Artisan du Chocolat Review
It’s every girls dream, right? To be invited to a chocolateria in the heart of trendy Notting Hill to try a selection of chocolate inspired cocktails and all the chocolate we could cram into our greedy mouths (when they sent the invitation, they obviously didn’t anticipate my arrival – I’m a self-confessed chocolate addict). When the invite flopped into my inbox, I almost yelped. The sentiment has never been truer – forget diamonds, chocolate really is a girl’s best friend.
We had already walked past Artisan Du Chocolat’s Notting Hill shop before we realised that the minimalist futuristic space we’d overlooked five minutes before was indeed the place we were meant to be visiting. It was a far cry from the Willy Wonka playground that I had imagined when I heard the word ‘chocolateria’.
To be quite honest, when I thought about visiting a chocolateria I imagined there would be bright colourful lights and grubby toddler faces, messy chocolate stained mats and huge vats of chocolate bubbling away. What I actually experienced at Artisan Du Chocolat was lacquered white surfaces and neon orange walls, cylindrical seats and a clinical cleanness one would never normally associate with a chocolate shop. Glass cabinets lined one wall, with carefully stacked piles of chocolates on display, reminiscent of museum display cabinets. Dominating the centre of the reasonably small shop was an upside down bowl shaped canopy that was painted on the inside with a photograph of a cacao plantation. Piped rainforest music played quietly over the speakers and contraptions mixing melted chocolate whirred away without interfering with our conversation.
This was definitely not a place for children – and thank goodness with their extensive chocolate inspired cocktail list.
When I first read that we would be sampling chocolate cocktails, I was a little apprehensive. Now, chocolate I can do – I have mastered the art of demolishing a box of chocolates in one go; always leaving the coffee one, partly for guilt reasons, partly because I find it foul - but the thought of chocolate cocktails made me feel slightly queasy. I’m not a huge fan of thick creamy spirits like Baileys, and I avoid the Espresso Martini’s in cocktail bars in favour of fruitier, refreshing drinks. All the better to wash the chocolate down with, I say.
However, thankfully, there were plenty of refreshing cocktails on the list with only the slightest hint of chocolate, including my favourite, white chocolate and matcha New Orleans Fizz – inspired by the Ramos Fizz created in New Orleans – a green tea matcha combined with chilled white chocolate, gin, lemon juice and egg white, and shaken into a frenzy. Superbly refreshing. There was also the Theobroma cacao pulp Bellini, made out of lychee, apple, Prosecco and Theobroma cacao pulp juice – another intensely refreshing chocolate inspired cocktail. And this, I believe, is where the trick to Artisan Du Chocolat’s cocktails lies – the cocktails are inspired by, but not always inclusive of, creamy chocolate in its melted form. The Theobroma Grandiflorum pulp juice is made from the pulp of Brazilian fruits that are related to the cocoa pods – the juice alone was lovely and fresh.
However, we didn’t just visit Artisan Du Chocolat for the cocktails – oh no. We were also lucky enough to be treated to a wide selection of chocolates and some of their famed salted caramel ice cream which was simply divine – slightly salty with chunks of chocolate and a pot of hot melted chocolate next to it to dribble over. There were chocolate discs of various flavours and double chocolate ice cream, fruit to drip into pots of melted chocolate and a glorious fondue, along with the salted caramels synonymous with Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges restaurant (in flavours as wild as Szechuan pepper and lemongrass).
But there was one chocolate in particular I had heard about and was curious to try – the famous tobacco flavoured chocolate, originally designed for Heston Blumenthal and only available on request. Well, I requested. It wasn’t as awful as I imagined it would be. In actual fact it was quite pleasant, tasting strongly of vanilla and caramel. It was only when it left a burn in the back of my throat did I think of tobacco.
Artisan Du Chocolat is a great place to visit if you’re after something a little special and different. I’m already planning on visiting again – this time with all my girlfriends, and on pay day. Forget the diet and treat yourself. ...read more
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- Cuisine Type: Bar
- Group: (Independent/Freehouse)
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