Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montezuma's chocolate and cafe, Kingston Upon Thames



Last week, we went on an extended looping outing that incorporated Kingston Upon Thames to the south-west of London, and Morden to the south. Kingston had a few bike shops that we wanted to visit, and turned out to be a delightful area in all sorts of ways (river, parks, cycle paths galore, nice shops, Hampton Court Palace...). Morden is home to Morden Hall Park, run by the National Trust.

River Thames at Kingston Upon Thames

While wandering Kingston, we stumbled across a store and cafe for Montezuma's Chocolates. I have mentioned Montezuma's before, and you may remember me raving about their dark chocolate with orange and geranium back in August. As a family run British business that focuses on innovative chocolate made with fair trade ingredients, there is a lot to love about the brand. They also produce a lot of vegan bars - their dark chocolate blocks are dairy free and they go to the effort of labeling products as vegan when they are. So, I was pretty delighted to find an actual Montezuma's store.



The shop store stocked a huge range of Montezuma's chocolates, including the bars and buttons you can buy in supermarkets as well as individual truffles and chocolate bark / pieces purchasable by weight. Living up to their vegan friendly nature, all vegan products were clearly labelled on the shelf.

In addition to their own chocolates, the shop carried Kingdom chocolate bars, which I hadn't seen or heard of before. Kingdom Chocolate is a new British brand that started in 2013. Like Montezuma's, they focus on innovative flavours and fair trade ingredients. Apparently their products are also available in Waitrose.

I was impressed at the price of the blocks, which were on par with brand chocolate you'd buy in a supermarket. The 100g Kingdom blocks were £1.95, and the Montezuma blocks £2.20, or you could buy in bulk to save. It cost a similar amount to buy chocolate bark or pieces by weight.

Montezuma chocolate with a marzipan and cherry filling

We didn't have time to linger in the upstairs cafe but given how much we liked Kingston town, I'm happy to have an excuse to visit that in the future. I did, however, buy two new to me chocolate blocks, as pictured above, and a 100g slab of dark Montezuma chocolate with a marzipan and cherry filling.

The pedestrianised shopping area of Kingston - complete with bike pumps and flowers

The Montezuma dark chocolate 'Sea Salt' block included lime and sea salt, and struck a subtle balance between the semi-sweet chocolate, zesty citrus, and contrasting salt. It's the sort of chocolate to savour, as the flavours come through in waves. Salt containing chocolate has become fairly standard, but I still think it's difficult to get the right balance of salt relative to other ingredients - this block hit the mark. The 70% Peruvian cocoa was a lovely backdrop too.

Montezuma's 'Sea Dog' chocolate with lime and salt

I was pretty excited to see the Kingdom dark chocolate mousse block, as I love all things mousse-like and it can be hard to find that texture in vegan products. Based on the ingredient list, I am guessing the mousse filling for this block was made from coconut oil, glucose syrup and vanilla. All of the Kingdom cocoa comes from Uganda, and this block had 61% cocoa solids.

Kingdom dark chocolate mousse bar

As for the marzipan and cherry chocolate slab? I didn't take a note of the ingredient list, or cocoa percentage, but can say that it was quite an amazing chocolate combination. As shown below, the marzipan filling was enclosed within thick chocolate walls. Cherry pieces were studded throughout, and provided a sweet-tart contrast to the sweetness of the marzipan and semi-sweet chocolate exterior.


For a day that wasn't scheduled to include a chocolate shop, the Montezuma's store was a wonderful find. After Kingston, we also enjoyed Morden Hall Park, which was showcasing early autumn foliage at its best.


Given my focus on desserts this week, it is perhaps appropriate to conclude with a comment on chocolate as dessert. Generally, I am of the view that it is a snack as much as a dessert. However, when the chocolate is as good as that described above, it can be the best dessert imaginable.

The Kingson Upon Thames Montezuma's store and cafe is located at 4 Fife Road, Kingson Upon Thames, Greater London, KT1 1SZ. It is open daily, although the cafe has slightly shorter hours than the main store.

Details of the Montezuma brand can be found at http://www.montezumas.co.uk/ and details of the Kingdom brand at http://www.kingdomchocolate.co.uk/ .

Have you had any new chocolate discoveries lately?

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This post is part of my participation in the 2014 Vegan Month of Food. This week I am focusing on dessert options.

Previous 2014 Vegan MoFo posts:
Breakfasts-                                                          Snacks-
#1 - Vegan French toast                                                                                
#6 - Chocolate coated banana chips
#2 - Apple and strawberry muesli                                                             
#7 - Barbecue inspired nori snacks
#3 - Mango coconut buckwheat breakfast pudding                              
#8 - Carob latte
#4 - Tips for a vegan breakfast on the go                                                
#9 - Tide Tables Café
#5 - Chickpea pancakes with spicy kale and mango                             #10 - Dark chocolate and espresso almonds

Main meal options-                                         Desserts-
#11 - Moroccan tagine                                                                                 #16 - Liquorice cake
#12 - Teriyaki tofu                                                                                        #17 - Lemon-tahini potato fudge
#13 - Sesame crusted carrot noodles                                                        #18 - Fruity chocolate marshmallow dessert pizza

6 comments:

  1. I love Montezuma's chocolate, but I've never seen the slab with marzipan and cherry filling. It looks utterly scrumptious! I'm going to have to see if it's available online x

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    1. Isn't it a wonderful brand? I'm not sure if the slabs are available online, but they do have a few cafes / stores around, so look out for them if you are elsewhere in the UK!

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  2. Dark chocolate with sea salt is one of the best things ever!

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  3. We have a favourite lime and salt chocolate we buy at the local farmers market - it is such a great flavour combo. The marzipan and mousse chocolates also look great - I can see lots of good reasons to return to kingston (wonder if I have been there as I have been to hampton court palace many years back - did you visit the palace or can you just visit the gardens for no charge?)

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    Replies
    1. We didn't get to the palace, sadly - it is on my To Visit list (high up there in fact!) but we have been holding out to after the summer tourist season. I think we're pretty much there now, so I hope to get back down soon :)

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