November 6, 2007

Launch of William Curley’s new Mayfair shop

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Written by: Martin Christy

Today saw the much awaited opening of the old Shepherd Market Chocolate Society shop under it’s new William Curley branding. The shop has been completely stripped and refitted in Curley’s minimalist, Japanese influenced style, which does seem somewhat starker than the original and rather warmer Richmond shop. A few finishing touches are yet to happen though, and these may give it a more homely feel.

If the attendance of the opening night party is anything to go by, the shop should prove very popular – it was actually hard to move around, despite the spacious lower ‘dessert bar’ area. This features an open kitchen where an à la carte menu of desserts are prepared to order, a fantastic concept new to the UK.

So popular, in fact, it was hard to even get close enough to photograph, as you can see in this shot. The dessert bar is somewhere down there!

I hope to write about a more full and detailed visit to the dessert bar in calmer circumstances soon. Meanwhile there was plenty of the excellent pastries and chocolates we are used to from the Richmond shop – on offer in the substantial display cabinets, and now also available in William’s concession in the new John Lewis food hall in Oxford Street.

There’s one more Chocolate Society shop to convert into a William Curley establishment (the Belgravia branch), which will leave William with four outlets, making a great contribution to the rise of London as a centre for fine chocolate. It’s also good news that it will now be a lot easier for chocolate aficionados to sample Curley’s offering without trekking all the way down to Richmond.

I think the Mayfair shop will become a real chocolate destination, and though you’re likely to come away with a somewhat lighter wallet, there are some good value items to be had.

The loaf cakes in particular are a snip at only £9 for a full size cake, which you could easily remove the wrapping from and claim as your own lovingly hand baked creation for the end of a dinner party. Catch them while you can!

About the Author

Martin Christy
Martin Christy is Seventy%’s editor and founder and is a leading voice in the chocolate industry, promoting the cause of fine chocolate and fine cacao and those who produce them. With twenty years’ experience of fine chocolate, he has travelled extensively visiting cocoa plantations and meeting the world’s top producers and is a consultant to the fine chocolate and cacao growing industries worldwide. Martin is Judging Director of the International Chocolate Awards, which he founded in the UK with Kate Johns of Chocolate Week. He is also Acting Chairman of the new fine cacao and chocolate industry association, Direct Cacao and is a member of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative Tasting Panel. He is also a freelance writer about fine chocolate, contributing to UK magazines and several books about fine chocolate.



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