If there’s one thing that separates sophisticated districts of major cosmopolitan cities from their also rans, it’s that the former tend to be home to a stylish chocolatier or two. Well, no question, London’s Chelsea certainly falls into this category – it’s genuinely over-spilling with such confection-toting establishments. In fact, the array of cocoa-created treats on offer here would make even Willy Wonka blush…
(321 King’s Road SW3 5EP)
If eating chocolate – delicious, rich, creamy chocolate – is your idea of luxury, then how about drinking that exact kind of indulgent chocolate? This is the place to visit for the latter, all right (especially if you’re already visiting the area and staying at San Domenico House hotel Chelsea). For, at Rococo, it’s all about trying the liquid form of its traditional plain organic blend, created from pure cocoa mass, powder and butter with just a smidgen of vanilla beans. And, if you like, you might even want to have a go at aiding the ateliers in their chocolate-making efforts. Why not?
R Chocolate London
(198 Ebury Street SW1W 8UN)
Somewhat minimalist by name it may be, but the wares on offer at this chocolatier are far from austere. Because this place likes to create, showcase and vend its sweet creations alongside that oh-so delicious staple of English tradition, the afternoon tea. Founded by the mega-wealthy Rothschild family no less, perhaps this shop’s biggest draw is its downstairs where you can be dreamily exposed to a demonstration of pastry-, truffle- and salted-caramel-making. Mind you, if you’ve the kids in tow they may prefer the chocolate-making classes, as well as the opportunity, back upstairs, to choose chocolate treats to take back to whichever of the Chelsea hotels you’re staying in.
Jeff de Bruges
(30 Thurloe Street SW7 2LT)
One of the true treats hidden away in South Ken, Jeff de Bruges offers a distinctly chic French take on traditional, irresistible Belgian chocolate traditions. You can find incarnations of this place throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia – everywhere then from Valencia to Saint-Étienne and Dubai to Marrakesh and, yes, even Tahiti – so it might be said to be the chocolate equivalent of a fashion house brand. And who could say no to that? Recipes tend to be locally sourced as well as imported, though, resulting in taste-tacular creations such as white chocolate slabs with dried fruit and hazelnuts, Earl Grey tea-flavoured milk chocolate ganache and truffles deliciously filled with liqueurs, as well as fabulous fancies of marzipan and fruit jellies.
Venchi Cioccolato – Gelato
(71 King’s Road SW3 4NX)
Finally, what better way to feed that chocolate fix by combining it with that eternal desire for ice cream? This über-stylish establishment on the King’s Road brings Italian designer gelato to London and its creations make for, well, the greatest-tasting ice cream you’ll lock your taste-buds on outside il vecchio paese. As you’d expect, all flavours are served but – again, as you’d expect – the choccy flavours tend to go down a storm, thanks to the latter trio being the oh-so sophisticated dark chocolate sorbet, Cuor de Cacao and a slightly less creamy version of the latter. Yes, all three taste as good as they sound, all right. Also on offer are a choice selection of milkshakes and various luxury sweets, while the seating’s copious and comfortable; perfect for demolishing your gelato with gusto then while feeling like a Mediterranean king.