We stumbled across SAID the other night on a walk through Soho. It was cold and damp and SAID was a bit like a beacon, calling out to us to walk in and sit down and be taken care of. It worked. Without even planning to stop, we somehow found ourselves inside, sitting at a small wooden table towards the back end of the shop, drinking our hot chocolates lit up by candle light.
The SAID chocolate factory was founded in Rome’s San Lorenzo district in 1923 and if you happen to be in Rome you can visit 135 Via Tiburtina to enjoy all of their creations. They have a gorgeous little spot in London now. The walls were covered in silver chocolate molds of all shapes and sizes and a fire was lit in the fireplace along one wall . The counter was covered on one side with large glass jars filled with white, milk and dark chocolate and on the other side a range of hand made truffles.
SAID is very obviously a beacon for Italians in London. Pretty much everyone working in the shop, visiting the shop, sitting in the shop was Italian. Perhaps that means there is some Italian in us because we too were drawn into this magical little place. I’m fine with that, quite happy in fact. A handsome Italian man helped us move some seats around to fit in the stroller. He was very friendly and we very quickly decided that he must be the man in charge. I watched him as he kept a eye on everything that was happening while still seeming so relaxed. One woman was sitting near the fireplace having a work meeting, and hadn’t touched her cappuccino. He promptly sent someone over to ask her if everything was ok with the drink and that if it wasn’t they would gladly make her a new one. The woman promptly answered that she was so relaxed here in this beautiful space that she had completely forgotten to have her drink. I completely understood her feeling, I shared it,….but I would never forget to have my hot chocolate!
Now to the hot chocolates. The hot chocolates are kept warm in large glass containers on the back counter that stir and heat the hot chocolate constantly. We were given the choice of having white, milk or dark chocolate, and in three sizes, small (tiny really), medium or large. There aren’t a lot of places that give you this sort of selection in terms of size interestingly enough, so I really appreciated that. I got a small dark chocolate knowing that if this was a traditional Italian hot chocolate it was going to be rich and dense almost like a chocolate pudding. It was, but beautifully so and was so easy to drink, so much easier than I had expected and I had wished that I had ordered the medium (as Rich did). I thoroughly enjoyed this moment at SAID with the romantic dim lighting, the fire place roaring, the dark chocolate wooden tables and the little candles on our table, the whole place was just so warm and cozy. I loved it.
Verdict: The hot chocolate was beautiful. It was all like a big warm Italian hug. Try to get the seat next to the fireplace. SAID, 41 Broadwick Street, London, UK