Harry Kersh: There’s no better
way to stay warm in London than with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. And the city has a
couple of popular spots, all with their own
unique take on the drink. Hey guys, it’s Harry and Ju. Ju Shardlow: And on this very
gray day, we are on the hunt for the best hot chocolate in London. So, as usual, we have
looked through TripAdvisor, social media, and just plain
old local recommendations to try and find four places which will be the best of the best. Harry: What we will be
looking for is a hot chocolate that has a nice texture,
something that is not too sweet, and its overall luxuriousness. Ju: First stop: Dark Sugars, a chocolate shop that brings the culture of West African cocoa
production to Brick Lane. Fatou Mendy: What we’ve tried
to do with the hot chocolate is kind of do it in the way I know how to do hot chocolate back home. What we do is we combine
cocoa powder and chocolate, which is a combination of milk, dark, and white chocolate in there. So, and then we make a
very thick paste first. And then we heat up the
milk, pour the milk, and then top it up with foam, and then the shavings go on top. We believe that it’s
the best hot chocolate because it’s full of experience. We feel good when we’re doing it. Harry: Cool.
Ju: Yeah, cheers. Harry: Cheers.
Ju: Wow. OK. Harry: Ooh. Ju: That’s got such a lovely flavor. I love all the theatricality
of the shavings on top of it. There’s just a real kind of sense of drama for this hot chocolate. Like, you watch it being
made in front of you, and there’s shavings going on the top, like, you can see that the
milk’s being whipped up. Like, it is a really enjoyable experience first of all for the eyes,
before your taste buds. But, also, this just tastes delicious. Harry: That dark chocolate has a really, really lovely bitterness.
‘Cause otherwise it can kind of be a bit too
sweet at times, whereas the dark chocolate really
does help to balance it out, particularly with the white
chocolate in there as well. Lovely bitterness from that. Ju: Yeah, the flavor of the chocolate, and I like the fact
that obviously it’s got white chocolate, and the dark chocolate, and milk in there as well. But again, it does have sort of a satisfying wateriness to it. Like, it’s not grainy,
obviously, and it’s not, but again it’s not just
like a whole dollop of melted chocolate straight in your face. Like, it actually feels more like a drink. Which is what you sort of want for when you’re walking around on
a cold winter’s evening. Harry: Second stop: Said
Dal, an Italian cafe that offers a slightly thicker consistency than traditional hot chocolate. Andrea Alinovi: The idea
came around five years ago. We gave a twist to something
already successful. But then also we have been able to offer a product which force the client to go into a direction of
having a different experience, which is like…similar to
the margarita with salt. Instead of salt, we have chocolate, three kinds of chocolate
all around the cup, so there is no other way of drinking it than getting chocolate in your mouth and sometimes getting dirty. When we first opened, the reaction was… not very good at the beginning because the perception of
hot chocolate was different. The expectation was different. And now, after a few years,
we are very well known. And we have a lot of people coming from anywhere for our hot chocolate. Customer: It’s fabulous
because it’s, I mean, it’s dark, but it’s not too bitter. So it’s just the perfect compromise. And it’s so thick, like, it reminds me of my Italiano chocolate that
I used to drink back in Italy. So it’s like being back home. Ju: I’m actually really excited to see how Harry’s gonna eat this, because it looks pretty messy. Harry: I’m a bit of a professional, but even I think this is
gonna put me to the limits, ’cause this is just covered in chocolate. It looks really good. It smells amazing. So, we’ve got the gianduja hot chocolate, which is kinda hazelnutty. And it kinda just smells
like melted Nutella, which immediately is
making me really excited. Ju: Oh, wow. Oh, my God. That is…
Harry: Oh, [bleep]. [laughing] Shh! That is incredible, wow. Harry: When I said sip,
I don’t think that was the right word; it’s more like a bite. Ju: Face-plant of chocolate. Harry: It’s rich, it’s…the
texture is nothing like you’d expect in terms of,
like, a normal hot chocolate, ’cause this is way thicker. It’s so creamy and luxurious. Ju: It has, like, the
texture of a churros dip because it’s got that, like, really luxurious creaminess to it and a texture that you almost
want to dip something in it, like, you just wanna dip your face in it. That’s what you want to do. But the taste is lovely, though. I think, as British people, we’re used to that kind of very sad, like,
hot water with cocoa powder. But this really, this is
Italian food and drink. So it’s luxury; it tastes incredible. Next we head to Mamasons,
a Filipino ice cream parlor that uses traditional ube ingredients. Florence Mae Maglanoc:
Ube is a sweet potato or a purple yam. And it comes from the sweet potato family. It’s indigenous to the Philippines. And it’s naturally purple;
that’s what’s so great about it. It’s like the vanilla of Philippines. We actually use our ice
cream in the wintertime; that’s how we actually
created the product. So we’re very keen on no waste and using everything that we’ve got. So we actually melt down the ice cream, mix it with Belgian white chocolate, add a bit of Horlicks, heat
that up with some milk, and it’s perfect. And then the whipped cream itself, we use an ube jam and
we mix it with cream. And then we have a special
whipped-cream machine that, like, makes it all fluffy and airy. And then the outside bits are ube wafers. So it’s just a bit of
an ube-overload cocoa, and it’s perfect for winter. Customer: I love the
ube whipped cream ’cause it’s so pretty. I love the color. And it’s the best part of
the cocoa, in my opinion. I eat this stuff all the time. Harry: Mm. Ju: Mm. Harry: Not bad.
Ju: Ooh, wow. Blimey, that’s sweet. Harry: It’s very sweet. Ju: That’s really, really sugary. Harry: Very sugary. Ju: I mean, I was kind
of expecting it to be quite sugary anyway, ’cause
when I’ve had things like lavender or like sweet
potato lattes before, they’ve always been
really heavy on the sugar. Harry: Mm. OK. Ju: Ooh. Harry: I don’t mind that. Ju: Yeah, I certainly get
a lot of the yam taste from the flakes at the side. But really smooth, really drinkable. Harry: It’s almost like
when you salt the rim of a margarita. Do you get much of the ube? ‘Cause I’m mostly just
getting kinda whipped cream. It’s quite sweet. Maybe, like, a tiny bit of kind
of earthy flavor from that. Ju: Yeah, I get a little
bit of a sweet-potatoey kind of taste to it, like,
a little bit of a yam taste. But mostly from the cream at the top. I’m not really getting so much of, like, a white chocolate taste from the actual hot chocolate itself. But maybe that’s just the
sugariness of it, maybe. Harry: Would you say it’s
maybe outwardly less chocolaty than the other ones we might’ve tried? So, I think this is more
about the whipped cream, and the kind of the ice
cream, and the sweetness. And obviously, ’cause it’s
made with white chocolate, less of a kind of cocoa taste from that. On to our final stop, Chin Chin Labs, who’ve created an almost pudding-like take on the traditional hot chocolate. Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur: What
Chin Chin is best known for is creating dishes that you
can’t get anywhere else. Our hot chocolate is more
like a hot chocolate pudding. The chocolate that we
use is really expensive French chocolate from Valrhona. It’s 80%. We have chefs in the kitchen
making small batches every day. And then the marshmallow itself, it’s our own recipe, it’s a secret recipe that we make in small batches and mixes. And then when we top off the hot chocolate with the marshmallow, the balance is good because the marshmallow’s really sweet. And we have that sort of toasty flavor because we blowtorch it. The actual hot chocolate
itself is quite bitter. So it combines really well. So, the idea is we give you a spoon, and there’s a bowl underneath. And you eat it like this with a spoon. And you have to get the marshmallow and the hot chocolate together so the balance is right when you eat it. Customer: I really love,
like, the marshmallow aspect of the hot chocolate. It’s so gooey. So when you pop the spoon in you get the gooeyness
of the hot chocolate, and then you get the
quality Belgian chocolate coming through, through
the Valrhona sprinkles. So, it’s amazing. Ju: Should we go for it? How are you supposed to? You just go in? Harry: So, I think we just
gotta commit and go for it. You ready?
Ju: Right. OK. It’s like a dessert. Harry: Yeah, this could go everywhere. Good luck.
Ju: OK, good luck. Harry: Oh, look at that. OK. That is an extremely, extremely
Instagrammable dessert. Ju: That is, yeah. Harry: I got, like, a bit of marshmallow and a bit of hot chocolate. Ju: It’s so lovely and shiny as well. It seems so luxurious. Harry: Oh, wow.
Ju: Wow. Harry: That marshmallow’s so good. Ju: Yeah, that is so good. The marshmallow’s, like, really, really, it’s very filling. It’s not…[laughing] Harry: I’ve got a breach. Ju: It’s really filling. It’s not too sweet. As well as the actual
hot chocolate inside, once you get down into it. I mean, this is dribbling everywhere, but once you get down into it
it’s just this lovely, rich, very, very flavorful hot chocolate. Which I wouldn’t say is too overly sweet. It just has a lovely, like, luxury kind of dribbliness to it. And the texture of the hot
chocolate’s lovely as well. Harry: So, I’ve picked my winner. You’ve picked yours. I’m excited to see what you’ve picked. I have a feeling we might disagree, but let’s find out. Reveal on three?
Ju: OK. Harry: One, two, three. Ju: Chin Chin Labs. Harry: Said Dal. We disagreed, I knew it. I knew we would disagree. Ju: Why did you pick them? Harry: So, I mean, for me,
Said Dal was just, like, unlike any other hot
chocolate I’ve ever had. It was the most luxurious thing maybe I’ve ever eaten
in my life, in general. In terms of just like, it was so velvety, it was so chocolaty, the
kind of Nutella-y flavor that we got from that
hazelnut hot chocolate. And obviously that triple
chocolate on the side of the cup just kinda took it to another level. And I thought it was just a
really, really cool experience. What made you pick Chin Chin Labs? Ju: That was delicious,
don’t get me wrong. I probably would’ve picked that, but for me it came down to the price. I think Chin Chin Labs
was the cheapest one of the whole day, and
for the value for money it was incredible. The actual quality of the
Valrhona hot chocolate in Chin Chin Labs was
more of, I would say, a drinking chocolate. But what you had in Said Dal was more of a, like, an actual pudding. It was very dessert-like,
like, I would have that as a dessert rather than a
hot chocolate, I would say. Harry: I see your point, Ju. This is a really tough decision. This is maybe the closest
one that we’ve had in this series, to be honest. But I think, overall,
I’m gonna agree with you. And I’m gonna come around to Chin Chin. For a few reasons. I think you’ve kinda
covered some of the reasons in terms of, like, it did
feel like more of a dessert than a hot chocolate. And I think as tasty as it was, I would’ve hit my
threshold of how much of it I could drink quite quickly at Said Dal because it was just so
rich and so luxurious. Which is great in, like, a small dose, but like you say, more of like a sit-down desserty experience than
a hot chocolate, perhaps. So, we’ve crowned Chin Chin Labs as the best of the best
hot chocolate in London. But that’s just our opinion. Did we miss any of your favorite spots? Let us know in the comments. Ju: You’ve got some on your face. Harry: Have I?
[laughing] How about now?