My trip to the Paul A Young chocolate shop in Islington wasn’t so much of a mystery shopping experience as I was invited down. But seeing as the staff that were present in the shop itself didn’t know who I was then I feel it’s fair to judge.
Paul has two shops, but I visited his flagship store in Islington. The street reminded me of the location of Potage’s Cauldron Shop in Harry Potter and whilst not being located in the main concentration of ‘chocolate’ shops around Piccadilly, the shop seemed located for real chocolate lovers as opposed to tourists just looking to take a brand home.
The shop is just 4 minutes walk along Upper Street from the Angel Tube station – so if you do live in London then it’s no major effort to get to. Whatsmore, Angel is just off the Northern Line between Kings Cross and Islington so you won’t have to negotiate a complex route on the tube to get there. As a litmus test, it would take 22 minutes and one change from Oxford Circus Tube Station (my centre of London) and to walk there would take 50 minutes.
I mistakenly relied on Google maps to find the store and thus completely missed it. However, when I did eventually find the shop I wasn’t pleasantly surprised as I knew one of the best chocolatiers in the world would have a fantastic looking shop.
The Walk In
This is a very important part of the experience. At this point my mind is largely made up if I’m going to buy anything. With that in mind, my first impressions were that the shop had a warm, family feeling and whilst being busy, it didn’t feel crammed.
You can’t beat Paul’s selection of chocolate creations in my honest opinion. You can choose from Marmite Truffles, Port and Stilton treats, artisan chocolate bars, chocolate brownies, rochers, hot chocolate, pavé and whilst I was there a good selection of Valentine’s chocolates, I did see a selection of Easter chocolates in production when I was invited into his kitchen and I expect they’ll taste a million times better than the Lindt Milk Chocolate Gold Bunny!
The staff were incredibly friendly, pleasant and helpful. When creating the chocolate selections for their customers they treated each item with respect as if their customer’s life depended on it. They obviously understood that how they interacted with the customer was an important part in the whole process of buying and enjoying chocolate.
Would you get a Ferrari for a fiver? Would you get probably the best chocolates in the country, if not world for the price of a Wispa Gold? Despite the undoubting quality, the prices were not excessive or tourist inflated.
So far I’ve only reviewed the Chocolate Brownie which had a rating of 97%. As I try the other chocolates I’ve bought I’ll amend the score.
What Would I Give Up To Have Some More?
My wife – don’t tell her though!
Can You Buy Online?
Well yes. If you live in London you can get your Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates delivered via HubHub Deliveries
In The Press
- Stilton with Chocolate? Yes Please!
The Guardian – Thursday 11th February 2010
- Proust had his madeleines – Curly Wurlys do it for me
London Evening Standard – 20th January 2010
- Paul has the golden ticket at his very own chocolate factory
Yorkshire Post – 14th October 2009
- London: Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates
The New York Times – August 13th 2006