It’s getting colder and darker; Winter has officially begun and we know what’s at the top of your mind: Hot chocolate. Big delicious cups of the stuff. With cream. Itchy has done the hard work for you and sampled a disgusting quantity of hot chocolates around London to sift out the weak, powdery ones and bring you only the finest, thickest, creamiest of them all. You’re welcome.
La Maison du Chocolat, 46 Piccadilly, W1J ODS
Shooting straight to the top of our list is this classy Mayfair establishment. A few pounds (it’s best not to think about how many exactly) will buy you a cup of what appears to be pure melted chocolate and a seat in the sumptuous surroundings. A tad on the pricey side but definitely worth it.
Caffe Vergnano, South Bank Centre, Festival Terrace, SE1 8XX
Without a shadow of a doubt the best coffee shop in London, this place also does a ruddy good hot chocolate. Although you can get a standard, chocolate-only affair, we recommend the Bicerin. Technically a mocha, this involves three miniature jugs filled with coffee, melted chocolate and double cream, which you can mix and match to your heart’s delight. Drinking chocolate has never been so much fun.
Paul A Young, 33 Camden Passage, N1 8EA
There’s always a saucepan of hot chocolate simmering away at the back of this atmospheric shop. The assistant ladles out the dark, slightly bitter chocolate into a cup and mixes in your selection of spices. At £4 a hit, this is a once-in-a-while treat – recommended to cheer you up when you’re having a bad day.
A controversial one. Thick, creamy and chocolatey, but almost too much so. Also comes with a slightly unappealing skin on the top. We felt Apostrophe deserved a place on the list, however, due to its legions of dedicated fans. There are many who refuse to drink hot chocolate elsewhere. We leave it up to you to decide.
Melt, 59 Ledbury Road, W11 2AA
Just a few moments ago, Itchy told you that Caffe Vergnano’s Bicerin is the funnest chocolate-drinking experience around. Itchy lied. At least as much fun are Melt Bar’s hot chocolate blocks. The idea is simple. You choose a block of chocolate on a stick (they come in several different flavours), you’re given a cup of hot milk and you swirl your chocolate block around in it until it melts. Itchy is not quite sure why doing the mixing yourself is so much more satisfying but, like a Muller Corner, it is.