Harrods celebrates 150 years of chocolate with the opening of the much-anticipated Chocolate Hall; concluding the final chapter of the four-year restoration of the Food Halls in Harrods’ Knightsbridge store.
The Chocolate Hall is a breath-taking theatre of chocolate, with magical experiences and exciting products to suit all tastes and ages. Customers will be able to enjoy live demonstrations from Harrods own world-renowned chocolatiers, with fresh chocolate handcrafted in full view at the showstopping Harrods Chocolaterie, as well as access to some of the most exclusive confectionery partners and brands from around the world, all within spectacular Grade II* listed surroundings.
Chocolate plays a pivotal role in the history of Harrods. The world-famous department store opened its first confectionery counter in 1870, before beginning its own in-house chocolate production in the early nineteenth century. By the 1970’s, over 100 tonnes of chocolate were produced on-site in the world-famous Knightsbridge store. The opening of the Chocolate Hall marks an important moment in the Harrods journey, as well as a milestone in the broader Masterplan redevelopment of the store; an ambitious £300m investment to refurbish much of the 1,000,000 sq. ft Knightsbridge site. A significant part of the redevelopment has taken place throughout the renowned Harrods Food Halls, a global emporium of premium food and drink. The opening of the Chocolate Hall concludes the extensive Food Halls redevelopment programme.
Harrods’ ambition to be the number one chocolate destination goes beyond design and into new commitments to sustainability and responsible sourcing. Ethical and sustainable sourcing are at the heart of chocolate production at Harrods and the opening of the Chocolate Hall brings with it Harrods’ commitment to only use responsibly-sourced cocoa in all new products and own-brand Harrods chocolate, through working with accredited suppliers who either buy cocoa from farms that participate in certification schemes, or who buy directly from the farms themselves, ensuring that farmers are paid a premium. Harrods is proud to pay a premium for its cocoa and to support third-party initiatives that drive social and economic development amongst cocoa farming communities.
This ambitious pledge reflects Harrods’ broader commitment to bring more sustainably produced and sourced products into the business, and to celebrate those brands which uphold ethical credentials.
The Chocolate Hall has been brought to life by award-winning designers David Collins Studio; the same design team behind the broader Harrods Food Halls transformation project. The restoration pays tribute to Harrods’ longstanding heritage in chocolate by creating an environment that reflects the Halls original Edwardian grandeur. Meticulous processes have been used to preserve the architecture, including restoring the extensive tilework by hand, and replacing those tiles which could not be restored with handmade replicas, as well as restoring the impressive granite and marble floor. The finest materials from around the world have been used to create an opulent surrounding, whilst modern technology has been incorporated throughout, such as state of the art climate-controlled counters to store confectionery, ensuring no compromise on product freshness or taste.
From the moment customers enter the Chocolate Hall, they will be treated to a complete sensory experience. A mesmerizing light-well, crafted from a backlit alabaster, accentuating The Harrods Chocolaterie, whilst also playing homage to the former viewing gallery that was part of the original architecture. The Harrods Chocolaterie is undoubtedly the crowning glory of the Chocolate Hall, where the magic of chocolate creation comes to life. Here, customers can witness the spectacle of live chocolate theatre, as Harrods chefs make everything from fresh bonbons and indulgent filled bars to chocolate-dipped confit fruit, all in full view. The only UK department store to make and sell its own chocolate in-house, Harrods remains the ultimate destination for showstopping food experiences and the most exceptional confectionery produce.
The Chocolate Hall is proudly home to the most coveted confectionery and luxury chocolate brands, including To’ak, made with one of the rarest varieties of Ecuadorian Nacional cacao beans and handcrafted using an extraordinary fermentation process. Eleven concession boutiques can be found in the Chocolate Hall, including heritage favourites such as William Curley and Pierre Marcolini. Meanwhile, Harrods has partnered with Belgian artisan chocolatier Godiva to reimagine the iconic Godiva chocolate-coated strawberry, with the creation of the theatrical Dipping Station. The ultimate mid-shopping snack, customers will be able to choose from sumptuous fresh strawberries to dip into Godiva’s heavenly rich chocolate.
Moreover, the Chocolate Hall remains the home of Harrods own-label signature confectionery, with enduring favourites including the signature Gold Bar, boasting a recipe that remains unchanged since the first time it was produced 24 years ago, and still handcrafted by an independent family-run business in Belgium. Meanwhile, the iconic Harrods chocolate covered fruit and nuts offer a selection of over twenty fruit and nut ranges, from roasted almonds to Amarena cherries, with each product made in Germany by expert craftsmen. Harrods is proud to have one of the largest chef brigades in Europe, including Head Pastry Chef, Alistair Birt, a previous winner of the UK Chocolate Master contest.
Michael Ward, Managing Director at Harrods, comments: “The opening of our redeveloped chocolate halls is a hugely special moment for us. It is the final stage in our ambitious investment and redesign of our historic Food Halls; a project that has continued with passion and drive despite the challenges of the last year. It is also a perfect demonstration of what Harrods does best; harnessing the greatest strengths from our heritage while re-imaging luxury for a modern customer.
The launch of the Chocolate Hall not only brings the most evocative chocolate craftsmanship to life in an unparalleled setting, but also marks an important commitment towards responsible sourcing and welfare standards, something that we are proud to uphold as the cornerstone of chocolate production at Harrods.”
Harrods Chocolate Hall is situated on the Ground Floor within the Food Halls.