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Sticky Twisty Crunchy Fizzy London! (Part Two)

February 21, 2010

Look kids...Big Ben. Parliament...Pie & Mash

My apologies for not getting around to the second part of our blog post about London’s swinging confectionery scene sooner, but it’s been a crazy couple of weeks, what with Valentine’s Day and all. Anyway, we returned to London after spending a couple of days at the ISM show in Cologne. This time, we were staying in Knightsbridge, conveniently positioned halfway between our two primary destinations: Rococo Chocolates and the famed food halls of Harrods.

Rococo storefront, Kings RoadThe selection of bars and truffles at RococoDelicate and beautiful foil-wrapped treats at RococoVenus Nipples

So let’s start with Rococo. Around for more than 25 years, Rococo is an institution in the world of premium chocolates. They now have three locations, but we opted to visit the original store located on Kings Road in Chelsea, and I’m glad we did. It felt like a first store: intimate, a bit worn, and authentic. The staff there was very friendly and extremely passionate about all of the chocolates. We knew we could only bring back a limited number of bars with us, and I can’t tell you how difficult it was to narrow down the selection — every bar we tasted (and I’m pretty sure we tasted them all) was delicious. We finally settled on five different types of bars, all made with organic chocolate: milk chocolate with sea salt, dark chocolate with chili pepper, dark chocolate with Earl Grey tea (my personal favorite — I can’t understand why every chocolatier out there doesn’t make an Earl Grey truffle), dark chocolate with orange & geranium, and (the unexpected hit) white chocolate with cardamom. This last one is now the only white chocolate bar we carry at the store, and it’s a truly inspired combination. In addition to their bars, we sampled fantastic chocolate wafers, many different types of truffles, and their beautiful edible flower arrangements — sadly, all of these are far too delicate for world travel, so we couldn’t bring those back with us. But do come in and try some of the bars — in addition to being unique, tasty and organic, they are beautifully packaged and make for wonderful gifts. And now, on to Harrods…

Just one of the many food halls at HarrodsSelection of fudge at Harrods Turkish DelightA small sampling of the candy at Harrods

What can I say: the place is insane. Harrods seems to be a bit of a punch line among London locals, and in our experience the shoppers there did seem to be mostly Saudi tourists. Though we were tempted to visit the “Bulletproof Clothing” section on the 7th floor, we ultimately didn’t stray too far from the food halls — and, say what you will about Harrods, the food halls are amazing. The only other places that we’ve seen that compare to it are the great department stores of Tokyo, and in terms of size, at least, Harrods has them beat. If you’re only interested in candy, I think they’ve got a more interesting selection at Fortnum & Mason (see Part One of this blog post) — but for the full spectrum of food items (fish, meat, cheese, tea, pastries, chocolates, prepared foods, etc.) you have got to check out Harrods. We knew we were in for a treat right when we walked through the doors — we had been traveling all day and had not yet eaten dinner, so we asked one of the women working there if there was a restaurant in the store, to which she replied, “Yes, there are several on every floor.” Why can’t they have department stores like this in the states?

That’s it for this post. I will just leave you with two bizarre images. The first is the package of collagen marshmallows we saw on display at Harvey Nichol’s (note that they also had a cocktail on their bar menu called “Drink Yourself Thin” — vodka and methamphetamine, perhaps?) The second photo is a portion (yes, there’s more to it) of the Diana and Dodi memorial, tucked in between the luxury handbags sections at Harrods — on display is the wineglass that the couple shared at the Hotel Ritz on that fateful evening in Paris…

Eat yourself beautiful! The tackiest place on the planet?

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