I found Chococo after looking on TripAdvisor for any chocolate shops in Winchester, where we were spending a day shopping just before Christmas and it looked like the place to go, especially for a chocolate lover like myself. Chococo was set up by husband and wife team Andy and Claire Burnet and they have been making hand-made chocolates since 2002 in Swanage, where their first shop was opened, using locally sourced fresh ingredients and no additives or preservatives. Their second shop in the High Street, Winchester was opened in December 2013.
It didn’t take us long to find Chococo shop and café and we popped in to buy some chocolates for this review. We’d already had coffee and cake at Art Café, a sweet little café in Jewry Street just along from Black White Red where we were going to have lunch later.
There were plenty of chocolates to choose from in the ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ cabinet plus brightly coloured boxes and slabs of chocolates on the shelving along the walls, excellent for a gift.
On top of the cabinet was a plate with free chocolates to sample. The one on offer was black garlic which seemed to put most people off trying. Not me. It was a lovely dark chocolate which melted nicely and wasn’t so garlicky that my breath smelt for the rest of the day. I don’t think it did anyway 😉 The garlicky bit was in the bottom half of the chocolate, in the ganache see below
I chose 9 chocolates for £6.25 (£6.25 for 100g). I had them in a plastic bag instead of a box which would have cost a little more and because this wasn’t a gift – only to myself for research purposes only – then it didn’t matter. I found all of the chocolates to taste of what they intended to, all melted nicely plus the chocolate and ganaches were lovely and smooth. My favourite was the Salt Sweet Smoke which had a delicious runny centre.
After we’d eaten lunch at Black White Red we decided to have a look around the Christmas market by the Cathedral, which wasn’t bad actually. Then we headed back to Chococo to have our coffee and a dessert as we weren’t bowled over by BWR and it was far too cold in there anyway.
I noticed just as we were entering the café that some of their cakes are supplied by Little Bee Bakery and I recognised the name from a review we did back in 2013. Melissa O’Dwyer who founded Little Bee Bakery had sent us samples of her cakes which were really nice. So I asked the Chococo staff which cakes were from LBB so I could sample another and see how they fared and if they were still as good.
I went for the Christmas whoopee pie which is two cookie-type cakes stuck together with a butter frosting in the centre, this one tasting of brandy butter. It had a little cinnamon in and perhaps some other spices giving it that nice sort of Christmasy taste. It was nice to recognise something which we’ve reviewed in the past.
Geoff had an Eccles cake which was from LBB too and he said it was very nice.
I greedily chose the DIY hot chocolate instead of a coffee. This came with a large cup over a tea light in which you poured the chocolate pieces (I chose a mixture of dark and milk but there was also white). A small whisk helped to melt the chocolate and once that was done I added the pot of hot milk and kept whisking. On top of all that I added mini marshmallows. It was nice but I felt the chocolate was a little grainy whilst drinking it and made me cough a couple of times. I was fairly certain that I had melted my chocolate properly but perhaps I didn’t. I still enjoyed it though and would definitely have it again.
With our drinks we were each given another chocolate, so I put these (yes, Geoff’s too), plus there was now a different chocolate to sample upon the display cabinet, so I just had to take another to add to my ever increasing collection of chocs which I’d purchased earlier, bringing the grand total to 15!
The staff were all young and friendly. There were a few tables at the end of the cafe and a couple of tables at the front in the window which is where we sat. In Chococo’s original shop in Swanage, they have soup and savoury scones on the menu and hold chocolate parties and workshops in their ‘chocolate kitchen’ opposite the shop. I think a little trip to Swanage may be in order 😉 Take a look at Chococo’s website, they also have a tasting club, plus if you can’t get to either shop you can purchase their chocolates and gifts online. A selection of their seasonal ranges are available from John Lewis, Lakeland and a few other places.
Don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, then it’s Mother’s Day and then Easter (and then my birthday)! Yippee, lots of excuses to eat more chocolate – not that I need any. You can also search our website for more chocolate makers or somewhere to wine and dine.
Ambience – 7
Quality – 7
Service – 8
Value – 7
Returnablitly – oh yes!
Living live, loving cake,