Its that time of year again and since its all about sumptuous food and celebrations, I thought a post featuring chocolates would be most appropriate. For the first time this year a famous French chocolate company, whom some of you may know as Alain Ducasse’s, has a new branch in London. Ducasse’s chocolates have to date been available only at the Dorchester Hotel – the restaurant there is managed by his company.
His new shop in King’s Cross, London, is the first public counter anywhere else in Europe other than France and his Le Comptoir Coal Drops Yard has been a major success. The London store is based on his main one at Roquette, Paris. Although that in London is a smaller one it is without a doubt the more elaborate of the two!
The chocolate shop can be found soon as one enters the Coal Drops Yard. Its on the left bank of the Regent’s Canal as one comes from Camden!
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse’s store front at Coal Drops Yard.
One of my compositions of the counter balances inside the shop.
The shop itself is of great interest and considerably unique in terms of styling. Naturally its one of the most popular shops at Coal Drops Yard. It commands a nice position looking towards the main yard area and the splendid ‘kissing’ roofs.
The company’s main store based in Roquette, Paris. Clearly London has the more elaborate central display!
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse’s CDY store label.
In early December 2018 Ducasse opened a new cafe next door to the chocolate shop.
The company has five outlets in Paris and the first was established in 2013 at Rue de la Roquette quite near the Bastille, though Ducasse has owned restaurants in the French city for many years. The Roquette store is unique because it is both the factory and the counter and this is in fact where all London’s Ducasse chocolate comes from. The staff assured me every single item in the London store comes from France.
Its not just the chocolates that are made in Paris, the displays, the special glass displays, the wrappings, are all made in Paris and brought over to London. Even the special xmas offerings have all been made in Paris. Here’s a nice write up (in French) on the Roquette store itself.
Serving the customers at Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse.
Here’s a video about Ducasse’s chocolate shops, and shows the processes how they make their chocolates. This is the same video that can be seen in the London store itself.
Ducasse has five shops in Paris, another two in Japan. The first in Japan was opened this year on the ground floor of the Nihombashi Honcho building, Central Tokyo, not too far from the Central station. The other, opened soon after, is in Roppongi, also in Tokyo. That in London is the very first store in the UK as we have noted. Although the new branch at Coal Drops Yard is quite small, it basically contains all the important elements that make up the bigger Roquette store. Therefore it is a unique branch in terms of what Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse offers.
Let’s have a look at some of the xmas goodies offered by Ducasse’s…
A fun chocolate xmas tree for the kids to put together 🙂
Ducasse’s Advent Calendar.
Christmas chocolate stars – plain or milk.
Another fun chocolate with xmas tree symbol. Again, plain or milk.
More varieties of the xmas tree chocolate – different flavours to the earlier ones shown.
These chocolates may look very much alike but I can assure you there are many many different flavours – somewhere around sixty to choose from.
General view of the shop with its excellent central display unit and the shelves with various flavours pre-packaged for sale.
All the chocolates are on display in the central cabinet and prepared in attractive packages along one side of the shop whilst along the other is a mini exhibition detailing the processes used in Paris to make the chocolates. There is also a video showing the chocolatiers at work.
The chocolates on display are cleaned regularly with a special brush. Some do think the displays consist of fake chocolate (which is what some of our UK stores do!) All the chocolate you see on display at Ducasse’s is real – and kept in pristine condition.
A very happy customer! Chocolates for a very special person in his life.
I just love this place, its the styling, the nice sweet cosy atmosphere and the unusual balances on top of the central display which make some great photographs. I’m not tempted at all by the chocolates – honestly!
Ducasse’s staff kindly pose for my camera – and its a very nice portrait!
I am sure some of you may wonder whether Alain Ducasse himself ever works in the shop. He doesn’t of course, he is mindful of running his business from his base in the famous French city. He has been over to London to make sure his fantastic new shop is managing well and on one of these occasions I met him and some of his Paris based staff.
Here’s one of my pictures of Mr Ducasse himself – giving away free samples of his excellent chocolates! The man in the blue jacket is a close friend of his and the guy in the background is one of the company’s managers based in Paris.
If you like milk chocolate or dark chocolate with unique flavours this is the place to go. The chocolates are exceedingly well made and the tastes are without a doubt really delicious.
Ducasse’s doesn’t have a London based website for its store yet however the main website can be found here and it does have some detail on the shop at Coal Drops Yard.
Here’s another picture I took of the display at the London shop.
With that I bid a merry Xmas and a happy new year to you all 🙂