Welcome to a special chocolate-themed edition of Weekend Wonders, to help your long weekend go off with a bang
Catch up over chocolate
Forget stale, bland scones and embrace Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein-inspired fancies. This Confessions of a Chocoholic chocolate afternoon tea (yes, chocolate afternoon tea) is bound to leave you feeling full and satisfied. The tea begins with open sandwiches, then chocolate chip scones served with chocolate praline spread, cupcakes and miniature chocolate fancies served on an edible chocolate plate. Their Easter version includes a chocolate-filled duck and Egg-themed cakes. Wash it down with a cuppa from a selection of teas (their incredibly helpful staff will guide you through your choice) – recognised with The Tea Guild’s seal of approval.
Confessions of a Chocoholic ; from £32.50; Podium Restaurant and Bar, weekdays (2pm – 6pm), Saturday and Sunday (Noon - 7pm); London Hilton, 22 Park Lane London W1K 1BE
Take the kids to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory
We can’t believe it’s been 50 years since we first read about Charlie Bucket and Oompa-Loompas, and to celebrate, Kew Gardens are transforming into the beloved chocolate factory for the little ones. Until Monday, there will be Chocolate Factory rooms, where they can create their own Willy Wonka-inspired chocolate bar, concoct their own everlasting gobstopper or take part in a Whipple-Scrumptious Plant Hunt. There will also be arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, photo sessions in the Great Glass Lift and, of course, chocolatey treats. Don’t deny them this Golden Ticket!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Kew Gardens ; times and pricing dependent on activity; Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB
Channel your inner Carrie
Ever tried a Chocolate Martini? Yes you read that right. A combination of Absolut Vanilla Vodka, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, Briottet Crème de Cacao shaken with cream and cocoa powder, this delicious drink is a GTG favourite. You can find it tucked away in the heart of the City in London’s vibrant cocktail bar, Dirty Martini. With additional locations in Covent Garden and Mayfair, this stylish night spot boasts bespoke Martinis and signature cocktails. You can also try a Almond and Hibiscus Martini, Strawberry and Vanilla Martini or a Lavender and Rose Martini. Yummy, yet sophisticated.
Become a chocolatier
Regardless of what you were like at school, this is one lesson guaranteed to keep your attention from start to finish. Jamie Oliver’s Recipease chocolate classes involve chefs teaching you how to make a creamy chocolate and vanilla ganache, truffles, a light chocolate mousse and Jamie’s sticky chocolate sauce. At the end of the class you get to tuck into one of the treats with a glass of wine and take the rest home – if there’s any left, that is.
Recipease ; £60 per person; two hour class; located in Clapham Junction, Notting Hill and Brighton
Get your nails kitsch cute
Over at GTG HQ, we can’t resist a good animal video on YouTube, which is why we love these new Elegant Touch House of Holland Kitty Kitsch nails. Featuring the cutest Easter bunnies, there are also adorable lambs, piglets, puppies and kittens. Each set includes 24 nails in 10 different sizes, a nail file and nail glue, making it easy to apply them at home. Who said your nails couldn’t look cute while you reach for the chocolate?
House of Holland Kitty Kitsch Nails; £7.99; Available at Elegant Touch
Discover the wonders of a cocoa bean
More powerful than Jack’s magic beans, the cocoa bean has numerous powers, and that’s why we swear by Cocoa Juvenate, Hotel Chocolat’s beauty collection. All of their products are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and, obviously, cocoa. Our favourites are this Treatment Candle , £24, to fill your room with exotic floral scents, Body Butter , £21, containing argan oil for silky smooth skin and Hand Cream , £19, a combination of cocoa butter and honey and bearberry extract to restore vitality to your hands.
Smother yourself in chocolate luxury
Head over to Champneys luxurious day spa for a Chocolate Wrapper treatment . The 55 minute session starts with a full body exfoliation followed by a tasty chocolate body wrap. Breathe in the delicious scent while you get a scalp and body massage. Pure chocolate indulgence.
Champneys Day Spa; £55 for 55minutes; located in Chichester, Enfield, Guildford, Milton Keynes, St Albans and Tunbridge Wells; book here
Dine out on Easter treats
This Easter, luxurious five-star hotel Landmark London is hosting a newly-introduced Easter Afternoon Tea and Chocolate Afternoon Tea. Set in their stunning Winter Garden, there will be themed treats, such as a ‘white chocolate and griottine cherry nest’ and a ‘lemon curd ganache and thyme macaroon’. Or if you’re experiencing a major sweet teeth, their Chocolate Afternoon Tea has ‘caraibe chocolate and peanut tart with salted caramel’ and a ‘chocolate crème brulee infused with chilli’ on the menu.
The Landmark Hotel ; The Easter Afternoon Tea, £40 per person and The Chocolate Afternoon Tea, £42 per person; Monday to Friday (3.00pm – 5.30pm), Saturday & Sunday (1.30pm – 6.00pm);The Landmark Hotel, 22 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 6JQ
Make your legs look great and smell even better
With summer fast approaching, the legs are coming out and there’s no better way to face the waxing seat than with a chocolate and hazelnut wax at Strip Boutique's chocolate-themed room. Or head over to Biba’s Hair & Beauty for a Lycon chocolate brazilian wax. One way to indulge in a treat without worrying about the calories.
Strip ; prices dependent on treatment; located in London, Essex, Bristol and Liverpool
Go loco for coco
Indulge in stalls upon stalls of chocolatey treats at Oxford’s 2014 Chocolate Festival. This year’s event is bigger and better than ever, boasting a tasting lounge with chocolate experts of Seventy%, a cocoa spa with Hotel Chocolat, hot chocolates at the Chocolate Cafe, a brownie trail and a Health Zone where you can test the best free-from and raw chocolate. You’ll have to be rolled out of the door on your way out.
The Chocolate Festival, Oxford ; 18 – 19 April; 10am – 6pm; £5 on the door and £5.75 online, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1BX
Take a moment
Take advantage of the extended weekend and take a break from your hectic lifestyle. The Lake District National Park boasts the best in nature and has so much on offer, from walks along their breathtaking views on the hills to cycling through Whinlatter Forest, boat rides and activities for the children. It’s the perfect opportunity to sit back with a glass of wine and relax.
Lake District ; pricing and accommodation dependent on package
Repair your skin with some R&R
After your long weekend of food, fun, chocolate and maybe a few more glasses than usual, this Elemental Herbology Weekend Facial Kit is just what is needed to prepare your skin for a back to work ‘look-at-how-fresh-I-look-but-might-not-necessarily-feel’ glow. The kit is a trio set including their Facial Glow, Facial Detox and Facial Souffle. This nifty little kit allows you to exfoliate, deeply cleanse and hydrate, leaving you with a healthy and radiant complexion. Score.
Elemental Herbology Weekend Facial Kit; £30; available here