At last: something to brighten those cloudy, chilly days: the joy that is Chocolate Week is back in town - with enough events, tastings, special restaurant menus and drinks to keep you going all week long. Here, for all the chocoholics among you - are some of the highlights.
Chocolate for dinner
There are all sorts of chocolate themed menus on offer, including a four course extravaganza at Coq d'Argent - we like the sound of the roasted quail main course, with celeriac, girolles, prunes and coco nibs, and an entire gourmand tasting menu at Plateau.
Masterchef finalist Tony Rudd is creating a chocolate pop-up dinner at the Jones Family Project in Shoreditch and there's another chocolate supper club at Southwark Cathedral on Wednesday 13th, including roasted venison with sauteed sprout tops and a Mababu chocolate jus.
And we're also liking the sound of The Ginger Pig's chocolate sausage roll. They've joined up with Rococo Chocolates for this - it's Ginger Pig traditional sausage meat, combined with Rococo’s single origin Dominican Republic 63% chocolate and studded with a handful of cocoa nibs for extra crunch, wrapped in puff pastry. They're £4 each and available from the Ginger Pig on Moxon Street all week long.
You can seriously go to town on special desserts. One of the picks of the bunch for us has to be the cherry and chocolate knickerbocker glory at Jason Atherton's Social Eating House - frankly, they had us when they mentioned "textures of dark and white brownie nestled on a cloud of whipped cream".
There's a chocolate fondant 'burger' at Sackville's, sandwiched between almond macarons. And a total extravaganza at the Savoy, which is going all out with 12 special desserts and 12 hand crafted chocolates. No wonder they're calling it the Temptation Wheel.
If you fancy a full chocolate afternoon tea, you can find them at the Bulgari hotel, the Intercontinental Park Lane and Lancaster London, while master chocolatier Paul A Young has his own take on tea at Harvey Nicks.
Drink and be merry
If you prefer your pudding in liquid form - there's plenty on offer. The Lady Ottoline in Bloomsbury will be using single origin bars from Mast Brothers to create an exclusive menu of artisan martinis. At Bluebird in Chelsea there's a 'Death by Chocolate' cocktail featuring chocolate raspberry vodka, cherry liqueur, chambord and mozart chocolate liqueur - served with a chocolate mousse on the side. Oof.
Divine have come up with a special cocktail in conjunction with the fair trade spirits firm Fair, available around town. And bean-to-bar makers Madecasse are launching a chocolate beer in collaboration with Tap East.
The Chocolate Show
Highlight of the week will be the three day Chocolate Show at London's Olympia between 16th-18th October - inlcuding a specialist craft chocolate area run by Cocoa Runners, with all sorts of tastings and talks. There'll be plenty of opportunity to watch cooking demonstrations, buy and sample chocolate from all over the world, book into masterclasses, and even see a chocolate fashion show. Tickets are £15 on the door, £12.50 in advance.
But you'll probably find us at the special pop-up dessert bar - a joint venture between patisserie Belle Epoque and the French high-end chocolate firm Valrhona. We can't wait to try out the 'Dulcey and Fig' made with their signature blond chocolate - not to mention the 'Four Colour Tart' selection. Each dessert will be £4 - and there'll be a Valrhona hot chocolate to go with them, too. Oh, la la.