Easter is only a few weeks away, and this is a perfect time to showcase one of my favourite chocolate shops: Cocoa Bijoux in West Hampstead. This stylish jewel box of a shop stocks all manner of gourmet goodies, and although there’s a strong focus on chocolate, you’ll find plenty of other edible delights in store. Our photographer Helena visited Cocoa Bijoux last week to talk to owner Stuart Daniel, and to give you a taster of the treats you can find there.
Stuart has been in the chocolate wholesale business for decades, and while chocolate is clearly his passion, he had no grand plan to open his own shop. Instead, the idea to open Cocoa Bijoux came as a flash of inspiration while dining across the road: Daniel spotted an empty shop next to the whisky and cigar shop, and thought a chocolate boutique would make the perfect neighbour. A few months later, Cocoa Bijoux had materialised much to the delight of locals.
Cocoa Bijoux stocks products from all over the world, from handmade truffles by London-based chocolatiers, to products from France and the Italian and Greek countryside, to South Africa and beyond. Stuart selects products which are artisanal, luxurious, often unusual, and always delicious…and usually featuring packaging which is just as delectable, thus making for perfect gifts. Stuart’s eye for the stylish extends to the shop itself, which features a vintage 1950s bar and French antique fixtures. For Easter, Stuart is running a competition where visitors can win an enormous dark chocolate egg – it weighs three kilos (!) and is entirely handmade! Surely, that alone is incentive to drop by.
Cocoa Bijoux prides iteself on serving real hot chocolate, which is hand-crafted and lusciously thick and decadent. The Chocolate Club will be hosting one of its ‘Chocolate Walks’ at Cocoa Bijoux on March 26th. the event includes free hot chocolate. You can sign up event here.
Below are a few of our top product picks, as well as Stuart’s recommendations. They include salted caramel milk chocolate from France, and Italian dark chocolate flavoured with Absinthe or chilli.
Above: Truffles made by various chocolatiers. Flavours include kir royal, champagne, pomegranate praline and licorice truffles, macadamia creams, cappucino cups, and rose, violet and lime creams.
Below: Some of Stuart’s favourites, including pistachio spread (look at that colour!), chocolate-covered fruit, nuts and herbs, and handmade honey and fruit blends from Sardinia, Italy. (The honey and hazelnut variety was absolutely delicious.)
Finally: a photograph of Stuart’s iPhone case, which tells you everything you need to know!
Cocoa Bijoux is just around the corner from West Hampstead Underground Station so if you find yourself in NW6, make sure to drop by! Stuart has all the things you need to become a perfect Easter Bunny this year.