chocolate shops in london harrods

Sweet tooth: The best chocolate shops in London

26 Jan 2024 | |By Annabel Harrison

Visit these exceptional chocolatiers, found across London, for gourmet gifts this Valentine’s Day and beyond

Some purchasing decisions are so much more satisfying in real life, whether you’re choosing pets, paint samples, couture dresses or chocolate. When it comes to the latter, a website just can’t match the experience of perusing row upon row of perfectly spherical truffles, identical artisan chocolates and beautifully illustrated boxes, in a place scented not by your morning coffee, children, cat or all three, but by the most intoxicating blends of cocoa.

London is home to some of the world’s finest chocolate shops and these are the boutiques worth visiting, both for Valentine’s Day and, quite frankly, any occasion which warrants a first-class cocoa experience. Birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, Easter, Tuesdays, Sundays…

William Curley, Soho & Harrods

william curley chocolate shop

This chocolatier’s name appears on his business card followed by MCA – Master of Culinary Arts – the highest accolade awarded to chefs in the UK. William Curley certainly knows his craft, and has a passion for chocolate that feels Wonka-esque in its intensity; his whole career has been dedicated to culinary excellence and he launched his eponymous chocolate and patisserie business 14 years ago with wife Melissa.

william curley chocolate box

The four-time winner of Britain’s Best Chocolatier, awarded by the Academy of Chocolate, makes everything by hand in London in a little kitchen overlooking the Thames, without adding any artificial preservatives, flavourings, colours or excess sugar. Curley’s stylish Couture Chocolate boxes contain a selection of his signature chocolates – winning flavour combos include Rosemary & Sea Salt (trust us on this one).

William Curley, 33 Smiths Court, W1D 7DP,

Rococo Chocolates, Chelsea & Marylebone

Pleasure and provenance. That’s what the pros at Rococo have been committed to ever since the company was founded on the King’s Road in the ’80s by Chantal Coady OBE, who wanted to change the way fine chocolate was perceived. (She also chose what is one of Luxury London’s favourite chocolate brand names, as it happens.) Rococo’s bestsellers include its Chocolate Thins in sea salt, rose or peppermint and its pretty speckled eggs filled with praline or salted caramel. Say ‘I love you’ with 36 chocolates and truffles; the heart-shaped box is adorned with a gold foil Valentine’s Day edition of the famous Rococo pattern – illustrations inspired by aphrodisiacs.

Rococo Chocolates, 321 King’s Road, SW3 5EP and 3 Moxon Street, W1U 4RQ,

Pierre Marcolini, Marylebone, Harrods & Selfridges

There are as many differences between cocoa beans as there are between the grapes of different vineyards, says connoisseur Pierre Marcolini. The eight plantations that supply this master chocolatier have pledged to respect three ethical criteria: no child labour, no glyphosate (labelled by the WHO as a “probable carcinogen”) and no beans from the genetically-modified CCN-51 cocoa tree. In return, these plantations are paid more than double the market price to reflect their commitment.

Now you know, that's one more good reason to browse Marcolini's beautiful Heart to Heart Valentine's collection, with its colour-popping geometric designs, stylish sweet treats and charming little pralines wrapped in heart-printed, limited-edition gold foil wrappers.

Pierre Marcolini, 37 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QE,

Cartografie, Battersea

cartografie chocolate

This is technically an online business but, as it does brilliant masterclasses in Battersea, and its chocolates are so elegantly artistic they're (almost) too good to eat, we couldn't leave it out. Its ethos centres around the promise that “because sumptuous should be sustainable, we don’t take shortcuts”. There’s a tab devoted to terroir on the Cartografie website – the complete natural environment in which a product is produced – and that’s not the only thing about the brand that makes us think of fine wine; the team believes filled chocolates are “celebratory expressions of particular regions, couvertures and cocoa bean varieties”.

Descriptions of chocolate ageing, tempering, filling and dipping remind us of the skill and craft involved in chocolate-making. Find out for yourself in a Cartografie workshop, whether at home, by means of a Virtual Tasting Experience, a Studio Tasting Experience or a full Ultimate Chocolate Masterclass. The perfect gift for a genuine lover of all things cocoa.

Cartografie, 14 New Union Square, Embassy Gardens, Nine Elms, SW11 7AX,

Melt Chocolates, Notting Hill, Holland Park & Selfridges

Not only can you buy all the Melt chocolates that you like – for the one you love? Yourself?! – and watch them being made in the shop’s kitchen, but you can also sign up for a chocolate experience, from brownie or bonbon making to something called the Power of Memory. Intriguing. Melt also does subscription boxes, which means your Valentine’s gift genuinely is one that just keeps on giving.

melt london chocolate

Melt was launched in 2005, so named because chocolate is the only food that melts at body temperature, and has stayed true to its ethos: nature knows best. Its designer boxes and bars have always been plastic-free plus it uses renewable energy in its kitchens and has an electric delivery van.

Melt Chocolates, 59 Ledbury Road, W11 2AA and 6 Clarendon Road, W11 3AA,

Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly

For confectionery with the weight of history behind it, there's nowhere finer than Fortnum & Mason – which has been in business and operating from its Piccadilly site for more than 300 years. Charlie Bucket’s wildest dreams come true – there are caramels and pralines and truffles, the usual milk, dark and white suspects, of course, but also pale-pink ruby chocolate and ginger flavours too. If your loved one has a seriously sweet tooth, add some fudge, toffee, Turkish delight or petit fours to your basket, or use the tempting Create Your Own Hamper service. Its Valentine's chocs are particularly suited to the occasion, many packaged in lavish, joyfully bright boxes.

Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, W1A 1ER,

Pierre Herme, Covent Garden

Pierre Hermé may be best known for its delectable macarons but its truffles and bonbons are pretty special too. “Creamy, crunchy, tender, voluptuous, working with chocolate is an art that requires specific know-how,” says the brand. Quite, we say. Its chocolate range is small but excellent, presented in sophisticated, elegant boxes, and there are plenty of cocoa-flavoured macarons if that’s what your loved one’s desire. Have they tried a milk chocolate passionfruit combo, or what about pure dark chocolate with spiced honey and corn?

Pierre Hermé, 38 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EP,

Harrods Chocolate Hall, Knightsbridge

harrods chocolate hall

Quite simply, the stuff a chocoholic’s dreams are made of. Harrods has an entire food hall devoted to cocoa-based creations, opened to mark 150 years in the chocolate business; the store first sold bars in 1870 and began making its own in-house in 1897. The Hall showcases slabs, bars and boxes, Belgian chocolates, vegan chocolates, chocolate-dipped confit fruit and chocolate-coated nuts, plus the world’s best confectionery brands, from William Curley and Pierre Marcolini to Laderach, Booja Booja, Venchi and To’ak.

Markus Bohr, at the helm of this vast chocolate emporium, has created four own-brand chocolate lines in his 13 years at Harrods, officially known as Harrods Grand Cru Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4. “Our couverture is one of our pillars; part of our uniqueness,” he says, as is the signature Harrods Gold Bar, made to a recipe unchanged for more than 20 years.

Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge SW1X 7XL,

Charbonnel et Walker, Mayfair, Canary Wharf, Harrods & Selfridges

charbonnel and walker chocolate

We have long had a soft spot for Charbonnel’s moreish truffles, neatly tucked into distinctive heart-shaped and round boxes. Parisian chocolatier Madame Charbonnel was introduced to Londoner Mrs Walker, who made the finest jewellery and hat boxes, and it was a perfect match. Established in 1875 on Old Bond Street, the company is proud to be Britain’s first luxury chocolatier, with a Royal Warrant since 1970. For a delectable, indulgent Valentine’s gift for the chocoholic in your life, opt for the Truly Classic Valentine’s Hamper, packed with truffles of all kinds, and a mini Moet for a final fizzing flourish.

Charbonnel et Walker, One The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, W1S 4BT and Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT,

Read more: The best vegan restaurants in London