chocolate tasting tour

Chocolate tasting tour: When cocoa met milk

What is better than strolling through Mayfair on a Sunday afternoon? Doing it on a chocolate tasting tour.

After doing the compulsory walking tours in Barcelona, Saint Petersburg, Copenhagen and Prague in the last year, we felt the need to do something similar but slightly more exciting in London during the Bank holiday weekend. When we came across this 2.5 hour stroll from Best Tours through West London sampling divine chocolates en route, there wasn’t anything to consider but our willpower. We are not even going to apologise for the mouth watering content!

1. Hotel Chocolate

We know it well, but how well really?

chocolate tasting tour
Image by Hotel Chocolate

This 11-year old British brand is proud with its own cocoa beans grow, based in St Lucia and with the rule of ‘More Cocoa, less sugar’. Starting its first shop in Watford and now with a count close to 80 around the UK, there is no doubt that they have been doing something right.

We got our first flavour of Hotel Chocolat when a potential employer tried to schmooze us with 500gr of this Rocky Road Giant. Yes, they send us a package in the post. It didn’t make us want to work for them, but it definitely opened a world of flavours, which was quite different from our usual supermarket chocolate bars (Sorry, Kit Kat).

On the Chocolate Tasting Tour, we had  these gin infused dark chocolate bites, which actually don’t contain alcohol. Definitely a new taste, where sugar isn’t overpowering.

4/5

2. Prestat

Second stop of our Chocolate Tasting Tour.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory fans, may we have your attention. When Roahd Dahl gets his inspirations from a tiny shop in the Prince Arcade, it can’t be just because of its number of Royal Warrants.

This 113-years old British brand with French roots, renown for ‘inventing’ the chocolate truffle, got us mildly excited. Trying the slightly pretentious ‘Napoleon III’ truffle got us ecstatic. Think luxury, richness and power. We’re still talking about the truffle.

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

Images by Suits and Books

How very Royal.

4.5/5

3. Carpo

Mediterranean feel, coffee, chocolate and nuts.

This 23-year old Greek gem impressed us with its gourmet offers, generous samples (Dark Chocolate Praline with Mastic flavour as well as with Milk Chocolate Slab with Hazelnut Croquant) and exotic smells. We are pretty certain will be coming back for more!

4.5/5

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

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Images by Suits and Books

4. Fortnum and Mason

The Royal Purveyor of fine foods’

Chandeliers, classical music, fresh flowers, sales assistants in suits and thick carpets. For anyone who hasn’t visited this store, you have been missing out on ‘posh points’. A lot.

As if anyone is counting.

We were quite surprised by the number of people doing a casual ‘throw in the basket’ groceries shopping with the £8.50 per package of strawberries, but maybe that’s just us. On a more positive note, we had an immense pleasure of trying a dark chocolate praline with passion fruit (Remember, we were still on that Chocolate Tasting Tour?) and we can say one thing.

Next time you ask yourself the question: ‘£1 for a regular chocolate bar or £1 for a piece of divine cocoa-blend-who-knows-what-else beauty?’, worry no more, you have our clear recommendation. Quality over quantity.

5/5

 chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

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chocolate tasting tour

Images by Suits and Books

5. East India Company

While we can avoid another history lesson, it will be a shame to do so.  If nowadays trading tea, coffee, spices, gold, silver and porcelain seems like a regular activity, this wasn’t the case 400 years ago. Pioneers in the luxury goods of its time, the East India Company connected the East and the West and brought exotic ingredients to our everyday use.

Walking into the store, we felt that the commercial interest was somehow not at its forefront. With super generous samples from essentially every product they were offering (including tea), we couldn’t enforce our willpower and we can only be happy for that. We managed to try pretty much every dark chocolate flavour, cocoa bean coated in chocolate or spicy shortbread biscuit that was available. Surrounded by fine porcelain, many pounds per gram tea and questionably amounts of sugar in our bloodstream, we wish we weren’t developing those expensive tastes so quickly. Damage done!

Every good thing comes to an end and so was the case with our Chocolate Tasting Tour. If we knew that award-winning hand-made chocolate was our grand finale prize, we almost suspect we could have completed this marathon faster.

Every good thing comes to an end and so was the case with our Chocolate Tasting Tour. If we knew that award-winning hand-made chocolate was our grand finale prize, we almost suspect we could have completed this marathon faster.

Every good thing comes to an end and so was the case with our Chocolate Tasting Tour. If we knew that award-winning hand-made chocolate was our grand finale prize, we almost suspect we could have completed this marathon faster.

Images by Suits and Books

5/5

6. Paul A Young

Every good thing comes to an end and so was the case with our Chocolate Tasting Tour. If we knew that award-winning hand-made chocolate was our grand finale prize, we almost suspect we could have completed this marathon faster.

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

chocolate tasting tour

Images by Suits and Books

We tried a champagne and a caramel chocolate and they were both divine. Forget about factories, forget about economies of scale. These little beauties are done by hand, on-site and you often won’t find the same flavour twice (so eat it all when you can!).

5/5

Chocolate Tasting Tour completed, there is no doubt, we would be going back for more!

Suits and Books. Our pleasure. 

Disclaimer: All opinions are our own and nobody paid us for eating that chocolate 🙂

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