candy Cakes
Sweet treat experts Candy Cakes in Baker Street have a heart-obsessed selection of cupcakes available in a variety of flavours: two Chocolate Passion, two First Love, two Red Velvet Valentine, one Strawberry Love, one Caramel Kiss and one Mocca Chocca Love. Box of nine priced at £21.55.

Godminster Heart-Shaped Cheese
Not all Valentine’s Day idea need to be sweet treats. For something truly original, take a look at the heart-shaped Godminster cheese pictured above. It will be available at department stores Harrods and Selfridges in vintage organic cheddar and organic brie flavours.

Veuve Clicquot Rosé and Marshmallows
Take your Valentine to any Aubaine restaurant in London during February and you could treat them to the gentle effervescence of Veuve Clicquot Rosé paired with three light lemon meringue marshmallows (pictured above). The experience is priced at £15.

Other Valentines Day ideas:
The Lyttleton restaurant at the The Stafford by Kempinski in St James is laying on a special Valentine’s afternoon tea including Pacific oyster-caviar and Laurent-Perrier Champagne for £42.50 per person.

It’s Chocolate week at Barts in Chelsea from 6 to 14 February. Alongside a number of love potions and alcoholic aphrodisiac cocktails, there will be chocolate fountains, chocolate face painting, cupid style fancy dress, romantic two-person sharing cocktails served in giant teapots, and Barts home brewed and handmade rum filled chocolates.

Asian restaurant and bar, Bam-Bou in Fitzrovia, has invited psychic counsellor, Susie Johns, to offer lovers one-on-one readings on the 4, 11, 18 Feb. The 15-minute reading and a Love Potion cocktail are priced at £25 per person.

More Valentine’s Day ideas

]]> 0
London for Chocolate Lovers Tue, 19 Nov 2013 08:50:07 +0000

Chocolate has been a rich, delicious part of London life ever since 1657, when the first chocolate house opened in Bishopsgate.

These days, London is a veritable chocolate kingdom, home to chocolate shops, tastings, workshops, tours and even festivals. Here are some of our favourite chocolate-related activities to get you started.

The London Chocolate Festival at the Southbank Centre

The tempting (and free!) London Chocolate Festival returns to the Southbank Centre Square (behind the Royal Festival Hall) from 13-15 December. Head down to create your perfect chocolate bar, learn from the experts at the Masters of Chocolate Afternoon and, of course, indulge your cocoa cravings.

The Chocolate Ecstasy Tour

The Chocolate Ecstasy Tour is the guilt-free way to sample delicious chocolate in London – all that walking will burn off any calories, right? After enjoying a hot chocolate you’ll take to the streets in pursuit of the finest chocolate in town, while learning about the history of cocoa in the capital. There are four tours to choose from: the traditional Mayfair Chocolate Ecstasy Tour, the cutting-edge Chelsea Chocolate Ecstasy Tour, the Evening Chocolate Ecstasy Tour (including a chocolate cocktail) and the Full Day Chocolate Ecstasy Tour.


Paul A Young at Heal’s

Award-winning chocolatier Paul A Young has four stores in London, including a newly-opened shop/café at Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road. All the chocolates are handmade by Paul and his team using fresh ingredients – and the proof is in the tasting. Stop by to shop, sample specialist varieties (don’t miss Paul’s famous sea salted caramels) or take part in one of the regular workshops, such as the upcoming ganache making class on 28 November at the flagship Soho branch.

The Chocolate Museum

Chocolate has a long, colourful history in London. At The Chocolate Museum in Brixton you can discover more about its bittersweet past in the British History of Chocolate exhibition, featuring chocolate memorabilia dating back as far as the 18th century. There’s also a café and a busy programme of events, tasting sessions and workshops for all ages.


Menier Chocolate Factory

With a cosy restaurant upstairs and a fabulous theatre downstairs, Menier Chocolate Factory is a hidden gem close to London Bridge. Each set menu is inspired by the whatever show is on at the theatre, currently Candide, Leonard Bernstein’s witty adaptation of the 18th century novella by Voltaire – so expect Hungarian beef goulash and vegetable stroganoff. Or go for the a la carte menu, which features the very decadent Menier chocolate platter.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket and the Oompa-Loompas are back in a new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Directed by Sam Mendes, this dazzling production uses imagination and innovation to bring the world of Willy Wonka to life – from the chocolate garden to the army of squirrels. Get your golden ticket now!

]]> 1
Eggs-traordinary Easter Eggs in London Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:03:46 +0000 Whether you’re egg-cited about Easter or sick of all the terrible egg puns, London’s dazzling array of special Easter Eggs is sure to put a smile on your face. We’ve picked out a selection of the most unique, from the utterly eggs-travagant to those raising money for charity.

One great place to admire beautful Easter eggs is restaurant and nightspot Shaka Zulu, whose pastry chef will be making a gorgeous display (similar to the one pictured above) out of giant ostrich eggs. It’s bound to make you peckish, so fortunately the South African restaurant will be serving a special three-course feast from 12pm-5pm on Easter Sunday to satisfy your appetite.

London’s top hotels are also getting into the Easter spirit. Claridge’s is selling distinctive art deco eggs that are inspired by the hotel’s black and white marble lobby. Created with three types of fine Valrhona chocolate, the limited-edition eggs are filled with chocolate quail eggs and covered in art deco foil wrapped with a satin bow. They’d make great gifts, but you’d better be quick – there are only 100 of the £45 eggs available. If you’re planning to spend the Easter weekend in London, the Landmark Hotel’s Easter Delight package could be a great option. Not only will you get a large Easter egg – specially prepared by the hotel’s chef – delivered to your bedroom, but inside you might find a golden ticket that grants you one of several special treats provided by the hotel.

One of London’s most unusual Easter eggs can be found at tongue-in-cheek bar and pizzeria Bunga Bunga, where you can sip specially-created cocktails out of large chocolate Easter eggs. Two indulgent ice-cream based drinks are available during the Easter Weekend: a seasonal twist on the espresso martini and a chocaholic’s dream combination of chocolate ice cream, strawberry puree, white chocolate liqeur, vodka and chocolate bitters. If you’re looking for something more savoury, Cinnamon Soho is doing  a special Easter Egg Flip cocktail and an egg-inspired menu, which turns the traditional Easter Egg idea upside down through a series of Indian ball-shaped dishes.

London’s department stores have a reputation for doing everything with panache and this Easter, their eggs don’t disappoint.  At Harrods in Knightsbridge you can marvel at their behemoth of an egg, which is several feet high and – if you’re feeling flush – can be yours for £795. Fortnum and Mason have created ‘the ultimate Easter egg‘ (£90), a Russian-doll-like structure comprised of five different Easter eggs that range from white to very dark chocolate.  Selfridges has solved the age-old chicken and egg problem with a cute dark chocolate easter egg (£59.99), which has been decorated to look like a chick. For truly quirky eggs, head to branches of Artisan du Chocolat for their ‘egg and soldiers‘ masterpiece (£45), which is a cross between delicious chocolate egg and salted caramel fondue kit, or pick up a macabre Rococo ‘day of the dead’ egg from Harvey Nichols (£64.95).

If reading about all that chocolate is making you queasy, fear not: some of London’s most dramatic eggs are inedible. Head to Covent Garden from 22 March – 1 April for the Lindt Big Egg Hunt, which raises money for Action for Children. Giant fibreglass Easter eggs, which have been designed by leading artists, fashion designers and architects, will be hidden around the area for visitors to find – simply pick up a Hunt Book and get cracking!

]]> 1
What’s On This Weekend: 16-18 November 2012 Mon, 12 Nov 2012 10:36:02 +0000 London is looking increasingly festive, but if you’re not ready to enjoy Christmas markets or skating there are still many exiting events taking place this weekend. Catch two brand new exhibitions at major cultural venues, or feel anything but chilly at a spicy food festival.

The Southbank Centre Christmas Market

This popular German-style Christmas market returns to the Southbank for a fifth year. Between the London Eye and Waterloo Bridge you’ll find more than 60 traditional wooden chalets, selling everything from unusual Christmas gifts to warming Glühwein. Fairground rides, festive lights and seasonal music complete the magical atmosphere. 16 Nov-24 Dec

UK Chilli Stand Off 2012, Hackney

Fire up your tastebuds at this spicy festival, which sees eight top chefs competing to be crowned chilli champion. Participants include Gizzi Erskine, Tim Anderson and Tom Parker-Bowles, with Masterchef’s John Torode in the enviable position of judge. Visitors will be able to sample all eight chillis, alongside a range of drinks and even chocolate chilli ice cream. Tickets are £40, visit the event’s website to secure a place at one of two tasting sessions. 17 Nov

Light from the Middle East: New Photography, at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum presents a rare opportunity to view the best of contemporary Middle Eastern photography at this new exhibition. Thirty artists are represented, and their photographs not only highlight fascinating variations in technique and perspective, but also provide a timely insight into recent events. Entry is free. 13 Nov-7 Apr 

A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance, at the Tate Modern

Explore the relationship between painting and performance at this reverse-engineered exhibition at the Tate Modern. Featuring work by artists such as Jackson Pollock, David Hockney and Cindy Sherman, it contrasts painters who use theatrical techniques with those who use the human body itself as a canvas. Tickets are £10 for adults. 14 Nov-1 Apr

Skate at Somerset House Ice Rink

This seasonal ice rink, set against the exquisite backdrop of Somerset House, just keeps getting better and better. Not only can adults and children learn to skate in dedicated classes, but budding ice dancers can also show off their moves at late night sessions, accompanied by music from top DJs. Adding to the glamour is the new pop-up shopping arcade, which allows you to buy British artisan gifts for your loved ones after a spin on the ice. 16 Nov-6 Jan

The Bar of Aero

Enter The Bar of Aero, a pop-up world of chocolate, bubbly fun at the Dray Walk Gallery, Truman Brewery. The fun includes a peppermint-scented playground, orange and green bubble waterfall and a movement reactive Aero hot chocolate dispenser. Entrance is free with prizes and free chocolate up for grabs. 16-18 Nov, 12-7pm

More events in London

]]> 0
Video: Building Cadbury House in Hyde Park Sun, 05 Aug 2012 15:00:25 +0000

Regular readers of this blog will know we’re fans of timelapse videos. And chocolate. (Mmm, timelapse chocolate…)

So here’s a real Double Decker of a treat(!) from the Official Treat providers from the London 2012 Games: a timelapse vid of Cadbury House taking shape in Hyde Park.

Cadbury House is free to visit. Inside, you can journey through the Joyville tasting zone to the Chocolatrium and finally to a very Harry-Potter-sounding “Great Games Hall” where you’ll receive your own Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Medal as you step onto the podium to the sound of cheering crowds!

Cadbury House is open until 12 August as part of BT London Live.

Have you been to any of the London 2012 Live Sites? Let us know your highlights (chocolate or otherwise!) in the comments below.

]]> 0
The World’s Most Expensive Easter Egg? Tue, 20 Mar 2012 16:57:40 +0000

London is hoping to crack the Guinness World Record for the world’s most expensive non-jewelled chocolate egg sold at auction as part of World Record London.

This 50-kilo egg was designed by William Curley for The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, and will be auctioned this evening to raise money for Action for Children and Elephant Family.

Four artisan chocolatiers took three days to produce the luxurious egg at William Curley’s Twickenham production kitchen.

Trimmed with gold leaf, the masterpiece is filled with William Curley chocolates including muscovado caramel, Japanese black vinegar, and rosemary and olive oil.

We hope someone’s feeling generous this Easter! Look out for an update tomorrow on the price achieved at auction.

Update on 21 March: The egg sold last night at auction for a record-breaking £7,000.

]]> 1
Visit London Asks: How Will You Celebrate Chocolate Week? Mon, 11 Oct 2010 09:53:18 +0000

Chocolate Week starts today (hurray!) and we’d love to know how you’re planning to indulge over the next seven days.

Enjoy an afternoon sugar rush with special chocolate afternoon teas at The Botanist, The Royal Horseguard’s hotel or the Hilton on Park Lane. Or try a Fairtrade chocolate cocktail at K West.

Work your way through an entire chocolate dinner at the Bingham. Or maybe just pay a visit to your favourite chocolate shop?

Chocolate Week 11-18 Oct 2010

]]> 6
Belgium in London: Neuhaus Chocolates Tue, 24 Aug 2010 15:30:46 +0000

Belgium is famous for beer and chocolates. Since the developments to the Eurostar service back in 2007, the journey times between St Pancras and Brussels have been squeezed to an impressive 1 hour, 51 minutes. I made the journey myself earlier this month, and it really is a very smooth, stress-free way to travel.

While in Brussels I had the most amazing chocolates from Neuhaus. They were by far my favourites. And I’m not the only one! After the Royal Festival in 2000, King Albert II gave Neuhaus the title of Accredited Supplier to the Belgian Crown.

But if you don’t want to take the train, you can still get a taste of that famous Belgian chocolate here in London.

There are Neuhaus stores in London in St Pancras Station, Heathrow Airport, and in Harrods. They also have a gorgeous boutique on South Molton Street, full of wonderful chocolatey treats, and a café in Putney. All Neuhaus products are still made in Vlezenbeek, near Brussels, and exported to the UK.

My favourite is the St Pancras Station branch. It’s perfect if you want to pick up a last-minute present for someone before you catch a train. And it smells amazing!

I spoke to Sandra Szondi, Neuhaus’ communications manager, to find out what makes Neuhaus’ chocolates so special.

“Neuhaus have been making chocolates in Belgium for 153 years. They even invented the Belgian praline. Most people don’t know that. It was Jean Neuhaus, the grandson of the original Jean Neuhaus, who created the world’s first filled chocolate, which he named ‘Praline’.

“At the time, the pralines were served in paper cones, like you eat chips from, and the pralines got squashed together. Jean’s wife, Louise, invented a new box to keep them from getting spoiled: and that’s the ballotin (which you can see in the picture above). They’re still used today.

“For Belgians, the most popular chocolates are the old ‘Caprice’ and ‘Tentations’ – these are chocolates with a rich history. They were created for the World Expo in Brussels in 1958. And they are named after a famous quote by Brigitte Bardot.

“But my favourite is the Manon Sucre Vanille. It’s made with vanilla cream or butter cream, and it’s quite milky. Inside, there’s some pecan nuts, a little, little piece of waffle, and cream of vanilla sugar. It’s quite heavy; most people don’t like it, because it’s too rich. But it’s good for eating once a week or so, I think!

Do you have any other recommendations on where to find a taste of Belgium in London (beer, chocolate or anything else?!) Let us know in the comments below.

]]> 4
Things To Do This Weekend Fri, 07 May 2010 14:30:17 +0000 It’s Friday, it feels too cold for May and there’s a feeling of uncertainty in the air! But make sure your weekend’s a clear winner with these delectable London treats:

]]> 1
Question of the Week: What’s Your Favourite Chocolate Shop in London? Mon, 29 Mar 2010 10:54:00 +0000 Easter is just a few days away, and it’s the best excuse we can think of to scoff as much chocolate as possible!

But not just any old chocolate, we want the good stuff. We want the best chocolate in London, so tell us where we can get our greedy mouths on it.

Do you like the beautiful displays and sweet delights at Fortnum and Mason? Or do handmade, organic Rococo chocolates take your fancy? Ever seen a finely crafted chocolate rose at one of Paul A Young’s shops?

Is there somewhere in your corner of London selling the most mouth-watering truffles or the richest hot chocolate?

We want to know…

]]> 8