The 2013 Hot Chocolate Awards

The 2013 Hot Chocolate Awards

Win a year’s supply of Hot Chocolate!

We’re on a mission to find Britain’s favourite hot chocolate venue. And we need YOU to help us find a worthy winner.
Simply tell us which café or chocolaterie deserves to win and you could win a year’s supply of hot chocolate. (Our prize winner will be chosen at random from everyone who votes. To keep things fair, we’ll only count 1 vote per person.)

Voting is simple

  1. Leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
  2. Tweet about it and cc us @TheChocFestival (#bestdrinkingchoc)
  3. Leave a comment on our Facebook page The Chocolate Festival

If you run a business that serves amazing hot chocolate, why not ask your customers to nominate and vote for you? Some of our favourite haunts are already scoring high by doing just that!

Stay tuned!

Watch this space or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for a running update on voting. The winning Hot Chocolate Venue will be announced on our website soon. If you’re our winning voter, we’ll email you to tell you the good news. Happy Voting!

To kick of the 2013 Hot Chocolate Awards, Judith Lewis of chocolate blog Mostly About Chocolate tells us about her top hot chocolate picks.

Top Places To Drink Hot Chocolate 

Judith Lewis

In my travels around the world, I have visited a lot of chocolate shops, tried a lot of hot chocolate and I’ve had a lot of mixed experiences. Too many places think that they can fob you off with a cup of powdered hot chocolate mix in a plastic chair. What I look for in a hot chocolate is the whole experience. I want to be able to watch the world go by, discover something new, learn about new things, meet friends for an uninterrupted time or whatever. While the hot chocolate itself is important, so is the ambience.

So when I chose my favourite spots to drink hot chocolate, I didn’t just account for the chocolate itself but the whole experience. There is something special about being served hot chocolate made from real chocolate in a mug while seated in beautiful surroundings that are still accessible to anyone on any budget. I hope that you’ll get the chance to try some of the places on my list at least once.


Soma Chocolate (Distillery District store), Toronto, Canada

I chose Soma first because of the ambience of the shop. The distillery district store has all sorts of machinery behind glass in use on a daily basis. Whether roasting or conching, it is all on display for you. This also happens at their King St. branch, but there they mainly enrobe and at the moment it is livelier at the Distillery District branch. Another amazing part is that you can get a thick shot of wonderful hot chocolate (which I think is dairy-free), or get them to add hot moo juice to it for a weaker and more traditional hot chocolate treat. Seat yourself at one of the tables and watch the tourists go by. The staff are wonderfully passionate, the ambiance is amazing and the chocolate is some of the best in the world, made from bean to bar on the spot.


William Curley Shop, London, UK

I think that this is one of my favourite places in London for a hot chocolate. Not only do they use chopped up and melted Amadei in milk frothed to perfection, but also the ambience is absolutely perfect. The staff are charming and great to chat with, the people who shop there are fun to watch and sometimes fellow patrons turn into friends.

This is a top-notch hot chocolate as well as a fun place to sit and drink it. While not cheap, it is not too expensive and it is just a fun ambiance. I always opt for the dessert bar when I am there on weekends – the perfect accompaniment to a hot chocolate ;-)


La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Paris, France

This is possibly the most expensive hot chocolate I have ever had and yet also the funkiest. We each got a large mug of hot chocolate described as a praline hot chocolate as it had a hint of nuttiness. The hot chocolate came with a frozen, cooling chocolate truffle on a stick that you could either melt in the hot chocolate or eat on its own.

The white interior and Parisian hipsters make this an interesting place to see and be seen. There isn’t too much happening outside the window, but the flow of people through is interesting. The one I experienced had the seating area set behind the shop so it wasn’t as ideally placed as possible but for the sheer indulgence of it, I chose this as one of the top places to have hot chocolate. You’ll never have another one like it!


York Chocolate Story, York, UK

This is just an amazing amount of fun. The hot chocolate comes with all sorts of toppings and cream. The hot chocolate is quite nice though perhaps not on a par with William Curley however you get to sit at a very retro bar if you want, or at booths. You can watch all the people coming in and out of the York Chocolate story and you can also watch the people outside.

There is always so much going on that it’s easy to forget to drink your hot chocolate and instead earwig on people coming out of the experience, watch the people going by or if you choose, just enjoy a good book.


Tcho, San Francisco, USA – This has to be one of the coolest places to have a hot chocolate. Not only are you surrounded by the most AMAZING huge machinery and can go on a tour, but all the staff are utterly geeky about chocolate. You can have a long conversation about the merits of the soil conditions in Ecuador, blending or just grab your hot chocolate and watch all the other chocolate lovers go through the space. The environment is amazing and so incredible that it just makes having a hot chocolate made from some of the best chocolate in the world that much more special. Both the high quality of the chocolate in a hot chocolate plus the environment is what makes this a top choice for me.


So those are my picks, but what are your favourite places?

34 Comments to The 2013 Hot Chocolate Awards

  1. Harshita Gupta

    I have tried various hot chocolates in London and according to me the authentic hot chocolate is served by Scoop’s parlour in Soho. I have tried here couple of times and it serves the best authentic hot drinks according to me. Its address is : Scoop, 53 Brewer Street, W1F 9UJ London.

  2. Rachael Simmons

    I adore the hot chocolate in Apostrophe cafes, it is so rich and thick you have to eat it with a spoon. When I was at Uni I used to occasionally treat myself to one near Chancery Lane in London, to ready myself for an extensive library session! :D

    • webmaster

      Thanks for the tip Rachael, Apostrophe’s hot chocolate sounds amazing. And we wholeheartedly agree, nothing beats a good hot chocolate before a hardcore study session.

  3. Alison Neale

    Elements for Life’s Raw Hot Chocolate is incredible!

  4. A. Colleen Jones

    The best traditional Italian-style hot chocolate in Ireland is served at Cafe Italee on Oliver Plunkett Street. I always ask for it extra thick. They also have great coffee and food and all for reasonable prices.

  5. Hariclia Kokkinos

    The Best Hot Chocolate I ever had was in Italy, Rome in the Piazza Navona at a lovely Cafe…it was Heavenly, an experience I will never forget..Incredible

  6. Beth Heath

    The best hot chocolate ever is the thick Italian ones, sat outside in the sun in Europe with the sun going down. The best location to drink hot chocolate made at home from pure chocolate and frothy milk is in my hot tub – pure bliss as I am a complete hot chocolate addict!

  7. Mari

    For me nothing beats Paul A. Young’s hot chocolate, not only does it taste utterly divine, there is no milk in it so heaven for us poor chocolate lovers that can’t handle lactose. And let me tell you I have dragged plenty of people that can drink milk in there, and everybody has loved it, and not missed the milk even one little bit. Love that you can add the spices of your choice too if you so wish.

  8. Christina

    You have to try the wonderful varieties of hot chocolates at Knoops in Rye!

  9. Jane

    Knoops in Rye, East Sussex sells proper hot chocolate. You can choose from six types: white chocolate, milk chocolate, 52% dark, 70% dark, 80% dark and a rather good single origin 60%.
    They’re perfect as they are but you can choose from umpteen spices/flavours to add to them; freshly ground, grated and/or steeped.
    There are really interesting additions including juniper, fennel seed or cardamom.
    Orange and chilli with 70% dark chocolate is my current favourite. I also love the 52% with szechuan pepper.
    Jens and his team will advise you on the best combinations.
    Better than La Granja in Barcelona and Fassbender & Rausch in Berlin!
    Only one problem … too addictive!

  10. Catherine Hays

    The best place for hot chocolate in England is Knoops in Rye, hands down. They offer 3 kinds of fresh cocoa (30, 50 and 70%) with all sorts of flavourings from ginger to chili to salt. Yummy! The blended hot cocoas are delicious and this is all set in the most gorgeous town of Rye on the sea. Lovely experience ……

  11. Malcolm Wallace

    Sorry guys, but the best chocolate you will ever, ever get is at Knoops in sleepy Rye, East Sussex. Jens will customise your chocolate experience by helping you choose the intensity and flavours – I have tried it with lavender, chilli, piemento, vanilla etc etc. Fantastic stuff…..

  12. Oliver Brown

    For me, the best hot chocolate has to be at Knoops in Rye. This place has several different chocolates (milk, white and different percentages of dark), complimented by a whole range of “toppings”. There are so many toppings that it’s possible to have a different taste sensation every day for over a month! Whether it is the homemade vanilla marshmallows, various chillis, spices or alcoholic shots you add to the chocolate, your tastebuds are sure to be in for a treat. The owner is extremely knowledgeable about his product and able to give tips on flavour combinations. My favourite: 80% Dark Chocolate, Orange Zest and Pimento Chilli. A-M-A-Z-ING!

  13. ksarshar

    Jens Knoop makes the most amazing hot chocolate in his little shop in Rye on E Cliff, Rye, East Sussex under the Landgate Arch. Executed with German precision and passion.

  14. Jane Corden

    The best hot chocolate, and the widest range of strengths of chocolate, with the best additions like sea salt, chilli, saffron to name but a few is Knoops in Rye East Sussex they are amazing. The best hot chocolate I have ever tasted.

  15. Piotr Karasinski

    I’m a huge fan of the hot chocolate at Knoops in Rye. Luxurious home made hot cocoa made with fresh chocolate, not powder. You can order hot chocolate mixed with various ingredients like orange zest – truly a new experience in hot cocoa drinking!

  16. Steve Hickman

    The most incredible chocolate with the most interesting flavours can be drunk at Knoops in Rye. Great chocolate experience for chocaholics.

  17. Simon

    We have a Hot Chocolate Club at work so we have tried quiet a few places. For example, we all thought Apostrophe’s hot chocolate was terrible (sorry, Rachael) and Browns of Brockley was pretty decent, but the best of them all is absolutely Paul A. Young (in Soho) – it received 9 and 10s from everyone in the group. Utterly delicious!

  18. Clarke Pitts

    Knoops in Rye (East Sussex) offers fabulous Hot Chocolate, made from very good quality melted chocolate (not powdered). It’s served in generous bowls (continental style) with a wide choice of extra flavourings. I like the 53% dark with orange and ginger myself. Highly recommended and my choice for Britain’s Favourite Hot Chocolate shop. Home made marshmallows and biscuits are offered as well as excellent coffee for those that prefer it.

  19. Robert draper

    It has to be Knoops in Rye – real chocolate, fresh ingredients (no artificial flavours or syrups here).

  20. I can’t choose between two great local cafes. Dragon Fly Cafe, Dinton Pastures and Daisys Coffee Shop, Sonning Common.
    Both have a fantastic atmoshpere, are run by lovely dedicated people and of course serve wonderful hot chocolate.

  21. Emma Jackson

    I think the Chocolate Milano (no cream cos’ too greasy) at Caffe Neros is the best of the chains at hot chocolate.

  22. Sheila Papa

    Knoops Hot Chocolate shop is the best place – hands down!

  23. Gareth Davies

    The Chocolate Museum in Cologne is my all time favourite, black forest gateaux flavour hot chocolate? What’s not to love!

  24. Helen Brisbane

    Paul A Young in Camden passage, Islington- the amazing smell of spiced chocolate means you want to go back and go back again..

  25. Louise

    Coco chocolate in Edinburgh- amazing chocolate either served as an incredible rich “shot” or lengthened with milk. Lots of fab flavours like rose or black pepper…. A real treat!

  26. Imogen Fuller

    Despite my Kentish roots, I’m sorry to say that you’re all looking at the wrong end of the country for your hot chocolate! You need to head to ten chocolate cafe in Ramsbottom to enjoy the best hot chocolate experience.
    Eleven different types of hot chocolate on the menu, plus boozy hot chocolate options and the to die for South American hot sipping chocolate to choose from. Get yourself on a train North and indulge yourself!

  27. tarbs gill

    Knoop! Nothing can compare to their hot chocolate!

  28. Jacqueline Knights

    Hard for me to vote as I rarely have hot chocolate out (I always assume it’s made with cheap, overly sweet powder) but I tried a mocha the other day at the great Emporium’s cafe and theatre venue in Brighton and it was a milky coffee that came with a separate pouring jug of melted chocolate. Delicious.

  29. Paul a young!

  30. Michelle

    The Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh serves a choice of different hot chocolate which are all amazing. Their own chocolate cakes, the most amazing of which is the vegan one. Also their own chocolate bars dotted in raspberries etc. The cafe itself is small and bohemian in style. It’s a real treat to go there for a hot chocolate on a cold Edinburgh day.

  31. Bar Chocolat in Clifton, Bristol – give it a go! :)

  32. Colby

    Hmmm, so many good hot chocolates! has all sorts of great hot chocolate reviews. Worth a read.

  33. Knoops in Rye/East Sussex

    Best Hot Chocolate ever … btw. – the shakes aren’t bad either ;-)

    Go, try ist yourself … and again … and again … and again … :-)

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