The best hot chocolate in London

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Last winter, I turned to hot chocolate to soothe a broken heart. From milky-sweet cups topped with canned whipped cream to tiny shots of neat, molten liquid, I tried them all. The daily habit lasted for several months and often meant resorting to instant sachets and lukewarm takeaways from high-street chains. Even, in desperate times, the watery dribble of petrol station vending machines. But then there were the good ones. These had the power to transport me to being six or seven and watching my granny pour warmed double cream straight into the mug; to dark bonfire nights; to icy toes in ski boots; to steaming bowls of chocolat chaud dipped into with a rip of warm baguette. Deeply comforting as well as nostalgic, a hot chocolate is a treat that really can make you feel a bit better. Plus, dark chocolate has been proven to ease anxiety which makes it practically medicinal. The key is to look for specialist chocolate shops or ice-cream parlours which do proper hot chocolates in the winter months. Here are 10 of the best hot chocolates in London to try.

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    Chin Chin Labs, Soho and Camden

    Best for: marshmallow lovers

    This brand is known for its quirky treats such as nitro ice-cream sandwiches and hot chocolate topped with mounds of blow-torched marshmallow. Visit its labs in Camden and Soho or for nationwide home delivery order the pre-blended kit that’s been handmade in their Soho kitchen using Valrhona chocolate. Add a mini pot of marshmallow fluff to top it all off.

    Address: Chin Chin Labs, 54 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 3DS; 49-50 Camden Lock Place, Camden Town, London NW1 8AF


    Website: chinchinicecream.com

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    Knoops, Clapham and Kensington

    Best for: next-level hot chocolate

    After making its name in Rye, East Sussex, Knoops now has two London shops, in Clapham and Kensington. Expect a laboratory feel as a Knoopologist helps you choose your perfect percentage in white, milk, ruby or dark from the chocolate library. You can then add extras such as Maldon sea salt, szechuan pepper or cardamom. It’s served in bowls with a satisfying square of homemade marshmallow on the side.

    Address: Knoops, 64 St John’s Road, London SW11 1PS; 80 Kensington High Street, London W8 4SG


    Website: knoops.co.uk

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    The Connaught Patisserie, Mayfair

    Best for: chocoholics

    The marble counter teems with cakes at the rose-coloured Patisserie at The Connaught. They include the signature Connaughty Hound, a chocolate hazelnut cake in the shape of the hotel’s canine emblem, and The River Café’s chocolate nemesis – available for the first time outside of its riverside home. If that isn’t enough to satisfy chocoholics, there’s also the velvety hot chocolate made with dark Valrhona stirred through with Madagascan vanilla and topped with whipped cream.

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    Paul A Young, Angel

    Best for: chocolate connoisseurs

    This Camden Passage chocolate shop is one of London’s little gems. A pot of rich hot chocolate bubbles away inside; order a cup which can be spiced with flavours such as cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and chilli. It also stocks the chocolatier’s famous salted-caramel brownies as well as packets of Aztec hot chocolate to make at home – all of which can be bought via the new online shop too.

    Spring-to-go, Shoreditch

    Best for: mocha

    After a successful summer serving ice cream from a pastel-pink shipping container beside the fountains at Somerset House, Skye Gyngell is opening a permanent, bricks-and-mortar version of Spring-to-go on East London’s Redchurch Street in November 2020. Pick up her signature hot chocolate from the beautiful counter. Inspired by a trip to Turin, it’s a blend of rich, dark chocolate, a shot of espresso and sweet, softly whipped cream.

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    The Parlour at Fortnum and Mason, Piccadilly

    Best for: toppings

    The Fortnum’s Parlour specialises in ice-cream sundaes in summer and hot chocolate in winter. All year round it’s about the toppings: choose a classic dark or milk hot chocolate with whipped cream and then add sprinkles, marshmallows, mini Florentines, popcorn and shortbread for a decadent treat.

    Prestat, Piccadilly

    Best for: classic hot chocolate

    With a tiny, chocolate-box shop in Princes Arcade, Prestat is the place to pick up colourful selections of truffles and there’s also a small counter where you can order hot chocolate to take away. Choose a flavour of real chocolate shavings; they’re then swirled into frothy milk.

    Address: Prestat, 14 Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, London SW1Y 6DS


    Website: prestat.com

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    William Curley, Soho

    Best for: hazelnut hot chocolate

    Chocolatier William Curley’s boutique is tucked away in Soho’s tranquil Smith’s Court, with tables indoors as well as out in the leafy, fairy-lit courtyard. Try the Gianduja, made with Piedmont hazelnut and 70-per-cent dark chocolate, for a flavour like grown-up Nutella, or the Aztec which has a warming chilli kick.

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    Gelupo, Soho

    Best for: molten hot chocolate

    This Soho stalwart is well known for its gelato, but a lesser-known fact is that it also serves an indulgent take on hot chocolate in the winter. Forget milky, marshmallow and whipped-cream concoctions: here you get a small shot glass filled with molten dark chocolate. A rich, grown-up treat.

    Address: Gelupo, 7 Archer Street, Soho, London W1D 7AU


    Website: gelupo.com

  • The best hot chocolate in London

    Lucocoa Chocolate, Bermondsey

    Best for: a healthier hot chocolate

    The clue is in the name at Lucocoa, which uses the Peruvian lucuma fruit instead of refined sugars to sweeten its chocolate. The result is a delicious figgy-rich flavour. Tours of the bean-to-bar factory in Bermondsey’s Spa Terminus are currently suspended, but you can still pop in to pick up a signature Haiti hot chocolate and some of the colourfully packaged bars.

    Address: Lucocoa Chocolate, Arch 3, Spa Business Park, Dockley Road, London SE16 4EJ


    Website: lucocoachocolate.com

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