I’m far from being a chocoholic, and normally have no problems resisting the temptations of the exuberant window displays of the traditional Paris chocolatier. My tastes are more geared towards the simple and natural, and I find the pralines and ganaches offered by most establishments to be over-rich and slightly sickly.
Via Chocolat is a different kind of establishment though, being a showroom (or Cho’room as they describe themselves) for a constantly changing selection of the best independent chocolate producers in the country. The showroom is simple and slick, with photos of the producers being more visible than the chocolates themselves which are hidden secretly away in sliding drawers.
The chocolates are sold in a wide range of box sizes, with staff making a selection according to your personal preferences. Some are infused with teas, fruits or flowers, some have a slight kick of chilli or ginger whilst others offer a twist of the truly original, such as a warm aroma of honey or a crunch of salt. They feel homemade when you bite into them, the thin crust cracking and giving way to smooth, whipped centres.
As well as the individual chocolates, bars are also available ranging from classic strong dark chocolate to the astonishing ‘aperitif’ bar which is packed with popcorn, nuts and dried tomatoes!