Chocolate is good for your health and your soul: it’s official.
Broccoli, beetroot, flaxseeds and cocoa: all superfoods, we’re told. But which one makes your heart smile most or gets you salivating? And, no, the concept of choc as good for you doesn’t include that lame-ass bar of Dairy Milk from the newsagents – we’re talking about a far more refined cocoa experience, in particular, an excursion to the wonderful world of Artisan du Chocolat.
Remember when vodka and cranberry juice was still exotic? (If you don’t you must have been in nappies in the Nineties.) Or when a sandwich made with ciabatta was terribly urbane? (This was probably only cutting edge back when George Michael was still considered a ladies man.) If as well as being a chocoholic, you’re a slave to seeking out the unusual, and common-or-garden simply won’t cut it, brace your tastebuds for a bite of Artisan du Chocolat’s delights.
Thanks to Gerard Coleman’s confectionary alchemy, there are flavours which you’ll never have heard of before – and let’s face it, novelty these days is a novelty. We don’t mean weird for the sake of it: these are ambitious and delicious… lumi (sun-dried lime), tonka beans, tobacco, cardamom are some of the ingredients that feature in this sweet boutique’s elegant truffles and candies. My personal favourites? Their chocolate salty balls: not just a pretty taste, these salted caramels (pictured, left) even come in cute cosmetic-style jars making them the perfect gift (send, gift-wrapped, for about £16).
Chocolate-coated café culture… Sure you can order such mouthwatering treats online, but why feed your habit behind closed doors? We’re giddy with excitement about their sleek new café (above and right) on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. As featured on our London destination guide, this cute chocolateria is also a pitstop for cocoa cocktails and more. Other outposts can be found in Chelsea, Borough Market and Selfridges.
And if we’ve whet your appetite for enjoying them in the surrounds of a hip hotel, we’re thrilled to reveal that No 5 Maddox Street gives them to guests as a gift. The perfect in-room aphrodisiac, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Style Fit-for-a-filmstar pieds-à-terre Setting Mayfair’s Maddox Street
These exclusive hi-tech-enhanced apartments have the West End and Soho on their doorstep, yet without a peep from its hustle and bustle. They have a soothing beige colour palette enhanced with bamboo, lacquered wood and leather trims, as well as state-of-the-art audio-visuals. Other soul-uplifters include faux chinchilla chocolate-brown throws, iconic black and white photography and tempting L’Artisan du Chocolat treats. If the way to your heart is through your stomach, the user-friendly, food-stocked kitchens at No 5 Maddox Street and the abundance of restaurant delivery services will have you smitten. Meanwhile, complimentary membership to a gym on Kingly Street should keep you in shape.
Rates One-bedroom Executive Suites start at £245 a night excluding VAT, two-bedroom suites from £495, and the three-bedroom Bartlett Suite from £750. To book, ring the Smith travel team on 0845 034 0700.