11 Luxury Chocolate Brands To Try In Hong Kong This Christmas
There’s nothing better than a fine box of chocolate truffles or a hot mug of something sweet to keep you warm during the chilly winter times. While Hong Kong may not be most known for chocolate, there are many hidden gems around town which come in a wide array of styles, forms and recipes––vegan, 3D printed and curiously flavoured. Here we're listing 11 of the best chocolate brands to try in Hong Kong this season that promise to be beyond even the wildest chocoholic dreams.
1/11 The Peninsula Boutique
When the Peninsula first opened its doors in 1928, it introduced western delicacy to Hong Kong. Two decades later, the Peninsula Boutique made headlines again by being the first to create its own handmade chocolates. Over the years, Swiss chocolatiers have reinterpreted historic recipes from the Peninsula Archives which document the city’s very first truffles and pralines, now classics in the Heritage Collection. For the more modern and inventive recipes, look no further than the Appreciation Collection, which features jewel-shaped chocolates of exquisite flavours and dazzling names: fleur de del, basil-lemon and kumquat-saffron, passionfruit ganache, “Screwdriver” which is a vodka orange screwdriver praline inspired by Clark Gable’s favourite drink at the Peninsula Bar, to name but a few.
The Peninsula Boutique has more than just chocolates. For those who love chocolate pastries, the chocolate Madagascar cake consists of tiers of variously textured chocolate: served on a chocolate orange financier are dark chocolate praline crunch, milk chocolate mousse and dark chocolate cream; the cake is finished with a dark chocolate glaze on top. The raspberry chocolate pastry is the fruitier choice. Made with dark chocolate raspberry ganache and mascarpone mousse, it is decorated with fresh raspberries and almond rocks for juiciness and crunch. If you’re more a candied fruit than cake person, the Indulgence Collection has bittersweet peel of Italian oranges coated with rich, dark chocolate.
Hot out of the oven this Christmas are the boutique’s walnuts, dried fruits or hazelnut cookies which are half-dipped in white, dark or milk Swiss chocolate. If that isn’t already impressive enough, the Festive Chocolate Delight Gift Box is a three-tiered gift box printed with a robin bird, the Peninsula’s Christmas mascot this year. The top layer of assorted dark chocolate carrés parts to reveal a 12-piece Heritage collection of assorted bonbons. The Peninsula Boutique’s signature flavours of red berry, pistachio, caramel and hazelnut chocolates are hidden at the bottom. It’s the perfect gift for families and friends as they discover each layer of surprises together.
Where to find it: The Peninsula Arcade, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Find out more at peninsulaboutique.com
2/11 Chocolates by Ryan L Foote
Ryan L Foot has more than one trick up his sleeve. Based between Melbourne and Hong Kong, this design studio owner, who creates contemporary tableware, design objects and food art, is also a chef. Prior to his culinary career, Foote was a fine arts graduate at the Victorian College of the Arts who made his name producing runway sets and launching parties for multiple fashion festivals and brands. His installation art often involved sound, light and fashion. Later, he started playing culinary elements to his art and partnered with chefs and catering firms. In 2018, he set up Chocolates by Ryan L Foote, focusing on experimenting with chocolate.
With a background in design, you can only imagine that his chocolate is both about looks and taste. Each piece of chocolate is 3D printed with fun, geometric shapes. Foote’s Hong Kong Collection offers some uniquely local flavours, including egg tart, milk tea, French toast with peanut butter, caramel char siu, red bean and milk, coconut tart and seven-year-old mandarin rind. Paying tribute to his other home, Foote also has the Australian collection which offers a taste of Australia with the Vegemite caramel and smokey eucalyptus chocolates.
We also recommend the Ruby Collection, which contains no berries or berry flavour or colouring. Its burst of berry flavours comes from growing the cocoa bean in the Ecuador, Brazil and Ivory Coast regions which geographic and climatic conditions are making the natural magic.
His other luxurious products include the Whisky Collection, frothy drinking chocolate that comes in three flavours (Hong Kong, Australian and dark) as well as 3D printed porcelain cups and plates to pair with.
This Christmas, Foote will release a limited luxury set of nine chocolates, each coated in edible 24k gold leaf using special single origin chocolate and filled with Hennessy X.O Cognac or Hennessy Paradis Cognac. The chocolates will be housed in a jade crystalline glazed porcelain box with matching lid, if you’re looking for something fancy to gift your loved ones with.
Find out more at chocolatesbyrlf.com
Ryan L Foote is currently running a pop-up at K11 Hong Kong's Christmas market.
3/11 The Chocolate Club HK
Katie Chan probably has the best job in the world. The chocoholic is a professional chocolate connoisseur, which means her job is to curate artisanal chocolate brands to widen the selection of high-quality chocolate products in Asia as well as to promote chocolate appreciation to the masses through education. Chan worked at a UK confectionery trading company as Food Product Developer overseeing the mass market chocolate products for the chocolate brand Awfully Chocolate. The numerous trips inspired her to specialise in chocolate, so much as that she even earned a certified qualification from the Chocolate Tasting Institute in London.
In 2013, Chan founded the Chocolate Club HK, which has since then hosted Salon du Chocolat, the first international chocolate show in Hong Kong, as well as a series of coffee, whisky, cognac and chocolate pairing workshops. Her club represents four brands: Taiwan’s Fu Wan Chocolate, Thailand’s Kad Kokoa, US’s Chocolate and Ecuador’s Chocolate. The Tie-Guan-Yin tea dark chocolate and Sea Salt 70 per cent dark chocolate remain her bestsellers.
This year, Chan has also launched the Chocolate Subscription Box to lift up the spirit of the city in the difficult times of the pandemic by delivering some endorphin straight to your doorstep. Insider the box are bean-to-bar craft chocolates sourced from Southeast Asia, Mexico and all around the world, as well as wellness cards and chocolate guides to make sure you enjoy your chocolate box to the fullest.
Find out more at thechocolateclubhk.com
4/11 LMO by Freshly Baked
We know they aren’t exactly chocolate but Richard Ekkebus’s new chocolate dessert creations are too good to not to include. The culinary director of Michelin-starred restaurant Amber at the Landmark Mandarin is making some of his favourite childhood desserts this season. Plunge your spoon into the jar of bitter chocolate mousse with sour cherries. The cherry puree offers a refreshing hint of citrusy to the rich, smooth and slightly bitter mousse. Open Ekkebus’s paper bag of baked goods and sink your teeth into the madeleine chocolate and pecan and chocolate cookie. Opt for the madeleine if you like something soft and rich with chocolate. On the other hand, the cookie is an explosion of favours and textures: slightly salty, sweet, nutty and crunchy.
If you can’t decide which classic dessert to pick, why not opt for the brookie? A combination between a brownie and a cookie, the brookie has the chewy texture of a cookie and dense chocolate taste of a brownie––the best of both worlds. Come back to the shop at a different hour to try a different dessert as chef Richard bake new items––chocolate or not––every hour, which concept is a tribute to his childhood memory of living nearby a bakery in the southwest of Holland and smelling the different baked goods as the day passed.
Where to find it: 3/F, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at mandarinoriental.com
See also: Amber’s Richard Ekkebus Launches Two-Month Pastry Pop-Up At Landmark Central
5/11 Sweet World
We dare you to try duck poop chocolate. Fear not, ya shi xiang (“duck poop fragrance” in English), is an oolong tea cultivated in Guangdong Province’s Phoenix Mountain. It was given an unpleasant sobriquet by a farmer who attempted to hide the secret to his delicious tea. The truth is, this oolong tea has a floral fragrance with longan and malt notes. This duck poop chocolate bar by Fossa uses wine-barrel fermented cacao from Malaysia which further enhances its fruity flavours.
This is only one of the many curious brands and flavours from around the world that Sweet World, a craft and artisanal chocolate and confectionery shop, has curated. Minal Mahtani, who founded Bookazine and Partytime, established the confectionery shop in 2014 with a very sweet thought: to pair reading and parties with beautifully packed and delicious treats for all to enjoy.
In the Admiralty and Central shops, you can find salted egg cereal blond chocolate and chrysanthemum tea chocolate by Singapore’s Fossa Chocolate, Rye Crumb chocolate by Suffolk England’s Pump Street Chocolate which reminds you of bread, Thai curry shrimp white chocolate bars by Taiwan’s Fu Wan Chocolate, rhubarb and ginger milk as well as gin and whisky chocolate bars by Edinburgh’s Coco Chocolatier.
Aside candy crackers filled with vegan jelly sweets, Sweet World also take Christmas hamper orders. You can create your own festive version by throwing in bars and truffles in the wildest flavour combinations to surprise your adventurous foodie friends.
Where to find it: L1, 113, Pacific place, 88 Queensway, 88, Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong; or Shop 343, 3/F Landmark Prince’s, Central. Find out more at facebook.com/sweetworldhk
6/11 Conspiracy Chocolate
Allergic to milk? Conspiracy Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate company based in Hong Kong, makes vegan chocolate from cacao sourced from the Dak Lak region in Vietnam. Amit Oz and Céline Herren, husband and wife, founded the chocolate brand in August 2018, with their passion project stemming from their common fascination for food and nutrition. Their craft chocolate is all 75 per cent or above dark with no milk, soy and gluten at all. It’s made with only cacao beans and raw organic cane sugar.
Aside their bestselling salted caramel bar, Conspiracy Chocolate is also known for their very Instagrammable blossom bar, which is covered with pink petals. They are also releasing the maple pecan bar as their Christmas special, which has notes of toffee, cherry, spice, tobacco and peanut in their thin but dense bar.
Where to find it: Conspiracy Chocolate bars are available to purchase from the brand’s website as well as Coffee Academics, Eric Kayser, Spice Box Organic, Sweetworld, Organic Oasis and online on Josun and Foodcraft. Find out more at conspiracychocolate.com
See also: Tatler's Ultimate Guide To Vegetarian And Vegan Dining In Hong Kong
7/11 La Maison du Chocolat
Chocolate powerhouse La Maison du Chocolat was founded on the elegant Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 1977 by Robert Linxe who introduced the Parisian spirit of haute culture to chocolate. Linxe’s uncle was a tailor. The chocolatier grew up encountering talents like Chanel, Dior and Balmain and looking at the colours of their dresses, which were great memories that forged his attitude towards pursuing all things exquisite––including chocolate. La Maison du Chocolat was the first grand Parisian house dedicated entirely to “designer chocolate”. This set Linxe’s boutique apart from chocolate in France at the time, which was mainly a sweet given as a gift at Easter and Christmas. The creative chocolatier’s bold decision to create dark chocolate immediately set him apart from the conventionally sugary world of chocolate.
Today, the Parisian boutique has branches in seven countries. Nicholas Cloiseau, who was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier (Best Chocolatier Craftsman) in 2007, joined La Maison du Chocolat as head chocolatier. He takes an innovative approach in creating nearly 30 different kinds of chocolates: half of them ganaches, two-thirds are dark chocolate and one-third milk chocolate. Apart from rochers, truffles and chocolate classics, La Maison du Chocolat also has variously coloured macaron of all flavours, with raspberry and dark chocolate, of course, being their popular options.
To spice up the season, La Maison du Chocolat has some festive chocolate products in store. Among the many is the “Cracker Christmas Tree”, a limited handmade piece which requires 30 hours of work by their chocolatiers. The crackers are filled with four different colours of chocolate, Christmas treats, hazelnuts and almonds. The Holiday Cracker is another delicious treat: a handmade bar made with dark chocolate, hazelnuts from Spain and pistachios from Iran. There are also holiday figurines made with milk and dark chocolate if you’d like to decorate your place with something sweet and edible.
Where to find it: Shop 246, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong; Shop 2006, ifc mall; Shop 114, Landmark Prince’s, Central; Shop B03A, Lee Garden One, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; Shop 1010, Elements, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Find out more at lamaisonduchocolat.hk
8/11 Charbonnel et Walker
London’s historic chocolate boutique was founded in 1875 by Mrs Walker, an artisan jewellery and hat box designer, and Madame Charbonnel, an artist adept in making chocolate. For more than a century, their exquisitely designed chocolate boxes have delighted many––including the likes of royals, socialites and screen legends. Charbonnel et Walker is endorsed by the Royal Warrant as one of the few chocolatiers to Her Majesty the Queen. Its other customers have included Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Sir Alec Guinness. Prince Francis of Teck once courted his mistress with its chocolates whereas English playwright Noël Coward requested a box to be delivered to his home every fortnight.
The good news is that the London chocolate boutique launched in Hong Kong for the first time in November, so now you can treat yourself to some fancy yuletide indulgences. The Gingerbread Christmas Truffles are handmade by rolling ground ginger and breadcrumbs in milk chocolate. Eggnog Christmas Truffles pay homage to a classic Christmas tipple with its creamy eggnog centre and a crust infused with brandy, natural vanilla and nutmeg. Then there is the Peppermint Cookie Christmas Truffles which are enrobed in dark chocolate and cookie pieces. Perfect your night with a warming cup of hot chocolate and a plate of Dark Chocolate Mint Thins.
Where to find it: The Landmark Christmas Market, Shop 312-314, 3/F, Landmark Atrium, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at charbonnel.com.hk
9/11 Green Monday
Locally based social venture group Green Monday tackles climate change and animal welfare issues by promoting a green diet. When it comes to sweets and snacks, you can find a careful curation of vegan chocolate brands in Green Common, including Bite Society, founded by long-time vegan Simon Newstead in 2018. “We need to be able to compete with animal products, not only in taste and convenience, but also in price,” he says. Bite Society creates plant-based chocolate snacks which has a milky taste but doesn’t contain dairy contents, palm oil and malt. Its signature products include milky chocolate balls, which are made from puffed rice, cocoa flour, sugar and cocoa butter, salted caramel choc balls as well as crispy rice chocolate bars.
If you’re looking for a bar of chocolate instead of something snacky, Green Common also sells Raw Halo’s organic raw vegan chocolate which is 76 per cent dark. The dense noir bar is made with ethically grown organic cacao in partnership with a social enterprise chocolate factory. The brand also partners with One Tree Planted. For every 50 bars Raw Halo sells, one tree will be planted. Its packaging is 100% plastic-free and recyclable. You can eat to your heart’s desire while you do some good deeds for the environment.
Where to find it: Green Common can be found in nine locations in Hong Kong, including Shop B2, B/F, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at greenmonday.org
10/11 Jean-Paul Hevin Chocolatier
Voted ‘Best in Paris’ for his macaroons, French chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin made his comeback to Hong Kong in 2019 after his two-year interlude from the city. Hévin began his career as a pastry chef protégé under legendary chef Joël Robuchon in Paris. In 1986, he won France’s most prestigious honour for craftsmen as “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” with his skills in chocolate making. This is followed by him being listed in the “Five Chocolate Bar” ranking by France’s Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat (Chocolate Crunchers Club) in 2003.
Inside his boutiques in Paris, six Japanese cities and now Hong Kong you can find a wide range of mostly chocolate desserts: extra dark ganaches, pralinés and milk chocolates enhanced with fruit fillings, spices, caramels and liqueurs, chocolate cakes, tarts, mousses, éclairs, fruit cakes, cocoa cakes, cheesecakes, truffles and hot chocolate, along with his award-winning macaroons.
New to his classic collection are chocolate bonbons, chocolate lollipops, truffle, palets and chocolate bars, with all products crafted from premium cacao beans sourced primarily from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Madagascar.
Where to find it: Shops 1041-1049, Level 1, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong; and Shop 3001, Level 3, Gateway Arcade, 3-27 Canton Road, Harbour City, Tsim Sha TsuiKowloon, Hong Kong. Find out more at jeanpaulhevin.com
11/11 The Butterfly Patisserie
Rosewood’s boutique, Butterfly Patisserie, created quite some noise in the local culinary scene when the hotel opened in 2019 with its innovative pastries served in a setting not unlike a jewellery shop. It shouldn't come as a surprise as the hotel's dessert department is headed by Asia’s executive pastry chef Holger Deh, who started out as a pastry chef and has now accumulated more than two decades of pastry making experience. Before Rosewood, Deh cut his teeth at prime establishments around the world, including the former two-Michelin-starred Tristan in Spain, the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, where he launched the Mandarin Cake Shop, Raffles Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, where he was responsible for the dessert menu during the re-opening phase of Haerlin Restaurant, now one of Germany’s leading gourmet addresses.
In 2011, Deh created the “Holger Deh Or Noir, 71.8 per cent” with partners in France, then implemented a first-of-its-kind ‘customised’ chocolate experience in China. Seven years later, he dreamed up a milk chocolate version, dubbed “Lait D’orby Holger Deh, 45 per cent”. These personally branded chocolate is used for most of his pastries at The Butterfly Patisserie, each being a piece of artwork. His signature Noir 71.5 per cent Chocolate Mille Feuille is a combination of contrasting textures and tastes from the crisp, golden layers and rich, dense chocolate. Deh is also launching a new series of chocolate cakes, including Mont Blanc, Or Noir 71.5 per cent Chocolate Mille Feuille, and Or Noir 71.5 per cent Chocolate Tart.
Where to find it: Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Find out more at rosewoodhkshop.com
See also: The Best Hong Kong Staycations To Book For Christmas 2020