Haute chocolate: Where to find the best hot chocolate in London

As the mercury drops, there’s nowt like clutching a steaming cup to warm you up. For lifting mood as well as body temperature, it’s best that that cup holds hot chocolate. After all, it’s a well-known fact that that most things with a high cocoa content make one content.

But it’s easy to feel cool – or at best, lukewarm – towards hot chocolate. So many fall so short. Sure, it always looks the part; baiting you like some kind of seductive supermodel. But, like the classic image of those catwalk clotheshorses, it’s too thin, too one-dimensional, and lacks taste.

This lot do not. They are full-bodied, full of fulsome flavour, and fulfill the fantasy in reality. They will make you lose pounds from your pockets and gain pounds of padding. You will not care a jot.

Sip, slurp, and welcome Winter…

Jaz & Jul’s

Jaz & Jul's Organic ethical hot chocolate

If you’re scurrying round the Christmas market chalets on the Southbank, keep your eyes peeled for Jaz & Jul’s. The duo makes drinks from real chocolate shavings; either unadulterated, sourced from selected single origins, or mixed with further flavours to yield pun-tastic preparations like ‘Mintchevious’; ‘Quite White’; perked up with peppercorns, or the chai-spiced ‘Masala Mojo’ (which, in my The Spice Scribe guise, I feel extra-warmly towards).

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Paul A Young

Paul A Young Aztec Hot Chocolate Adventures with Chocolate cookbook

At least three characteristics of Paul’s hot chocolate are traits I find equally delicious in a potential partner. Dark, rich, and open to a sprinkle of additional spice when the mood strikes. ‘Thick’, however, is another matter: not at all alluring if pertaining to a person’s intellect, but wonderfully welcome when thinking of the drink. Paul’s water-based, dairy-free decoction is stand-your-spoon in it stuff. Don’t forget to spice up your cup with all sorts of aromatics in store.

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Fancy getting in the merry mood with a mug of Paul’s mulled wine hot chocolate? Then you’d better book a spot at ‘Christmas with Paul A Young: A Festive Chocolate Adventure‘ at the Southbank Centre on 4th December. 

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat gingerbread hot chocolate cocoa Christmas

The seasonal Gingerbread flavour for those who want to get in the festive spirit; with a shot of real spirit added, too, should you so choose. For a treat that’s a little more bittersweet, I like the Classic, made with a ladle of liquid 70% choc concentrate. To make it more ‘dessert’ than ‘drink’, pop in pieces of plain baguette when it’s piping hot; then sip slowly as the sunken chunks sop up the choc to leave a rich, custard-y bread pudding to enjoy at the end.

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Bulgari Hotel

Bulgari Hotel hot chocolate Alain Ducasse Save The Children

If you like to drink-in when you’re drinking hot chocolate, pop to the pop-up bar in the Bulgari Hotel’s Spirit Room and sup up a cup made with chocolate from Alain Ducasse’s Paris-based ‘La Manufacture’ factory. The dish of grated 75% cocoa-solids chocolate you’ll receive is hand-crafted; the same can be said for the beverage you’ll blend by mixing it to your own taste at table with warm milk. A percentage of each sale goes to Save The Children.

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Gelupo logo

Life might well be like a box of chocolates; but with hot chocolate, you pretty much always know what you’re gonna get. Not so at Gelupo, where there’s enough varieties of the decadent drink on the menu for a full fortnight of no-repeat guarantees. There’s plenty to tempt; from a cream-topped, hazelnut crammed hot chocolate to ‘drowned’ gelato floats; choctails to coffee-chocolate combinations.

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Artisan du Chocolat

Artisan du Chocolat hot chocolate London

In case your cup did not already runneth over, Artisan du Chocolat’s liquid chocolate comes with a side of, you guessed it, chocolates: two of your own choosing, in fact. If you’ve supped what’s in the cup (a rich chocolate concoction that’s brown sugar-sweetened, double cream-laced, slightly salted) and are still in need of a little lift, order the caffeine-crammed espresso version.

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Rococo hot chocolate

Whether you opt for a swift, short shot of hot choc on the hoof or linger instore over a lengthier serve, Rococo’s is hot chocolate to relish. Based on the blend you can buy bagged to knock up your own at home, the plain chocolate version can be further flavoured with a chunk of chocolate from the Rococo range. If you’re in the mood for milk, opt for the long hot chocolate; or go with the ‘espresso’ option if you’re dairy-dodging.

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SAID chocolate cafe Soho London

One would anticipate a 90 year-old Italian chocolate factory to know a thing or two about whipping up a cup of good hoy chocolate. And accordingly, you’ll find fine stuff in the Soho store, hubble-bubbling away in cauldrons like bewitching witches’ brews in dark, milk ad gianjula versions. Thick, rich, satisfying and very indulgent indeed? Yup, you ‘SAID’ it.

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Cocoa Hernando

Cocoa Hernando Paul logo

All those hot chocolates got you hot under the collar? Here’s a cool chocolate treat to make you shiver in glee. Like Cocoa Hernando’s flavoured chocolate bars, the range of milkshakes are informed by Paul’s world travels. Whether you choose Jamaican, Indian, Cuban or Himalayan, your drink will be made from a mix of milk and ice cream, along with a good glug of a carefully-concocted chocolate syrup.

For locations and more, click here

  • Paul A Young Aztec hot chocolate image from his ‘Adventures with Chocolate’ cookbook

7 responses to “Haute chocolate: Where to find the best hot chocolate in London

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