1. William Curley
William Curley is one of the world’s most renowned chocolatiers, having won so many awards he has no space left on his awards shelf. Top among his many honours includes the Academy of Chocolate's Britain's Best Chocolatier Award, which he has bagged an unprecedented four times. His dessert-bar near Sloane Square serves delightful morsels made from the freshest, finest ingredients. Go there (weekends only) and sit in the outdoor seats and gorge on the delicious brown stuff.
2. Rabot 1745
This chocolate-themed cafe is the brainchild of Hotel Chocolat, so you can be sure of its cacao heritage. It came about after Hotel Chocolat founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris had finished restoring the 250-year-old Rabot Estate cacao planation on Saint Lucia; they opened a cacao-themed restaurant called Boucan using the ingredient as a spice as well as a sweet, which has been impressing tourists ever since. Rabot 1745 brings the concept to London, serving a host of innovative dishes influenced by the West Indies and Britain. Menu items include Rare seared cacao and sesame crust tuna, smoked aubergine stuffed romano pepper, crushed lime and chili sweet potatoes, and Salad of poached fennel and garden peas, cacao crunch goats cheese fritters.
Motcomb Street, Belgravia
Rococo’s flagship store in Belgravia is about as close to Willy Wonka’s factory as you could hope for, with a glass floor that looks down over the kitchen where chocolatiers busily prepare their latest creations. Rococo hosts children’s parties, workshops and chocolate masterclasses, for those who want to brush up on their chocolate-crafting skills. Prefer to just sample the results? Rococo sells innovative flavours, such as basil and persian lime, as well as a brand new collection of Roald Dahl inspired bars.
Princes Arcade, St. James’s
Purveyors of Chocolates to Her Majesty The Queen, the chocolatiers at Prestat are more than happy to make chocolatey treats for regular old plebs like us too. Beautiful and hand-crafted, these delicious cocoa creations can be found stacked high in Prestat’s blindingly colourful Princes Arcade store, which sticks out amidst its more reserved surroundings like a royal chocolate thumb. Made to order gift boxes can be requested, but truffles are where Prestat truly exceeds. It’s no wonder Liz is such a fan.
59 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill
Notting Hill’s primo-destination for all things praline, Melt’s boutique headquarters produces an alluring chocolate waft so powerful that it can be smelled from hundreds of feet away. Follow your nose into the sugary miasma of their shop and you’ll find countless treats awaiting you: sea salted caramel bon bons, passion fruit and mango bites, and pistachio marzipan. They specialise in gift boxes, and produce their own recipe book that caters to beginners looking to take their first steps into the world of chocolate-making.
Fouberts Place, Carnaby
Based in London and Brighton, this art and design chocolatier is famous for its “one-off sculptured fantasies”. Its TV show on the Good Food Channel celebrating its bespoke creations has made it a bit of a tourist hotspot in recent years, but if you’re just popping by, it’s worth visiting the chocolate menagerie – encompassing not just birds, but kittens, dinosaurs, puppies and frogs – and it’s Bar Du Chocolat, a decadent cafe serving up sweet treats and beverages.
7. Paul A Young
Royal Exchange, Bank
Artisan chocolatier and renowned patissier Paul Young is one of the hottest names in London’s vibrant chocolate scene, and is often regarded as the best chocolate maker in the country. He and his team craft small batch chocolates by hand in their stores, working with fresh ingredients to create unusual, complex and original flavours. Masala spices are met with salted caramel creaminess in his mouthwatering truffle and brownie concoctions. Sweet-toothed City workers should check out his shop in Royal Exchange.