Spring may be the time for true love, but in Marylebone, it’s also the season for chocolate. As the tulips and wall flowers blossom in Paddington Gardens, the shops around the high street fill their shelves with tempting chocolaty morsels – from William Curly easter bunnies in La Fromagerie to outrageous double chocolate cakes piled high with froufrou curls of dark chocolate in the windows of Patisserie Valerie.
As James Booth, buying and operations director of Rococo , says: “At this time of year, we get people who make a real pilgrimage to the shop. We had one old fellow, who used to come in once a year and spend an enormous amount. We’ve all imagined that he must have had lots of very happy nephews and nieces.”
Once inside Rococo, you will be spoilt for choice. This is the world of the chocolatier, where chocolate is turned into gorgeous bonbons, bars and eggs. luxurious flower-scented fondant creams, delicious rose and violet, or sensuous lavender and jasmine chocolate can be packaged up for later enjoyment in the park and exquisite boxes of salted milk chocolate wafers can be saved as a finale for a recherché dinner party. However, Rococo is different from other chocolatiers in one respect rather than simply sourcing their chocolate from good quality chocolate producers, they’ve joined up with The Grenada Chocolate Company so that they can grow some of their own organic Trinitario chocolate. The GCC is rare in that it actually makes its own organic bars in Grenada. Most cocoa beans are exported to more developed countries before they’re turned into chocolate.
Those in search of Easter inspiration might be tempted by Rococo’s new Matryoshka eggs – all egg within an egg within an egg, with chocolates inside! Or maybe some salt and pepper eggs for Easter breakfast – two foil wrapped, chocolate hen’s-sized eggs – one seasoned with salt, and the other with black pepper and chilli.