One chilly Sunday morning I visited Daskalidès situated in the heart of Covent Garden. Belgium chocolatier, Daskalidès has over 140 stores showcasing their hand-crafted chocolate across the globe. Just four months ago, they launched their chocolate café at the Long Acre store which can only be described as a hidden gem. Located in the basement, the café is sparingly filled with tables and chairs and a handful of sofas. The menu is simple yet varied, with items ranging from chocolate fondue to all day breakfasts (the bread/cereal kind). In addition, a selection of desserts such as Chocolate Tart can be found in the chilled cabinet. What I love about this place is that you have the option to choose individual chocolates from the extensive selection in the shop upstairs to eat in the café. Large coffees are priced at £2.60 (cheaper than Starbucks!) whilst home-made desserts are just £4.50, exceptional value for money. You can even pick up a breakfast basket containing a selection of breads and pastries for just £3. The atmosphere is quiet, as intended, as this café is a place to get away from it all.David the store manager asked if I would like a drink and recommended their signature hot chocolate which he informed me has been described as the ‘best hot chocolate in London’. The hot chocolate looked more like a work of art than a hot beverage. A drizzle of melted chocolate lined the tall glass containing the chocolate which was topped with both whipped cream and marshmallows. Furthermore, all hot drinks are served with a Speculoos biscuit, which is tradition in Belgium.
The style of the hot chocolate is French which meant it was extremely thick and rich in flavour. Daskalidès very own chocolate drops, especially formulated for cooking and drinking, are the key ingredient. As I chose to have milk hot chocolate, the chocolate was mixed with warm milk once melted to create a deliciously thick creamy liquid. This provided the comfort and warmth I craved after walking to the store in the blistering cold. It was certainly one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had and tasted more like a dessert. The perfect blend of milk and chocolate meant that it wasn’t sickly or bitter like some hot chocolates can be, especially if made with dark chocolate or without milk. However, it was incredibly filling which left me too full to manage my selection of individual chocolates by Daskalidès, which I took home to review instead (watch this space!). I do believe things may have been different without the whipped cream, marshmallows and the fact I scraped all the chocolate from the inside of the glass!
Daskalidès are happy to add cinnamon or chilli to any of their hot chocolates. I supposedly had cinnamon in mine, although I couldn’t taste it, but it didn’t matter as it was perfect as it was. The only thing which let it down was the size of the portion which left me feeling a little too satisfied. It would be great if Daskalidès did half sizes in a smaller glass for those wanting to sample one of their desserts or some of their exceptional chocolate. Nearly two hours later I realised I hadn’t moved from the sofa, partly due to the fact I was so full but partly because I felt so relaxed in the café. I got a little chilly by the end of my visit and if I was there with friends I would have asked them to turn the temperature up. I presume the reason for the slightly less than cosy temperature was to prevent the chocolate from sweating in the heat. I highly recommend Daskalidès café and I was a little hesitant to tell you all about it for fear it will become crowded. However, I am confident it would take an awful lot to ruin the atmosphere and even if the café is full, there’s always the chocolate shop upstairs. Make sure you keep an eye out for my review of Daskalidès’ best individual chocolates which will be published soon……………
Living life, loving cake,