Where To Find London’s Best Hot Chocolate

Yeah, sure, coffee is all well and good but how does sipping on a cup of molten chocolate sound? These are the best places for hot chocolate in London.
KNOOPS
The hot choccie at Knoops is a great way to warm yourself with something sweet.

“Hot chocolate is for babies,” has long been an opinion that I’ve held deep in the recesses of my heart and one that I tend to espouse rather violently about around winter time after I’d had one too many glasses of mulled wine. It’s also an opinion that is, by and large, wrong. Some hot chocolates can contain single-origin cacao beans and be just as meticulously considered as coffee.

Yes, hot chocolate is an excellent treat for children that have worked hard all year to be scrawled on Santa’s nice list but a good hot chocolate (made with proper chocolate and served at a temperature that is hot but not scalding) can be just as pleasing for adults. And it should be taken seriously. I’ve also always been of the belief that a milkshake is pretty much the most perfect drink in existence so it’s probably about time I stopped being so snarky about what is ostensibly a hot milkshake.

I’ve come around to hot chocolate in the last couple of months and I’ve been able to put aside my prejudices to see the drink for what it really is: comfort in a mug. Warming and sweet, a hot chocolate is the closest thing to a kiss you can get. These are the places that do the best hot chocolate in London – the spots that even a Grinch like myself wouldn’t be able to turn down the kitsch of some whipped cream and a couple of mini marshmallows.

The Nook

The Nook is the kind of place that’ll have you humming the theme song to The Suite of Zack & Cody the instant you walk through the door. The ice creams and milkshakes here are dairy delights but this guide is all about the best hot chocolate in London. Which The Nook has got a fairly strong claim to having. The Nook crafts their hot choccies by melting down the finest Belgian chocolate with steamed milk to create a sweet and silky drink. They also offer six different chocolate strengths to choose from spanning from 28% white chocolate to 80% dark. The sweet spot for me personally is the 43% milk chocolate – it delivers exactly what you want from a rich and comforting hot chocolate, and then some.

43 S End Road, NW3 2PY

Kapihan

As a venture that seeks to celebrate Filipino coffee and café culture, Kapihan has done an excellent job at what makes the food scene in the Philippines so thrilling. Sitting alongside traditional bakes and pandesal sandwiches is Kapoham’s indulgent drinking chocolate. You can choose between the 85& Malagos sourced from Davao or the 75% Land that comes from South Cotabato. Both are unique serves that highlight the fruity, nutty complexity which really good hot chocolate should possess. The best (and most interesting) hot chocolate in London.

13A Parkgate Road, SW11 4NL

Cartografie Chocolate

The folks at Cartografie Chocolate refer to themselves as “cartographers of taste” who “map exquisite chocolate stories for a truly transportive experience”. No, I’m not sure what that means either but they make a mean hot chocolate. Possibly the best hot chocolate in London. Available in six varieties using both single-origin cacao beans and signature in-house blended chocolate, Cartografie’s hot chocolate is rich, thick, and all kinds of unctuous. The single-origin hot choccies aim to celebrate the cocoa varietals grown in some of the planet’s most beautiful places. One of them even comes from the Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania where local farmers have begun to grow Trinitario beans in organic cacao gardens. Neat, huh?

39 Lyell Street,, Leamouth Peninsula, E14 0SZ

Knoops

From 28% white chocolate up to 100% dark chocolate, Knoops lets you choose exactly how chocolatey you want your hot chocolate to be. There’s no one size fits all model here but all of the hot chocolate at Knoops is worthy of being crowned the best hot chocolate in London due to the care that’s put into every cup. You can opt for a bitter single origin from Peru or a classic creamy cocoa blend, the choice is up to you. You can even get handmade marshmallows thrown on top if you’re feeling extra extra.

80 Kensington High Street, W8 4SG

Said Dal 1923

Mild chocolate, dark chocolate, and gianduia (hazelnut) are your three options at Said Dal 1923 in Soho. These chocolate experts use a very old family recipe to create their thick and decadent chocolate drinks – the sort of hot chocolate that you need a spoon to consume, more akin to the insides of a chocolate fondant than a glass of Nesquik. It’s that richness that makes this such a unique hot chocolate. It’s not something you can easily sip and not something you should really be consuming more than once a week but – if you’re an ardent chocoholic excited by the idea of drinking an entire bar of high qual choc in one sitting – then this is where you should go.

29 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JG

Intermission Coffee

Intermission Coffee is one of the best coffee shops in London; however, unsatisfied with cornering the caffeinated hot drinks market they’re also responsible for churning out some of the city’s best hot chocolate. Coming in at under £3 it’s one of the cheaper treats on this list but that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious. Don’t forget to get a photo of their graphic illustrated cups on your ‘gram.

Unit 2 The Hardy Building, Heritage Lane, NW6 2BR

Dark Sugars

The hot chocolate at Dark Sugars is pretty much the pinnacle when it comes to OTT versions of the drink. With a range of different flavours available (the hazelnut praline is my personal fave), Dark Sugars offers a hot chocolate experience that’s just as much about the theatre of ordering it and the feeling of everyone gawping at you in envy when you walk out of the shop as anything else. Topped with a load of white, milk, and dark chocolate strands that resembles some sort of dairy porcupine, what you get is a hot chocolate that keeps on giving as those solid strands eventually start to melt into your drink and add yet another layer of indulgence. The best hot chocolate in London? Yeah, probably.

141 Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, E1 6SB

Chin Chin Labs

The mad flavour scientists at Chin Chin Labs might primarily be ice cream boffins (and make some of the best ice cream in London) but the Camden dessert parlour’s signature hot chocolate is rightfully the stuff of legend. Topped with torched marshmallow fluff, this hot chocolate both looks the business and requires a bit of work to get stuck into. The best approach is to attack that molten mallow with a spoon before swirling it into the rich liquid beneath. A very good hot chocolate that has a cheeky campfire s’mores appeal.

49-50 Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF

Rococo

First thing first, Rococo doesn’t sell hot chocolate. No, darling: they sell “cocoa-rich organic drinking chocolate”. Okay, yes, it’s basically just posh hot chocolate but if you’re drinking something that’s basically a liquified bar of chocolate you should probably make sure that bar is of the best quality available. Made from shavings of Rococo’s signature dark chocolate and jazzed up with high-quality cocoa powder, this luxury hot chocolate is evidence that more really can be more.

38 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LH

Paul A Young

Paul A Young is a chocolatier who knows his stuff and his eponymous chocolate shop in Camden is a fine place to find yourself hankering for hot chocolate. The hot chocolate here is admittedly on the slightly steeper side, but you get what you pay for in terms of quality. This is the sort of hot chocolate that drinks like a lullaby and is capable of dragging you into a pleasant afternoon nap.

33 Camden Passage, N1 8EA

Perky Blenders

Head on down to any of the Perky Blenders kiosks across London and you can get yourself something that I like to call the “hot liquid speedball”. That warming energy booster consists of throwing a shot of double espresso into your cup of Mörk hot chocolate to create a wondrous medley of sugar and caffeine that’ll have you bouncing off walls for the rest of the day.

Various locations

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