The Royal Chocolate Kitchen

Hampton Court Palace. Thomas Tosier is pounding roasted cacao beans to a paste on a hot granite slab. He is wearing full periwig, breeches and a long waistcoat. The slab has taken an hour and a half to heat up but that’s nothing to the 30-odd hours it will take to grind the beans to…

Afternoon Tea at the Fan Museum

I’m not sure I’d recommend the Fan Museum at Greenwich to non-girls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous, frilly froth, beautifully presented in a jewel box of a building. I utterly adore it. Men I have taken there, however, have developed a strange, glazed look halfway through Room Two. Perhaps that’s why up to now…

Georgian Dining Academy

If you’re planning a trip to London in the long term, allow me to tempt you with a very quirky evening indeed; one that truly steps back in Old London time… Regular readers will know the delights ofSimpsons Tavern, the oldest chop house in London–established in 1757 and still, hidden in a warren of medieval alleyways, a secret…

Maids of Honour

Some say Hampton Court, some say Richmond Palace. You pays your ha’penny and you takes your choice when it comes to legends about Henry VIII’s eating habits, especially when it comes to melt-in-the-mouth pastries dainty enough for a nursery rhyme. The story goes that the king, visiting his queen du jour in her apartments at…

Tea and Tattle

The delightfully-named Arthur Probsthain opened his oriental and African bookshop in Great Russell Street exactly 110 years ago. Upstairs it’s still family business as usual. A few years ago, however, the latest generation, Tim and Chris, cleared out the bulging cellar and turned it into a tiny tearoom. It’s turned into a favourite haunt of…

Chocolate for Men

Damian Allsop’s ‘water ganache’, dispensing with the traditional butter and cream.  The extraordinary exploding chocolates of Gorvett and Stone. The understated elegance of William Curley. Chubby cherubs gallivanting around Rococo’s fabled blue and white cornucopia. In the past few years, a chocolate revolution has burst onto our tastebuds, relegating the old choice – between cheap…