Choccywoccydoodah, off Carnaby Street

BrownieHow many of you will be giving or given chocolate this Valentine’s Day? It’s a pretty standard gift that ensures that February 14th is sickly sweet in more ways than one. Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate, of course. Just why not give your special someone a little bit more of an imaginative, full-on chocolate experience? You know, a bit of a cocoa thingamabob? Or a sugary whatsit?  Or maybe, some… Choccywoccydoodah?

Yes, Choccywoccydoodah does exist and it will excite even the most chocolate-apathetic among us. Hailing from Brighton, they have now set up a shop and café just off London’s Carnaby Street.

Bunny girl bath
Imagine what would happen if Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory got it on with a fine lady’s boudoir. You get extravagance, flamboyance, weirdness and wackiness all rolled into one. In fact, entering Choccywoccydoodah for the first time will visually overwhelm you. There is too much to take in – it’s an Aladdin’s Cave of all things yummy.

Cartoonish models of bunny girls are interspersed with giant marshmallow lollies, strawberry chocolates, hearts and flowers. It’s so over-the-top and playful that I defy you not to grin and squeal, and start examining all the treasures.

Mantlepiece
Up the stairs, you will find a small café split on two levels. The centrepiece is a table covered with cakes that are just as extravagant as the décor. At Choccywoccydoodah, the request of ‘just a small slice, please’ is seriously frowned upon. At Choccywoccydoodah, size is everything.

Now that you’ve impressed your loved one with such opulent and ogle-worthy offerings, take a table and order the hot chocolate (£3.50). This is one of London’s best – you can choose from milk, dark or white and it comes with marshmallows, plenty of cream and a chocolate straw. Also on the menu are milkshakes, chocolate fondue and the dangerously sumptuous Choccywoccydoodah sundae.

Hello hot chocolate
There is enough here for your love affair to weather several repeat visit – and it may also be a teeny-weeny bit addictive. A word of caution: the café does get busy so allow yourself plenty of time as you may have to queue. Just remember that all good and pleasurable things are worth waiting for.

So if you really want to impress your loved one for Valentine’s Day, off you trot to Carnaby Street. Choccywoccydoodah will give you all the choccy woccy you need… please save the doodah for later 😉

Website: https://www.choccywoccydoodah.com/
Where: 30-32 Fouberts Place, off Carnaby St, London,W1F 7PS
When: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm; Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Article originally published on Tryum.com, which you check out for loads more London food news.

 

Semla Season – A Quick Trip to Bageriet, Covent Garden

Sweet treats

Sweet treats

I’ve decided to do something rather mad. I’ve decided to have a sugar-free February. The reasons for this are two-fold and I won’t elaborate on them here. Instead, I’ll cut to the important part – the part about what any dessert-loving person might do when faced with a sugarless February: eat a shed-load of sugary desserts.

As it so happens, it’s semla season. For those of you who have never heard of a semla or semlor, they’re a cardamom-spiced bun with the top sliced off, filled with an almond paste and whipped cream, and they’re eaten across Scandinavia for Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras. Last year, I went on an epic hunt for semlor across London and tried three different semlor.

Semla

Semla

Daniel Karlsson, pastry chef of one of the semla I sampled previously, has since set up a tiny, quaint Swedish bakery/café in Covent Garden called Bageriet (you can read about my previous visit here). I took a trip with a friend who had never tried a semla and was desperate to get their Scandinavian/Swedish sugar fix.

Now being a tiny specialist bakery, this isn’t the cheapest dessert rampage in the world, but we’re oh-so-cultured, so we ordered our semlor at over £4 each. I got mine with cinnamon milk, which is apparently the traditional way to eat semlor. Personally, I found it was a little thin and that it detracted from the bun, but I quite enjoyed drinking it separately.

Semla with cinnamon milk

Semla with cinnamon milk

The semlor themselves are CREAMY. Be warned. But the texture of the bun is beautifully light and the almond paste is fantastic.

Not content with just cakes, we got the home-made hot chocolate. This was way too mild for me on the chocolate front, but my partner-in-sugar-munching was delighted with its gentle spiciness. It certainly warmed us up on a cold day.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate

As for the sugar-free February, the following day was the February 1st and my resolutions fell epically flat. I went to a friend’s birthday meal at Wagamama, where out of their excessively long menu, there was NOTHING that didn’t contain sugar. I was offered raw vegetables without dressing, declined and ordered whatever. On Monday we begin again, I vowed.

To be continued…

Bageriet

Website: http://www.bageriet.co.uk/
Where: 
24 Rose Street, WC2E 9EA
When: Monday – Friday 9am-7pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday – closed.

Some more Swedish treats…

009

008

007

Review: Zaza Gelato Westfield

It was the last one and a little broken. But it was sooo good!

It was the last one and a little broken. But it was sooo good!

Just a quick post for today. I’d bought a Groupon voucher for Zaza Gelato as it offered cake, ice-cream and a hot drink for a bargain of £4.

Unfortunately, the “bargain” was somewhat marred by the fact that it was probably one of the worst ice-creams I’ve ever tried. I think I had stracciatella. I can’t quite remember because the gelato had actually no flavour. It was nothing more than cold sweetness. Mushy, sickly slush.

We were recommended the chocolate chai. Which was wonderful – if you like drinking hot watery milk. Eugh.

However, I can’t even begin to describe how intensely chocolatey and gooey this cake was. So if you’re in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, pick up one of these for a chocolate kick to get you through your shopping 😉

Zaza Gelato

Where: Canada Place, Portobello Road, Westfield London
Website: http://www.zazagelato.eu/en/gelaterie.html

More stores opening soon according to their website.

Review: Outsider Tart

Outsider Tart

A couple of weeks back, I once again joined forces with the friendly chocolate meet-up group, Chocolate Walks, to venture across London to Chiswick. The object of our quest: Outsider Tart, self-described as “an authentic American bake shop and cafe which is devoted to all things sweet and yummy.”

Well, that definitely seems worth a visit, right?

Outsider Tart have done wonders with the outside of their café – a red and black striped canopy conjures nostalgic memories of sweet shops and a funky script gleefully spells out its name. The whole shop front screams, “Hello! Inside you’ll have lots of fun! Lots of yummy, scrummy things await you!”

We settled around a long wooden table with thick wooden benches and divided up some brownies of all kinds of flavours imaginable. A favourite was this delighfully gooey Snickers Brownie that balanced the caramel sweetness with a healthy spattering of nuts.

Snickers Brownie

Snickers Brownie

I tucked into a Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie, which is quite possibly as lethal as it sounds but oh-so-deliciously good.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie

All the brownies are incredibly dense and rich so sharing is strongly advised. It also means you get to sample more flavours. Win-win.

Where and when:

Shop and café
83 Chiswick High Road
London W4 2EF
Daily 8am – 6pm

Market stall
Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre
Friday 11am – 8pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm – 6pm

Website: http://www.outsidertart.com/

Inside the café...

Inside the café…

Inside the café...

Inside the café…

Divine Chocolate – Covent Garden Pop-Up

Divine Pop-up

In case it’s somehow passed you by, it’s Fairtrade Fortnight  to promote fair wages for farmers and producers in developing countries. In honour of this awareness week, Divine Chocolate is holding a pop-up shop in Covent Garden.

Peeking through the window...

Peeking through the window…

As well as a range of tantalising chocolates, there’s a photo exhibition of Kuapa Kokoo, Ghanian cocoa farmers who own 45% of Divine, and thus influence how the company is run and share in the profits.

I went along to have a sneaky peek and, of course, to sample some chocolate! Divine have just released Milk Chocolate Toffee and Salt, which is proving incredibly popular. Personally, I find a little too sweet and can’t quite rival my affection for Lindt’s Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt.

However , Divine do a wonderful job with the flavours in their new Dark Chocolate Chilli and Orange. Neither flavour is too strong and the chocolate is smooth and rich. This could be my new favourite.

Chilli and Orange

Chilli and Orange

Also worth sampling is their Butterscotch Milk Chocolate, which is quite frankly addictive.

Butterscotch

Mmm

Mmm

The pop-up is only there until March 9th, so hurry to 71 Monmouth Street, eat chocolate and support fair trade.

How cute are these? Bet they taste good too ;-)

How cute are these? Bet they taste good too 😉