We’re used to gorging ourselves on chocolate at Christmas and Easter, but did you know there’s a day dedicated to the sweet stuff in the middle of summer?
Here’s how to get your chocolate fix in the city on 7th July – World Chocolate Day.
The chocolate treatment
If you’re prepping for a beach holiday, you might not want to scoff chocolate, so why not slather yourself in it and look better for doing so. One of the treatments on offer at the Radisson Blu Edwardian spa is the Sienna Chocolate Orange Massage. For this, the therapist uses melted dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants and helps rejuvenate dull-looking skin, along with a restorative oil that has subtle hints of rose, lavender and sweet orange to calm the mind. A combination of hand, forearm and elbow movements are used during the hour-long full body massage to knead and pummel knots and weary muscles. For the best results, follow the treatment with a sauna or steam session, otherwise leave the oil on for as long as possible. £75 for 60 minutes.
The chocolate lock-in
The term ‘lock-in’ suggests fun, but while it usually means enjoying a few drinks after closing hours, at Hotel Chocolat on Market Street you get to tuck into chocolate treats without the crowd. Once the other shoppers have headed home, select guests get to enjoy a glass of bubbles in the store before sampling a selection of specially chosen chocolates. Each lock-in, which last 45 minutes, has a different theme. During one session it may well be herbal infusions with cocoa shells; another, it might be the best white chocolate or favourite seasonal fruits. Each guest is given a Secret Card, which entitles them to £10 off anything they buy on the night, along with an envelope that could contain vouchers or even something on the house. £10 for 45 minutes.
The chocolate workshop
Channel your inner Willy Wonka by trying your hand at creating chocolate at The Original Chocolate Making Workshop at Townhouse Hotel. Billed as an introduction to the art of chocolate making, first up is a brief breakdown on the history of chocolate including a ‘bean-to-bar discovery’ and advice on how to develop a connoisseur’s taste for cocoa. Then it’s time to begin making your own chocolate in the form of a giant button with dipping forks for a fancy marbled effect. Once that’s mastered, it’s time to give fresh cream truffles a whirl. Showcase your creative side by using dark chocolate ganache, fudge, white chocolate flakes, honeycomb and strawberry curls to decorate. At the end of two hours, you should have your very own goody bag of chocolate, which you can give to someone or gorge on yourself. £50 for two hours.
The chocolate shop
For a generous afternoon tea with a chocolate twist, head to Cocoa Cabana in West Didsbury. The boutique shop is run by Sarah Gallacher, who trained at Manchester’s Slattery’s, and is the stuff of dreams for chocolate lovers. It has won a raft of awards since opening in 2012, which is hardly surprising given the huge pride that’s taken in using local ingredients to make the handmade creations. There are chocolate brioche toasted sandwiches, chocolate fondue, gooey brownies, truffles, chocolate shards and slabs as well as cakes and hot chocolate on the menu. They’ve also recently launched their very own chocolate making experiences, available Monday to Saturdays, priced £39 per person. To qualify for a 20% discount on the chocolate making experience, just quote ‘I Love Manchester’ when booking.
The chocolate concoction
If you’re looking to satisfy your chocolate craving in style, pop into Black Milk in the Northern Quarter. Here you’ll find freakshakes, those mega mashups of drink and dessert with names like Triple Oreo CheeseShake, The Cookie Dough, and Reese’s Melt and Marshmallow Rodeo, that are as calorific as their names suggest. From cookies and cream to ice cream and fudge brownies, there isn’t much that isn’t thrown into these shakes piled high with chocolatey goodness. And if you’re not in the area, you can get them delivered straight to your door.