Some days, a hot chocolate is adequate for warming your hands and whetting your whistle. Other days call for a Hot Chocolate, capital 'H', capital 'C', all guns blazing, all weapons deployed. We're talking, cream, marshmallows, the works. Here are some of the fanciest, most luxurious and decadent hot chocolates we've found in London, for when you're having a really bad day. Know any that we're missed? Do your civic duty and let us know in the comments.
The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason
The Parlour doesn't just have a a hot chocolate menu. Oh no. What it has is a 'Hot Chocolate Bar', which walks you through compiling your drink step by step. Start with a milk or dark base, and whipped cream and chocolate shavings, then add your own combination of biscuit, nut, sweet and sauce toppings. Shortbread and raspberry? Sure. Vanilla and honeycomb? Why not. The Parlour's even hopped on board with the current ruby chocolate trend, offering it in warm, liquid form.
The Parlour, Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly.
Cereal Killer Cafe's Stacked Hot Chocolate
A quick glance at the Cereal Killer Cafe's photos confirms that the duo behind it don't do things by halves, a philosophy which definitely extends to their Stacked Hot Chocolate. You'll have to believe us when we tell you there's a glass under there somewhere - oodles of cream comes as standard and you'll be a long way through the topping of your choice (chocolate/peanut butter/salted caramel) before it reveals itself.
Cereal Killer Cafe, Brick Lane/Camden Market.
Dark Sugars Hot Chocolate
You'd be forgiven for not recognising this one as a hot chocolate at all; it is a haystack? A piece of abstract art? What it is is a deliciously rich hot chocolate topped off with chocolate shavings, which look dangerous but actually slide down wonderfully. Don't hang around for too long though, lest your shavings melt into the drink (unless that's the effect you're going for). Chocolate stacked on chocolate; what's not to like?
Dark Sugars, Brick Lane.
Chin Chin Ice Cream's Killer Hot Chocolate
Chin Chin Labs may be better known for its high-tech nitro ice-cream, but the Killer Hot Chocolates are an indulgence in themselves. Think piles of gooey torched marshmallow, and frothy cream on top of steaming hot chocolate. Trust us — things could get sticky. A vegan version is available too, with notes of apricot and raspberry.
Chin Chin Ice Cream, branches in Camden, Soho and Shoreditch (Dinerama).
Hotel Chocolat Cafe's Classic Hot Chocolate
It sounds basic, and it is compared to some of the offerings on this list — there aren't even any marshmallows, for goodness sake! But the drink itself is made with shaved chocolate, and it's topped off with chocolate whipped cream (which makes a change from the usual white cream mountains) and sprinkled with chocolate flakes. Basically, it's all about the chocolate. Other flavours available include mint, vanilla, and salted caramel.
Hotel Chocolat Cafe, branches in Stratford, Angel, Euston, Covent Garden and Brent Cross, among others.
Ultimate Hot Chocolate at Candy Floss Crêperie, Forest Gate
Having seen the outlandish milkshakes and desserts served at Candy Floss Crêperie, we're not at all surprised to find that the hot chocolate game is strong here too.
Order yourself an Ultimate Hot Chocolate. It's made with melted chocolate buttons and hot milk, and topped off with a mountain of cream and sprinkles. Chocolate runs down the glass, and things get sticky. Well worth the trip.
Candy Floss Crêperie, 315 Romford Rd, E7 9HA.
Where have we missed? Let us know in the comments.