Posted on 07 / 28 / 2012
[Un?]fortunately, I live only a short walk from the Chocolate Tree and visit on an all-too-regular basis -- I absolutely LOVE and SALIVATE OVER this place.
The main event is the huge menu of hot chocolate drinks, almost all of which are either vegan or can be veganised. You can have a mild 55% cocoa content or a pungent 90% -- or anywhere in between, including varieties from all over the world (Ugandan, Mayan etc). Most of the hot chocolates come in a big chunky mug -- you get loads for your money! For those of you not so into chocolate (although, why are you here if so?!), there are very good coffees and a huge range of teas, too.
There is also an amazing range of eye-wateringly beautiful cakes and tarts. Very few are vegan but many are either dairy-free or egg-free, and some are gluten free too. There is a vegan variety and when it's available (it always has been whenever I've asked for it) IT IS UTTERLY AMAZING. Very, very rich though-- my advice would be DON'T attempt to drink a hot chocolate AND eat a piece of cake in one sitting! Fortunately, the staff will happily box up any cake you can't eat so you can take it away. You can order a whole cake for a birthday or other occasion if you give them three days' notice or so. The sorbets, which are all vegan, are also delicious and there is usually a big range to choose or mix and match from. I particularly recommend the cherry!
The Chocolate Tree also does a great line in delicious takeaway bits and pieces including delicious chocolate bars, about 50% of which are vegan (try the sea salt and caramel!). They also do an a m a z i n g vegan hazelnut/chocolate spread (essentially posh Nutella), which is quite pricey but totally worth it, and you can buy your own cocoa powder so you can make your own hot chocolate at home. Om nom nom!
The service is generally great, too -- though sometimes the place is super busy (it's a small space), and the staff understandably get a bit rushed. It's worth going in the morning when it's a bit quieter so you can get a seat :)
Huge mugs of hot chocolate, OMG vegan cake, Lovely chocolate bars etc!
Can get busy - go early!