On day two of my cursory chocolate tour of Yorkshire I visited the Monk Bar Chocolatiers in the Shambles area or York after visiting Bon Bons in Leeds the day before. I’d come across them recently when researching chocolatiers for a new website but the problem with buying chocolates online is that you don’t often manage to get the personality of the chocolatiers across in electronic form. What I found when I actually visited their small shop was a great, relaxed atmosphere which I felt both warm and engaging.
I knew roughly were the Monk Bar Chocolatiers were located, but we stumbled on it as we worked through the shops as we directed ourselves to Betty’s Tea Room for lunch. Even though it is on the Shambles it’s not quite in the main touristy area that is Stonegate. But I’m sure that many people will stumble on it as they go about – especially as it’s between York Minster and an open area opposite M&S where many people may hang out.
The outside of the store is incredibly rustic which must be from the 17th century if not earlier. Most of the window wasn’t covered by unnecessary notices, but I still did think that it distracts from what’s to be seen on the inside. On the other side of the door you’ll find a basic set up with a fresh counter straight in front of you.
From memory it didn’t feel all that clinical and organise and a world away from the Neuhaus and Jeff de Bruges stores in London. Here Ray appears to spend more effort on the chocolates which you can’t really argue with. And it’s the site of Ray and his team working away in a small kitchen behind the counter that I loved. It offers a great connection between you and the chocolatiers which I wish was present more often in chocolate shops – although it would be incredibly impractical in most circumstances.
There was actually a very good selection of ganaches and truffles in the fresh counter as well as some other gifty chocolates. The full selection can be found here. There were some flavours I’ve not heard before so was pleasantly surprised.
Ray was great and so was the young lady that served me. We had a chuckle about the prices of weddings and made the buying event memorable.
I bought a small box of eight truffles of various flavours for £4.95 which was great value. Obviously they get cheaper per truffles as you buy more.
I’ll be reviewing the truffles shortly.
Impressed by the staff, will await the taste test for the complete score.