Whilst Jill’s been gadding round Andalucia (envious, moi?) my treats have been home spun but no poorer for that; I’m delighted to share a couple of very special places I’ve just stumbled across, and I didn’t need a passport or the patience of a saint to endure airport hell.
Anne White and Kate Shepherd were best mates at Sheffield Uni around eight years ago, and worked together in the shop they now own. Fresh out of college with no cash and the incumbent owners selling up, they persuaded the bank to give them a business loan and hey presto, Cocoa was re-born! What these two don’t know about chocolate you could fit on the back of a bar of Green & Blacks.
As part of their self-education, they spent a month on the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, working in the jungle, picking pods, collecting coffee beans and watched them being turned into chocolate (and I’m thrilled to be able to report that the 60% cocoa bar is stunning). They’re currently studying at the Chocolate Academy in Banbury (I know! Why didn’t I know about this place when I was making bad career decisions?) in order to create their own recipes.
The modest terraced shop/cafe is utterly charming; more choc than you can shake a stick at in the front, a cute vintage sitting room at the back full of sweeties old and new – a fascinating space complete with frilly lampshades and shabby chic furniture, whilst upstairs the chilled Cocoa lounge beckons, all muslin drapes and embroidered, be-jewelled cushions, perfect for drinking hot chocolate and munching on a cupcake whilst people watching on Eccy Road. An absolute gem of a place.
Cocoa, 462 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11 8PX T: 0114 268 5050 www.cocoawonderland.co.uk