GOING COCO FOR COCOMAYA





Self-restraint and self-control are de rigueur when you are a self-confessed chocoholic and also live above one of the most delectable bakeries and chocolateries in London.




 It is not unusual for A-Gent of Style to smell from his flat the mouth-watering and quite frankly mesmeric concoctions made on site that permeate the house day and night. The intoxicating smell is enough to sate your appetite but more than often, the allure is too much to resist.

Located in the heart of Connaught Village in W2 between Marylebone, Notting Hill and Mayfair, Cocomaya is an Alice in Wonderland, a Midsummer Night’s Dream or a Tim Walker-shot cornucopia of succulent delicacies and dainties.




An artisanal bakery with an adjacent chocolate boutique round the corner (both decked out with continental-style tables and chairs on the pavement, themselves embellished by seasonal shrubs), Cocomaya has the power to enthrall any visitor with the sheer spectacle of its hand-made delights and its welcoming atmopshere (the staff are ever so charming).

Renowned for its exquisite quality – only the best organic products and South American cocoa are sourced here – and creativity, Cocomaya attracts a returning and loyal clientèle and has become a stopping place for gluttons gastronomes in search for one of the best cakes, pastries and chocolates the capital has to offer.

Cocomaya is the brainchild of two fashion and lifestyle players – accessories designer Walid al Damirji and former Liberty Head of Concept Joel Bernstein – who decided to follow their heart and their passion for fine chocolate and created Cocomaya in 2009 and masterminded the whole concept as well as the interior design.

The Bakery, Connaught Street

 

On one side, you will find the bakery with its entrance on Connaught street. Sheathed in pale, bleached timber on the floor and on the walls, the chalet-like room has tastefully and gleefully been decorated with various touches: cool white marble to top the piled-up displays and the tables (there is one oblong communal table and one bar-like table), bright olivey green paint in the niches, joyful packaging (I particularly like their chocolate boxes fronted with vintage postcards) and charming sets of unmatching antique crockery and cake stands.

Expect to find ‘Morning Cakes’ (my ‘to-go’ morning choice), pistachio polenta cakes, cinnamon buns, chocolate fondants to name but a few as well as seeded breads, savoury and fruity salads, healthy sandwiches amongst the more traditional pastries and the newly arrived ‘Cronut’, that sinful, hybrid version of a donut and a croissant – A-Gent of Style tried every flavour so far (chocolate, coconut and salted caramel) purely in the name of research…






The Chocolaterie, Porchester Place

 

On the other side, on Porchester Place, is the chocolaterie – the campiest and kitchiest of the two spaces (ergo my favourite). A bit more Mad Hatter Tea Party, this parlour is an Aladdin’s cave replete with irresistible chocolate creations that sparkle like jewels as they rest on pretty plates or marble slabs. Whilst some of them remain more classic in their shapes (truffles, nut clusters, bars) and flavours (white, milk, dark, bitter dark), others take on a much more experimental and quirky turn: mechanic tools boxes, coins, daisies, edible glittery lizards, skulls and stilettos, and the chocolates are available for instance in Bramley Apple, Sea Salt Caramel, Garden Mint, Sicilian Lemon, Banoffee, Sour Cherry and many other scrumptious characteristics.

There is a long English country wooden kitchen table and chairs often used for customised tea parties (Keira Knightley celebrated her hen party here) in front of a magical mural adorned with an other-worldly scene featuring a giant pelican and butterflies on a olivey background. Set at the back of the room is a mirrored vitrine abounding in beautiful vintage crockery and ‘curiosities’ (for sale), with wild branches and flowers on top to add to the wonder.

 Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed that “Moderation in all things, especially moderation.”, an adage A-Gent of Style has to reluctantly remind himself every day.



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