PLACEText: Sayaka Hirakawa
Chocolates, chocolates, and chocolates!
As soon as opening the green door with “COCOMAYA” emblazoned in gold, you may feel like you are floating, otherwise, feel free to scream with joy. Here they are, chocolates, chocolates, and chocolates! If it is a dream – and dreams sometimes tease you – you always wake up before even touching anything, but here, you can enjoy the taste as well. Yes, you are standing in a candy-coated dream world, but this one is really real.
“COCOMAYA” the chocolate boutique, just opened in February this year on Connaught Street, which is an up-coming area of Marble Arch, alongside lots of new, trendy small shops and cafes. The creators of this boutique are three of London’s key players in fashion and lifestyle. Walid Al Damirji now has his own accessories collection. By Walid, reworks vintage finds into high-end accessories. Joel Bernstein has a long background in fashion and interiors and most recently worked as Head of Concept at Liberty, Gail Mejia is the founder of Baker & Spice, one of the UK’s most successful boutique-style food retailers. These special talents have known each other nearly 20 years by now.
Why did they start the chocolate boutique? “Simply because we love chocolate.” They said. “And also we were a little bit fed up with the competitive fashion world. But a chocolate is something happy and positive. Everyone smiles when you offer chocolates.”
Caramel, sour cherry, orange, lavender, mix spice, honey, Assam chai, ginger, cognac, raspberry, etc etc…. The numbers of the flavours are now more than forty, even though they started with only twenty. Each chocolate is designed like precious jewellery with beautiful colour, sometimes gold dust to benefit not only the taste but also the sight. If you wonder what to do, don’t hesitate to ask Jonathan, the very talented chocolatier working in the kitchen inside the shop. He will always find the right one for you. Non-dairy products, less sugar, with liquor, anything your heart desires. The chocolate doesn’t have any preservatives or artificial colours and used good quality cacao beans from South America, in keeping with Fair-trade policies.
Green degrade effect walls, marble top counters and pink high gloss display units act as a backdrop to the menagerie of antique glass and mirrored pieces used to display product. Butterflies dotted on walls lend a touch of fantasy. The glass dome and antique cake stands are selected by the owners and make chocolate time more special and elegant. All can be bought in the shop. The selection of chocolates with beautiful settings sometimes appears in Alexander McQueen’s press parties or the opulent reception party of a wealthy Middle-Eastern couple.
“What does chocolate mean to you?” “Happiness and health” answers Walid. “Because all the ingredients are organic and of good quality, you never get bad skin or even fat unless you eat lots and lots.” True. Chocolates make you feel happy, that’s for sure. So when you feel down, or maybe need some help, try to find this green door. If you open it, I am sure that everything will be very, very sweet.
Open: 11:00 – 19:00
Address: 35 Connaught Street, London W2 2AZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7706 2770
Text: Sayaka Hirakawa
Photos: Sayaka Hirakawa