I feel a lot like an explorer when I go searching for my hot chocolates. I always have a short list of places to find that should be good, but never any idea of exactly what I am going to find when I get there. Gorvett & Stone right along the high street of gorgeous Henley on Thames was top of my list. You may recognize Henley as the home of the famous Henley Royal Regatta and regular races between the rowers from Cambridge and Oxford Universities. There is a gorgeous walking path along the river where you can watch the boats and swans and just spend the day, especially if it is sunny. In fact here you can start walking in any direction, through town, across fields, along the river and you will be rewarded with charming little pubs (some with Michelin stars!), stunning countryside and cute little towns…just don’t forget your rainboots.
Henley is one of my favourite spots in the UK, and one of the reasons is Gorvett & Stone and its hot chocolates. Founders Matt & Einor both used to work at a wine store and were both wine connoisseurs. After meeting and deciding to open a business together they surprisingly decided against wine and choose, lucky for us, chocolate instead. They found that chocolate was a lot like wine – single origin, unique flavor profiles from around the world. They took a short chocolate course but are generally self taught. Perhaps because of this they have created a range of very unique chocolate offerings. Apart from their truffles, they are known for their dotty milk chocolate exploding frogs filled with popping candy and their chocolate fish and chips (no tartar sauce needed). Their Christmas coal, one of their best sellers during the holiday season, is chocolate covered honeycomb. The coal is also a favourite of Fortnum and Mason, the shopping destination of the posh and the royal who sell several Gorvett & Stone products. Not bad for a couple of self taught chocolatiers!
Their little store on the high street is very cute. There are only two tables inside with a couple of chairs on each. The staff are beyond friendly and describe all their hot chocolate offerings with so much enthusiasm we almost order one of each. I found it almost impossible to pick a favourite. There was the 70% dark chocolate tempered with cayenne pepper, while their house drinking chocolate uses chocolate made from beans from Madagascar.Each is presented with your choice of one of their mouth watering truffles. Death by chocolate…so good.
Verdict: Hot Chocolate Perfection. Gorvett and Stone, 21 Duke Street, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom