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A High Bar: Chocolate at Harrods

Feature: Long Read
Words by Amy Broomfield

Thirteen years ago, executive pastry chef Markus Bohr joined Harrods at a time when its chocolate selection was good and broad but unrefined. It had come a long way from its early days of cocoa creations: according to our archives, the store first sold bars in 1870 and began making its own in-house in 1897. 

But as Bohr began his tenure, he was tasked with elevating Harrods’ status as a world-leading chocolate maker and purveyor – a mission that began with creating an exclusive couverture. “We teamed up with a company called Cacao Barry, which at the time was a small business with a laboratory for making your own chocolate,” Bohr recalls. It was there that he created a flavour profile that would become the backbone of Harrods’ bonbons, bars and patisserie.

Markus Bohr, chocolatier making chocolate for the Harrods Chocolate hall

Executive pastry chef Markus Bohr mid-masterpiece.

A Rich History

Besides tea, Harrods showed a dedication to selling chocolate from its early days; one catalogue from 1903 reads: “All [chocolate is] made on the premises on French principles by French workmen, from the finest materials obtainable.” There was even a space where customers could watch the artisans at work.

Markus Bohr

"Our couverture is one of our pillars; part of our uniqueness. It’s a fantastic chocolate, and the only place you can get it is at Harrods."

A Rich History at harrods

Operating the chocolate-blending machine in 1959. Image courtesy of Harrods Company Archive.

A Rich History

Besides tea, Harrods showed a dedication to selling chocolate from its early days; one catalogue from 1903 reads: “All [chocolate is] made on the premises on French principles by French workmen, from the finest materials obtainable.” There was even a space where customers could watch the artisans at work.

The Recipe for Success

This year, Harrods is celebrating 150 years of chocolate with the much-anticipated opening of the Chocolate Hall. Naturally, it comes with the best of the best confectionery partners from all over the world – think William Curley, Pierre Marcolini and To’ak, to name but a few. Of course, the store will continue with its own single-estate bars, supplied by ethical producer Firetree. And then there are all of the enduring favourites: an unrivalled selection of chocolate-covered fruit and nuts (including additions like dark chocolate-coated Amarena cherries); an array of hand-finished truffles; and the signature Harrods Gold Bar, made to a recipe unchanged for more than 20 years. 

Shop Chocolate
chocolatier making decadent chocolate for Harrods
Top of the Chocs

 

The crowning glory of this new space will be the Chocolaterie. Here, in the centre of the hall, customers will be able to witness the magic of each in-house creation, with chefs making everything from fresh bonbons and indulgent filled bars to chocolate-dipped confit fruit, all in full view. It’s a model that was successfully tried and tested just under four years ago with the opening of the bakery. “Our bread selection used to be made by someone else and, because of that, it never stood out,” Bohr says. “We made it experiential, and we will do the same with the Chocolaterie; this is the kind of space people will talk about and remember.” 

CONFECTION WITH CONVICTION


"Harrods has pledged that all new products in the Chocolate Hall will be made from responsibly sourced cocoa – and is targeting 2023 to apply that benchmark right across the board. Consider it part of a larger promise: when it comes to food, Harrods will never stop raising the bar."

Dark chocolate

Chocolate Hall

Craving more of the sweet stuff? The new Chocolate Hall – including The Chocolaterie – is now officially open.

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