Hidden away down a tiny lane in Loughborough town centre is Chocolate Alchemy, a coffee and chocolate shop set up in 2009.
A church to chocolate, Chocolate Alchemy imports a huge variety of the dark stuff from the four corners of the globe, from sweet and fruity Hawaiian chocolate to dark, deep and bitter Mexican. Chocolate Alchemy also handcrafts its own chocolates.
Upstairs on the first floor development room, the shop/café runs chocolate-making workshops. In the full two-hour workshop, you get coffee on arrival, plus a talk on the origins of cocoa; you then move on to a tasting session in which you try chocolate from nine different countries, before having a go at truffle making and combining flavours. You take home what you make and it’s worth avoiding chocolate for several days beforehand – overdose on the day is obligatory.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the workshop is sampling chocolate grown in different parts of the world. The variations in taste are stunning. The reason they taste so different is because of the conditions in which the beans grow – factors like how much rain and sun they get and soil type, plus more complex things like cross pollination. It’s the same principle as terroir with wine.
10% off all chocolate bars bought in the shop. Please present your card when paying.