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  • 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.