Did you know that this week is National Chocolate Week? It came as a bit of a surprise to me, but was thrilled to be invited to a chocolate tasting last night to celebrate, with Bertil Akesson at Alexeeva & Jones – a shop which stocks 23 of the world’s best, luxury handmade chocolate brands – a ‘salon du chocolate,’ if you will.
Lou and I arrived and it immediately felt like Christmas. I don’t know how else to explain it.. lots of chocolate loving people had crowded into the cosy little shop on Westbourne Grove, were huddled over the chocolate laden counter and drinking shots of delicious hot chocolate, while the stars were starting to appear in the sky outside…
Bertil Akesson, founder of Akessons, spoke about his experiences as a ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate producer and explained his philosophy, which is to produce ‘the most tasteful, authentic and ethical products or carefully source them from some of the best farms around the world’.
Bertil has recently moved to London, after living in Madagascar and is busy spreading the gospel about his chocolate. He explained how he chooses the varieties of cocoa used in each bar and pairs them with ingredients from the same plantations…
The chocolate we tasted was of impeccable quality and with incredibly intense flavours – the 100% cocao bar was a bit too full on for me, but I loved the one with pepper… although it did make me sneeze. (Pepper always makes me sneeze. So do Polos.)
The talk was really fascinating and I felt rather privileged to be listening to someone so passionate about his chocolate, and who was so clearly delighted to have found this special shop to stock them in London.
Alexeeva & Jones is the perfect place to pick up a special little (or large) gift for someone who has a sweet tooth… it really is the real deal. And the fact that you can sit and drink the-best-hot-chocolate-I’ve-ever-tasted in their café at the back, means you may see me in there a bit more than you might expect.
It’s my new hangout.
Alexeeva & Jones
297 Westbourne Grove
Notting Hill, London