What would we do without chocolate? Even if you’re not personally a fan, you can’t deny it makes a fantastic get-out-of-jail Christmas or secret Santa gift. Chances are if you’re human you like chocolate in some form, whether it’s a bougie variety box or a Mars bar with your meal deal.
This list is less about the latter and more about the former because, we’re laying out the definitive list of London’s great chocolate shops. Whatever you love - milk, dark, white, pralines or truffles, single origin bars or multi-layer assortment boxes - we’ve got something for you.
When you dig below the surface, London presents a quite overwhelming range of choccy choice. If you’re a Swiss chocolate sort of person, maybe Laderach chocolate is for you. Or perhaps heritage Belgian brand Godiva is more to your taste? Then you have Dark Sugars - a Brick Lane institution, representing the best cocoa from Ghana and the Ivory Coast, award-winning European chocolatiers like Pierre Herme and Pierre Marcolini who have their own boutiques in the capital, not to mention homegrown chocolate talent like Paul A Young, William Curley, DeRosier in Earlsfield, Melt in Notting Hill, and traditional royal house of Windsor family favourites like Charbonnel et Walker and Prestat.
So really, how do you choose? Well, Harrods and Selfridges are a good start - you’ll find many of our top chocolatiers have outposts in one or both of these famous old department stores, so you can get a good look at them without having to traipse around London. In the meantime, scroll on down as we take you on a magical tour of London’s best chocolate shops and chocolatiers.
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse
What: Single origin chocolate bars, fruity ganaches, chocolate spreads and more, made by the fair hands of Alain Ducasse himself! Well, okay, probably not, but still, the chocolate at Le Chocolat is exceptional nonetheless. The beautiful Discovery Box will set you back a whopping £119, but you can nab a chocolate bar for just £9. Some might say, that’s a fair price for a taste of heaven. You can find Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse in the swish new Coal Drops Yard development near King's Cross.
Where: Unit 15 Bagley Walk Arches, King's Cross, N1C 4DH
Find out more: Le Chocolate Alain Ducasse
What: If you live in the Earlsfield and Wimbledon area, well, lucky old you, because you share a neighbourhood with one of London’s most colourful chocolatiers. DeRosier started in 2012 when husband and wife team Andrew and Leona left their jobs in the city for coffee and chocolate making respectively. Come for gorgeous handmade single origin bars and funky kaleidoscopic chocolate boxes.
Where: 380 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, SW18 4HP; 81 Revelstoke Road, Wimbledon, SW18 5NL
Find out more: DeRosier
What: The Mr. Reliable of chocolate, you can find Lindt in virtually every supermarket and department store in the city, but head over to London Designer Outlet to find an absolute monster Lindt store that has almost every product they make. Be warned, around Easter this store turns into a black hole for children between the ages of 3-29.
Where: London Designer Outlet, Wembley Park, HA9 0FD
Find out more: Lindt
What: If you’re a Swiss sort of guy or girl, no doubt Laderach ranks pretty highly in your chocolate pantheon. This family chocolatier doesn’t have the same history as some of the others - it only started in 1960, but has quickly become one of the world’s favourite chocolate brands with stores all over the globe. Popular for pralines and truffles, as well as their FrischSchoggi nut and chocolate brittle.
Where: 254 Regent Street, Mayfair, W1B 3AA
Find out more: Laderach
What: Dark Sugars on Brick Lane was a lesser-known chocoholic hangout for years, but the word is well and truly out now. In amongst the many street vendors and Bangladeshi curry houses, Dark Sugars sticks out like a sore thumb thanks to its many piles of assorted truffles (start with the original coffee and walnut, and stem ginger and honey). Or head on over the the new four storey flagship store in Greenwich, which is about as close as you’ll get to chocolate heaven in London.
Where: 141 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6SB; 9 Nelson Road, Greenwich, SE10 9JB
Find out more: Dark Sugars
Artisan du Chocolat
What: Artisan du Chocolat makes a big deal about sourcing and conching their own beans, rather than buying in high quality chocolate from the get go. At the very least, you can be assured that the quality of the chocolate here is first rate, and they do a fantastic vegan selection as well - not always an easy thing to find. The salted caramel bonbons were developed for Gordon Ramsay at his eponymous restaurant - if it’s good enough for Gordon, it’s good enough for us.
Where: 89 Lower Sloane Street, Sloane Square, SW1W 8DA
Find out more: Artisan du Chocolat
What: A legend in the world of chocolate, Pierre Hermé was once voted the fourth most influential Frenchman in the world by Vanity Fair. His little Covent Garden store is a veritable treasure trove of goodies, from his famous chocolate bonbons to his even more famous macarons. True chocolate connoisseurs should go for the chocolate tablets.
Where: 38 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9EP
Find out more: Pierre Herme
Charbonnel et Walker
What: An icon of truffles and Anglo-French relations, Charbonnel et Walker started in 1875 when chocolate queens Mrs Walker and Madame Charbonnel joined forces at the Royal Arcade on Old Bond Street. Charbonnel et Walker are in the same shop today - the oldest chocolate shop in London, in fact - and they remain a favourite among royals, celebs and knights of the realm.
Where: 28 The Royal Arcade, Mayfair, W1S 4BT
Find out more: Charbonnel et Walker
What: Chocolatier Isabelle Alaya founded Melange in Peckham in 2008. It has since moved over to a new location in 2016, but it continues to be a neighbourhood favourite, combining artisan chocolate with a cocktail and wine bar. There’s a selection of dark, milk and white chocolates to choose from, featuring interesting combinations like lavender and lemon, cumin and mint, and truffle oil and turmeric respectively. The Melange is also home to one of the best hot chocolates in London, with a recipe that remains a closely guarded secret!
Where: 2 Maxted Road, Peckham, SE15 4LL
Find out more: The Melange
Paul A Young
What: One of London’s most recognisable chocolatiers, Paul A Young is a regular on TV and has a rep for out-of-the-box flavour combinations (his port and blue cheese truffles are surprisingly popular). His handmade chocolate boxes are perfect for more adventurous chocolate fans, including flavours like sourdough, rosemary and sea salt, lemon tart, blackcurrant bellini and marmite truffle. You can find him in Soho or on Islington’s Camden Passage.
Where: 143 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 8WA
Find out more: Paul A Young
What: Notting Hill chocolatiers melt count chefs like Skye Gyngell, Mark Hix and Ruth Rogers among their fans, as well as Reese Witherspoon who drops by whenever she’s in the capital. Melt’s philosophy is simple - buy the best single origin cocoa they can get their hands on, then make everything in house. The results are fantastic, and they make some very tasty vegan chocolates these days too.
Where: 59 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AA
Find out more: Melt London
What: Another of London’s iconic chocolatiers, Prestat was established in 1902 and has been a Royal Warrant chocolatier since 1975 - the truffles were a particular favourite of the Queen Mother and the Queen herself still requests a Prestat easter egg for the family every year. The truffles remain the centrepiece of the shop, but Prestat also do some fantastic single origin bars using cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast.
Where: 14 Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, SW1Y 6DS
Find out more: Prestat
What: Montezumas is one of the more recognisable chocolate brands in the UK today, but it all started from a little chocolate shop in Brighton. These days they do a gargantuan range of buttons, truffles and everything in between, and the colourful chocolate boxes are a thing of beauty - perfect for gifting to a friend or buying as a gift and then just deciding to eat yourself.
Where: 40 Brushfield Street, Liverpool Street, E1 6AG
Find out more: Montezumas
What: King’s Road stalwarts Rococo have been around since the eighties, and they remain the place to go if you’re looking for stylish chocs that look the part. They do some fantastic artisan chocolate bars (we love the 65% chocolate with Lapsang Souchong), as well as boxes and truffles in fun shapes. They’re also pretty accessible with five shops across London.
Where: 321 King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EP
Find out more: Rococo
Said dal 1923
What: From the outside, Said is easily glossed over as just another bougie Soho cafe, but wait, because you might just have walked past the best hot chocolate in London. There are chocolate galore too (mainly pralines) but the gloopy, glossy hot chocolate is the stuff of dreams. Nutella fans will fall in love with the gianduja hot chocolate too.
Where: 41 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1F 9QL
Find out more: Said dal 1923
What: Pierre Marcolini was named best pastry chef in the world in 2020, so his chocolate creations come with a serious pedigree. Maison Marcolini takes chocolate very seriously, controlling the entire process from bean-to-bar so you have a wide array of choice, from gift boxes to single origin tablets from all over the world.
Where: 37 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 4QE
Find out more: Marcolini
What: With a litany of awards behind him, Scottish master patissier William Curley is one of the great sweetmakers of his generation. Once upon a time you could only taste his creations by going to his restaurant - now you can buy everything from chocolate bars to couture chocolate boxes at his two stores in Soho and Harrods.
Where: 33 Smiths Court, Soho, W1D 7DP
Find out more: William Curley
What: Another heritage Belgian chocolatier, Godiva started in the kitchen of Pierre Draps in 1926, and by 1968 it was the official chocolatier of the Royal Court of Belgium. Now it has stores all around the world, but, in the European stores at least, all the chocolate is still made in Belgium. Known for pralines and ultra-luxurious truffles.
Where: Clare Market, Holborn, WC2E 8RA
Find out more: Godiva
Have we piqued your sweet tooth? Click on over to our guide to the best cheesecake in London then, or if you’ve still got Easter shopping to do, we’ve done the hard work of 2022’s best Easter eggs, so you don’t have to.