A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. Shopping in London: Paul A. Young

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    Paul A. Young is one of London’s leading chocolatiers, with his City shop winning Best New Chocolate Shop in this year’s Academy of Chocolate awards. His 20 years’ experience as a high-profile chef, patissiere and chocolatier reflects his sophisticated understanding of the subtle intricacies of flavour and texture. This has led to the creation of best-sellers like port and stilton truffles and Marmite ganaches. No wonder he’s regularly referred to as the Heston Blumenthal of chocolate. His range is free from preservatives and additives, using only the finest chocolate including Valrhona, Michel Cluizel and Amadei.

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    Paul is incredibly hands-on and on any day you’ll find him beavering away at either one of his two chocolate boutiques, located in Islington and Bank. With ginger hair and an affable Northern demeanour, he’s not hard to miss. At his boutique in Bank, right in the heart of the City’s financial district, I find him upbeat and positive about the outlook for business. History shows that chocolate sales, like lipstick, actually boom during times of economic depression. People will treat themselves to fine chocolate because it’s a small, affordable luxury.

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    The shop itself is part of the Royal Exchange, and the location is steeped in London’s incredible 1000 year history. Fragments of Roman stucco, lamps and coins found on the site reveal that it was the centre of Roman Londinium. The shop itself dates back to the Victorian period, when it was a chemist. All of the original features remain, including handsome marble bench tops, wooden shelves and cabinets. Paul takes me on a behind-the-scenes tour of the shop, including the fully customised basement kitchen, where all his fresh, hand-made chocolates are made every day.

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    Upstairs, Paul’s collection of loose chocolates are displayed like glittering jewels, which is a comparison that isn’t far removed from the truth, considering that edible platinum and gold leaf can be found amongst the ingredients. Single pieces start at £1.75, going up to £50 for a hand-picked box of 40. His house collection includes the silver award-winning raspberry ganache and gold award-winning sea salted caramel, with stock constantly updated, so there’s always an element of surprise. On my visit there's a London Pride Ale truffle and a Winter Pimms ganache with apple and ginger.

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    Then there’s his signature chocolate brownies, which are extra-gooey, with a fudgey (rather than cakey) consistency. You know they’re good because they specifically lack that gritty saccharine-sweetness of lesser versions. They’re also big – and rich – enough to cut into quarters, so they can shared (or not) back at the office, making the £2.95 price point stretch even further.

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    The hot chocolate is also a best-seller, made Aztec-style using 100 per cent cocoa and hot water instead of milk. The £2.95 rich concoction is a warming winter drink, with a choice of spices such as ginger, smokey cardamom and two different types of chilli. So good, it's my new favourite London beverage. And that's saying a lot.

    Paul A. Young
    20 Royal Exchange
    Threadneedle Street
    London EC3V 3LP
    Tel. 020 7929 7007
    Nearest tube: Bank
    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

    Opening hours:
    Monday to Wednesday 10am – 6:30pm
    Thursday 10am – 7pm
    Friday 10am – 6:30pm

    The Islington boutique can be found at:
    33 Camden Passage
    London N1 8EA
    Tel. 020 7424 5750
    Nearest tube: Angel
    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

    Opening hours:
    Wednesday and Thursday 11am – 6pm
    Friday 11am – 7pm
    Saturday 11am – 6pm
    Sunday 12 – 5pm

    • http://www.grybathome.com.au Keryn

      I’ll be visiting London in Jan, this place will be on my list of musts, along with so may others! Thank you 🙂

    • http://www.quailbymail.blogspot.com Quail By Mail

      It’s such a great thing to see such an unbelievably young talent occupying such a prominent shop! Those chocolates MUST be devine!

    • http://likklegirl.blogspot.com the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things

      Blue cheese truffles?! And Marmite ganache?! It is indeed the Fat Duck of the chocolate world. xxx

    • http://www.charsinthecity.blogspot.com Char

      Oh, yum! The problem for me would be to choose between the conventional (tried and tested) raspberry and the exciting new but different, like the Marmite.

    • http://www.elinesca.com/blog Elinesca

      Really love this one. Best place ever:)

    • http://alwaysinstylenyc.blogspot.com/ Always In Style

      You are killing me with all of this chocolate goodness 🙂

    • Goldie

      Wish I’d found this place before I left. There’s nothing like an Aztec chilli hot chocolate, and the loose chocs look divine!

    • http://www.xanga.com/cookiedrops Kerry

      this shop look simply amazing! next time when i’m down in town from liverpool seeing the boyfriend i’m definitely gona visit! must try those hot chocolate!

    • http://www.glowingdoll.blogspot.com glowingdoll

      I used to work near the Royal Exchange but don’t remember this shop. He must have moved in after I left. Damn! I could have really used some Aztec hot chocolate too ’cause my job was the absolute pits.
      Teh shop (and the chocolate) look really lovely.

    • http://www.chocolatereviews.co.uk/paul-a-young-house-selection/ Chocolate Reviews

      An absolutely fantastic review! On mine I stupidly forgot to take inside photos.
      Also I’ve not been to his Royal Exchange shop, but seeing these pics I’ll have to pop down there on Monday. You can never have enought!