Just off Notting Hill’s bustling Portobello Road lies a small oasis of chocolate. Somewhere to escape the tourists, drink tea and immerse yourself in an extensive selection of chocolate from around the world.
Alexeeva & Jones feels like a continental chocolate shop even before you walk through the door.
The shop window is elegant and minimal and some carefully placed tables & chairs outside provide a place to stop and watch the world go by. Walk inside and the feeling of relaxed sophistication surrounds you. Loose chocolates are beautifully displayed in marble and glass boxes and the walls are covered in some of the best chocolate bars in the world.
It feels stylish and welcoming, without being overly formal. I feel like I could spend a couple of hours here. And that’s exactly what I end up doing.
Retail manager Helen greets me as I enter. Helen is a veteran of chocolate retail in the UK, having been store manager at the likes of William Curley, La Maison du Chocolat and Rococo. What she doesn’t know about chocolate isn’t worth knowing, and that’s immediately obvious. She can tell you every detail about each and every chocolate, bringing the stories to life – and unfortunately making me want to buy everything.
Loose Chocolate Collections
The beautiful displays of loose chocolates are the focal point of the shop. Eight international chocolatiers are featured, some of which you may have heard of, others that might be new to you. Not being reliant on a single chocolatier means that they can vary the collections depending on season and quickly introduce new chocolatiers.
Currently, they have a house selection, along with chocolates from Davenport’s, Franck Daubos, Centho, Beschle and British chocolatiers Paul Wayne Gregory, Damian Alsopp and Iain Burnett. It’s a great mix, with something for everyone, from Davenport’s sweet fondants to Damian Allsop’s divine water ganaches with a healthy dose of European sophistication in between.
I have to admit, I found the choice a little overwhelming, but I tried a small selection from the Franck Daubos and Centho, two European chocolatiers I hadn’t encountered before and found them impressive.
Bars Of The World
I’m very much into artisan bars at the moment, so as beautiful as the displays of chocolates are, I was most excited to see a range of bars from some of the world’s best chocolate makers on display along the wall. I don’t know of anywhere else in London – or the UK for that matter – where you can buy the likes of Friis Holm, Åkessons, Pacari and Amano under one roof.
Some of my favourite bars like Friis Holm’s Chuno and Amano’s fantastically powerful Morobe are there, along with others like Larent Gerbaud’s beautiful looking bars that I’d not yet had a chance to try. I quickly realised that a single visit to Alexeeva & Jones wasn’t going to be enough.
I couldn’t leave without buying a bar of Morobe along with a Laurent Gerbaud yuzu bar and a couple of Damian Allsop’s “Eat London” range.
Needless to say, I left satisfied.
Notting Hill is fast becoming a chocolate destination in itself, with the likes of Melt and Artisan du Chocolat just around the corner. It has a different vibe from some of London’s more well known chocolateries, but if you’re into artisan chocolate, the area – and Alexeeva & Jones in particular – is well worth a visit.
Alexeeva & Jones
297 Westbourne Grove,
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