In case you were wondering, no I haven't given up blogging. Its been a long and manic few weeks (and I suspect will continue like that all of March) with the big move to Edinburgh and the lack of time off to do it all. Note to self, take a week off for the next big move, whenever that is! That said, in the midst of all the mayhem, I continue to seek out new adventures and experiences to draw energy from. One such fabulous adventure was the Chocolate Tour of London. My friend Katherine and I took an impromptu afternoon off to savour the chocolatey delights of the Big Smoke.
We met our lovely tour guide Lisa outside the Algerian Coffee Store on Old Compton Road who offered us a selection of coffee and raspberry flavoured chocolates to munch on whilst waiting for the remained of the group. We quickly figured that Lisa was a bit of a walkie-talkie chocolate encyclopedia of London. We listened on to Lisa's stories of the history of the Algerian coffee stores, Hotel Chocolat ( the next stop) and other nearby foodie establishments. The passion fruit flavoured Hotel Chocolat chocolates we sampled were scrumptious. I asked for seconds and that was the start of a pattern.
I was most impressed by the delectable creations at Paul A Young. The chocolates are made on the store premises itself and are available in a range of very unusual flavours. Stilton and port wine anyone? Marmite perhaps? Each of the chocolates we sampled were truly divine. They also stocked Mast Brothers, Menakao and Duffys, winners all the way! I also loved the Prestat store ( bright colours, friendly staff and great chocolate) but was most impressed by the custom made Lulu Guinness bag on display. We stopped by Freggo for ice-cream and I sampled far too many (as evident from the rainbow of spoons in the picture above). We passed by Laduree (Burlington Arcade store) but didn't go in. I didn't mind as I seem to go in to their Covent Garden outfit every time I'm in London!
The Charbonnel and Walker store was very swanky and the chocolates were amazing but the air there was perhaps a tiny bit too snooty for my liking? My favourite store of all on the tour was Fortnum and Mason; I love love love their wonderful window displays! Lisa then took us to the East India Company which was one of the friendliest stores by far. They even had snacks and tea out for visitors at various corners of the store; if I worked/lived in the area, I'd be visiting every day! Lisa stopped by a number of other shops along the along, proving a bit of history and gossip as part of the tour. One such stop was Choccywoccydoodah and OMG, it bonkers.
Our last stop was Liberty of London (another favourite of mine) where our group parted ways, so full of chocolate that we even took some samples home! Katherine and I headed back to to Paul A Young to buy some pressies for our boys before heading to Yauatacha for some nibbles, macarons and drinkies before taking a late old train back home.
We got our tickets through TimeOut London at 50% off but full price tickets are still available on the Great British Tours website. There is a similar tour in Edinburgh although I think I could try doing a self-planned version myself. Hope you are all having a lovely week! Ann x