London Chocolate Tour

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Who can resist heavenly chocolate? We booked this tour through British Rail who were offering Two for the Price of One (booklet readily available from all British Rail stations). We joined the tour outside The Algerian Coffee Store in Old Compton Street, London W1 and were immediately offered some chocolate which had mysteriously appeared in small tubs by our charming guide Alan, whose humour added to the tour. There were only 12 of us on the tour and everyone was very friendly. We were taken along the road to Hotel Chocolat and were given several tasters of their wonderful chocolates and a talk on the history of the company. Following this shop we went to Paul A Young's shop in Wardour Street. I have to say this is the BEST chocolate I have ever eaten. We savoured two chocolates, their best seller plus we were given a choice of chocolates ranging from Chocolate with Garlic, Scone with clotted cream, Banoffee Pie and many more and all absolutely different and delicious. Our next stop was in Swallow Street to savour as many of the varieties that you wished from the Goucho Ice Cream Shop. Then on to Prestat in Princes Arcade, which is one of London's oldest chocolate shops and a favourite of The Queen Mother. Once again we were treated to two amazing chocolates and given the choice of flavours. Their best seller was the truffle and I tried the Queen Mother's favourite which was Violet Creme. Delicious. From there we took a short walk to Fortnum and Mason where we had 20 minutes to explore the store alone whilst dear Alan obtained our next samples to try at the end. We had to guess the flavours! Strawberry and black pepper an absolute delight! We finished this fabulous tour by walking through Burlington Arcade learning the history as we were walking and taking in the delights of shops that were probably out of reach for most of us on the tour. Our guided tour finished at The East India Tea Company where once again we sampled their delights and tasted the different teas on offer. A truly great day with the added bonus of 10% discount on all goods at all the shops we visited. The only downfall was we all bought too much chocolate to take home. Not good for the diet.

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