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, sauce, sprinkles, 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 bad day. Know any that we've missed? Do your civic duty and let us know in the comments.
The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason
You customise your hot chocolate as you see fit at Fortnum & Mason. 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 marshmallow? Sure. Florentine and caramelised popcorn? Why not. The Parlour's even hopped on board with the current ruby chocolate trend, offering it in warm, liquid form. They offer the same build-your-own system for sundaes in summer, too.
The Parlour, Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly.
Dark Sugars Hot Chocolate
Is it a haystack? A piece of abstract art? You'd be forgiven for not recognising this one as a hot chocolate at all, but that's exactly what it is — topped off with chocolate shavings, which look dangerous but actually slide down the gullet 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 Cocoa House, 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 its signature chocolates are an indulgence in themselves. Think piles of gooey torched marshmallow, and frothy cream on top of steaming hot chocolate. Trust us: things are going to get messy.
Chin Chin Ice Cream, branches in Camden and Soho.
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, Hotel Chocolat's hot choc is all about the chocolate. Other flavours available include mint, hazelnut, and salted caramel.
Hotel Chocolat Cafe, branches in Euston, Covent Garden, Moorgate, Islington 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 using Belgian melted chocolate buttons and hot milk, topped off with a mountain of whipped cream, and served with a shot of chocolate 'petals'. Chocolate runs down the glass, and things get sticky. Well worth the trip.
Candy Floss Crêperie, 315 Romford Rd, E7 9HA.
Candy floss hot chocolate at The Knot Churros, South Kensington
If you're at all familiar with The Knot Churros, it'll come as no surprise to find it on this list. For those not in the know, it's a small side street cafe punching way above its weight in terms of Instagrammable desserts — churros, pretzels and bagels topped off with chocolate bars, biscuits, glazes and glitter. Basically, it's as extravagant as you can get. As for the hot chocolate, the Candy Floss Hot Chocolate is just that — a cup of hot chocolate topped off with a huge puff of candy floss.
The Knot Churros, 13 Bute Street, Kensington, SW7 3EY.
S'mores Hot Chocolate at El&n
El&n, the ubiquitous Instagrammable cafe which is, quite literally, painting the town pink, has a decadent approach to everything, hot chocolate included. The S'mores Hot Chocolate is served as the hot chocolate base of your choice (dark/milk/white/Nutella), and topped off with whipped cream, a Nutella rim, Biscoff crumbs, torched marshmallow and a molten chocolate dome. If that's a bit much, the Turkish Delight Hot Chocolate is a gentler alternative — a rose flavoured white hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, and served with two Turkish delights.
El&n, various London locations including Park Lane, Selfridges and Carnaby Street.
Where have we missed? Let us know in the comments.