Chocoholic in the city
16 October 2013
"Naturally you’re spoilt for choice; will you opt for a selection of their handmade chocolate and truffles; a creamy hot chocolate or a fluffy dark chocolate milkshake?"
In our second installment of celebrations for National Chocolate Week , we send local blogger Shonette Laffy in search of the devilishly delicious chocolate-themed treats available in Bath and Bristol. Ignore the calories and follow her trail: you won't regret it.
The Chocoholic’s Guide to Bath
Charlotte Brunswick - 3 Church Street
The newest and quirkiest chocolatier to grace central Bath (the shop opened only two months ago), Charlotte Brunswick stocks high-end chocolate from the UK and Europe, including limited-edition ranges from famous chocolate producers such as William Curley and Amelia Rope. The shop itself has a simple but elegant décor, allowing the produce to do the talking. Varieties of colourful chocolates are piled high; each chocolate is accompanied by a short story explaining its origin and back story, which is nicely tied in with the local history. Alongside familiar favourites they also stock vegetarian, vegan and sugar-free options. You’ll struggle to choose between decadent offerings such as white chocolate with rhubarb, or salted peanut and dark chocolate.
The Bertinet Bakery , 12 St. Andrews Terrace
Although famous for its croissants and tarts, The Bertinet Bakery also has a secret weapon up their sleeve in the form of their chocolate brownie with a gooey salted caramel centre; it’s beyond heavenly. Though you’d still be hard-pressed to pick a favourite between that and their chocolate and almond croissant.
Chapel Arts Café , Lower Borough Walls
Nestled away in the basement of the Chapel Arts venue, this café is a hidden gem of the city. They do a fine line in flatbreads and cakes, but the star of the show is their huge Matilda chocolate cake – indulge your inner Bruce Bogtrotter and have a slice!
Society Café , Kingsmead Square
As the days turn darker and chillier, what better way to warm up than with a rich and creamy hot chocolate made from white chocolate? This is the ultimate indulgence in beverage form; snuggle up and tuck in.
Cham Deli , 10a Princes Street
Not just purveyors of sandwiches and salads, the team at this compact deli also serve up some seriously tasty cakes, including their own take on a chocolate fudge cake with cherry cream. Be sure to nab one of their brownies whilst you’re in there too!
The Porter , 15a George Street
Bath’s newest and most audacious restaurant/bar/club offering has got off to a flying start, and its sweet options show why. Their current popular dessert is a salted chocolate and caramel mousse, and they’re treating customers to tasters of Adam of Bath’s chocolate truffles with every bill; bonus chocolate!
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, 2 North Parade
Formerly Demuths, the new team still offer some delectable desserts that, as well as being both vegan and gluten free, don’t scrimp on taste at all. The chocolate mocha pot on their lunchtime menu is a dazzler. Their menus change regularly but there will always be something on offer for the chocoholics!
Sub 13 , 4 Edgar Buildings
What better way to wash down all of these rich treats than with a warming digestif? The talented team at Sub 13 have created the Tletl Xocolatl - derived from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec people, meaning ‘Fire Chocolate’. Compromising Tequila, dark chocolate liqueur, chocolate bitters, Tabasco, chilli flakes and cocoa; garnished with a red chilli. Perfect for a cold evening in their subterranean caverns. Ay caramba!
The Chocoholic’s Guide to Bristol
Bar Chocolat , 19, The Mall
You won’t find many better places to get your chocolate fix than in a chocolate café, and where better to find yourself ensconced in one than in picturesque Clifton Village? Naturally you’re spoilt for choice; will you opt for a selection of their handmade chocolate and truffles; a creamy hot chocolate or a fluffy dark chocolate milkshake? You can indulge guilt-free, knowing that you can walk off your feast exploring the village, Clifton Downs or Leigh Woods on the other side of the nearby suspension bridge.
Guilbert’s , 16-17, Small Street
Providing Bristol with chocolates since 1910, this family business is still continuing the Bristol tradition of fine chocolate that was started by Fry’s Chocolate (producers of the world’s first chocolate bar) in the 1700s. Situated in a beautiful building in the city’s old town, you’ll find plenty of treats that are perfect as gifts or treats for yourself alike.
Handmade chocolates, truffles, lollies and even teacups, this Bristol-based chocolate artisan offers everything you could possibly think of on her website. If you’re not content just ordering nibbles there are also options for chocolate parties and workshops.
Bristol is now chocca (excuse the pun) with fantastic tapas places, but among the best is Bravas on Cotham Hill, which offers the authentic Spanish experience in an intimate and friendly atmosphere. All of the food is fantastic, and the G&Ts are phenomenal, but be sure to leave room for their salted chocolate truffles ; they’re rich and velvety and too good to put to words. Poco on Stokes Croft also take their sweet tapas as seriously as their savoury options. Pop in to try their chocolate pot with clotted cream and caramelised beetroot – perfect autumn flavours.
Café Kino , 108 Stokes Croft
Bristol’s flagship vegan café, but also a hub of the local community and great gig venue; however the Kino clan still do the basics brilliantly. Their cakes change on a regular basis, but try to sample their chocolate muffins, or the chocolate orange cake – both are superb. They also stock Ronak’s chocolate, handmade in Easton!
Sandwich Sandwich , 48 Baldwin Street
With the paint barely drying on the walls following their recent opening, this sandwich shop is already making quite a stir with their fantastic food. They’re not just masters of savoury snacks, however. Their chocolate fudge cake is superb, as are their rocky road slices.
Bristol is awash with some fantastic independent food vendors at the moment, and for that we can thank collectives such as Bristol EATS who have organised numerous fun events and encouraged us to try more street food than ever before. One success is Pizza Monkey, and as well as standard margarita and pepperoni options, they also do sweet pizzas; including a chocolate pizza with creamy mascarpone and Nutella, finished with dark orange chocolate shavings.
A major local success story from the recent boom in independent breweries and ensuing craft beer revolution; the Wild Beer Co are leading the way in experimental and collaborative brewing. In the past they’ve given us beers that were brewed with roasted apricots or passion fruit, and now that the winter is approaching they’ve created ‘Wildebeest’ – a rich stout, brewed with coffee, chocolate and vanilla. At 11% it’s definitely more of a treat or dessert beer, all the better for savouring those flavours. Wild Beer worked with a chocolatier, a coffee roaster and a vanillist (their name for him, we’re not sure it's an official job title) to source the very best ingredients. In fact, Andrew at Wild Beer and his mum scraped out 500 vanilla pods to create this beer for you – so make sure you give it a try! Pick up a bottle or two at Corks of Cotham in Bristol, or Independent Spirit of Bath .
Shonette can be found blogging at lifelessorganised.com