Chocolate House Tour

Join Aztec slaves, Spanish conquistadors, rakish gamblers and nihilistic dukes for an immersive whirlwind tour of the decadent chocolate houses of Georgian London led by Dr Matthew Green to violin accompaniment.  

• The tour includes free servings of mind-blowing Baroque hot chocolate shot through with a concoction of exotic spices courtesy of Cocoa Hernando, purveyor of luxury flavoured chocolate. 

• As recommended by the TelegraphTime Out, Londonist,and described as “fascinating” by the Guardian. To read the Guardian’s glowing review, click here.  

Witness how a thick, luxuriant, exotically spiced glop called chocolate conquered Baroque Europe and corrupted the most fashionable quarter of London, spawning sexually-charged hotbeds of decadence, depravity and despair that Londoners came to call chocolate houses.

Meet the the chief Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, the man who pulverised the Aztec Empire and brought chocolate (and rubber balls) to Europe. Hear his stories of how he found money growing on trees in the form of cacao pods, which the savages liked to brew up with chilli and vanilla and mix with the blood of sacrificial slaves.

Enjoy an audience with chocaholic Cosimo de’ Medici of Tuscany, Baroque Europe’s most gluttonous tyrant and taste his extravagant Jasmine hot chocolate, the drink that bankrupted Florence. Marvel at the contrast with the weak and watery powdered hot chocolate that most of us suffer today.

Visit the lively, decadent chocolate houses the Cocoa Tree and Ozinda’s, whirlpools of Jacobite sedition and immerse yourself in the lost world of White’s Chocolate House, “the most fashionable hell in London” where dukes and highwaymen met to place some of the most absurd and ruinous bets in the history of the world.

Saunter past luxury shops, mighty townhouses and royal palaces of St James’s where chocolate houses sprouted and flourished in London’s most exclusive quarter, once home to dukes, earls, prime ministers and royal concubines Moll Davies and Nell Gwynn.

With startling performances, transportive violin music, and a cornucopia of historical anecdotes from genial and charismatic London historian Dr Green — not to mention the best hot chocolate in London — this is a self-indulgent treat that will open your eyes to one of the most colourful yet overlooked chapters in London’s history.

Click here to read Dr Green’s feature in the Telegraph on London’s lost chocolate houses.

Dr Matthew Green

In 2009, Dr Matthew Green completed a PhD in the history of the mass media at Oxford University. Unmoved by the prospect of a cloistered academic life he turned to popular history and now writes for the Guardian and Telegraph, appears on BBC TV and radio, teaches a wide range of historical subjects, and gives sell-out talks at the Idler Academy, 5x15, Port Eliot and elsewhere. He is currently writing a book on 17th and 18th-century coffeehouses.


Book your tour using the following link and use the promotional code cacao100 to get £3 off (a special discount for the members of the Historical Places meetup). Please RSVP only after you booked your ticket.

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  • terence f.

    Interesting, informative and well led like the Dr Johnson walk. Good company. Thanks Sela.

    1 · May 17

  • Jessie H.

    The timing is unfortunately not suitable for me.would you kindly refund the payment and inform me of future tours.

    May 14

    • Sela

      I'm not sure if you sorted out the refund, but you have to do it directly with the website you booked the ticket.

      May 17

  • terence f.

    I found that the link offered failed but I found my way around that. Nice to solve challenges. See you there.

    May 14

  • A former member
    A former member

    Would love to do this, but unfortunately committed already. Will come if you have again. Enjoy!

    May 12

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sadly, I am unable to make this :-(

    March 23, 2014

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