I went from not having been to the posh St. James’s area of London in almost a year to visiting 2 weekends in a row. I was in the neighbourhood for the Picadilly and Petits-Fours Tour as well as Open House London where some of the city’s architectural gems are opened up for free tours to the public.
Sure, the culture and the architecture was fabulous but what caught my eye was the confectionary! The stores and the confectionary both were so pretty that I thought they could speak for themselves. As you can tell from the rest of my blog, however, I find it hard to remain wordless.
What did I learn from my tour of upscale London sweet shops? Presentation, Presentation, Presentation.
Presentation is Key in Posh London Sweet Shops
Sure, the sweets were delicious but the presentation is what made them stellar.
I absolutely loved this chocolate shoe in a handbag shaped box, artfully called handbag and heels. Somewhat inaccurately because there is only ONE heel. Yes, it’s only one beautiful chocolate high heel – small but delightful. Because let’s face it, you can’t be a bobble-headed society girl and indulge overly on chocolate. Giving a lady two chocolate heels would be de trop.
The Presentation Extends to the Store Displays
How about fudge on crystal plates? Something so standard as fudge suddenly becomes extra special when presented on a platter. With their fast kiddie metabolisms (grrrr), my children gobbled down the fudge. I thought the fudge was pretty good. Frankly, it tasted like lots of other fudge to me and not necessarily worth the price tag.
For Halloween, check out these beautifully ribboned sachets of candy corn. No, your eyes do not deceive you – candy corn goes for £6.50 a bag (that’s about $10). And, they are not even organic!!
For the same price but minus the ribbon, you can get a 5 pound bulk bag of candy corn at Walmart. But hey, Walmart doesn’t have to pay St. James’s real estate rent.
Speaking of packaging, I love these chocolate coffins with white chocolate skull and bones inside. So cool.
These truffles are reputedly the Queen’s favourites chocolates. Just in case you were invited over for dinner and wanted to bring a hostess gift.
The famous French macaron shop, Laduree, has an outpost in Picadilly. The interior is decorated like a gold cave filled with treasures (macarons, naturally). The all-gold interior is fairly dazzling but I did feel like I was in Aladdin’s Cave (or at least a Trump Tower broom cupboard).
If you want the dazzle to go, how about these intricately-wrapped boxes of candy? Sure beats the packaging on a Quality Street tin box or a Fanny Farmer plastic-wrapped box of chocolates.
If my husband brought me one of these luxury boxes home, I’d be highly suspicious that he’d committed a major transgression, like accidentally erase all the episodes of Dance Moms that I’d recorded.
Here’s a gorgeous Strawberry Baumkuchen torte, a layered cake with delicate rings that resemble the growth rings on a tree trunk. I bet the cake is delicious even if some poor trainee pastry-chef has lost her eyesight creating these perfectly symmetrical rings.
Buying Sweets Should Be an Entertaining Experience
I found my mini-shopping spree to be quite entertaining which was presumably to distract me from the low quantity to high cost dynamics at work in the stores.
Prestat, one of the oldest chocolate stores in London, is also big on theatrical effects. Their distinctive hot pink packaging takes the drama to the customer’s home.
I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour of some of London’s posh chocolate shops. What do you think – does chocolate that is expensively wrapped just taste better? Or do you take the attitude that wrapping merely makes it harder to get to the chocolate inside?
Alternatively, what if you want to enjoy your beautifully-presented sweets in less of a candy form? London has you covered. Check out these London dessert places that cover donuts, eclairs, ice-cream etc. I can personally attest to the delights of the desserts from Chin-Chin labs which we tried at Hawker House Street Feasts. That’s independent verification of my good taste for you!