Getting Your Butt to Melt

I don’t know if some of you noticed this, but there’s been a petit void in cyberspace lately. As some of you know, Michèle of Oswego Tea has moved to London and at the same time ended her blog. The good thing is I don’t need to add that pesky backwards accent anymore now that she’s moved to England. (Although she started adding the British extra u to words like flavour…who does she think she is anyways, Madonna?)

A while back one of my readers advised if I ever got back to London, I need to go to Melt, one of the highly-regarded chocolate shops in the city. Since I didn’t know when I’d get back there, I thought I’d send Michele in to check it out.

So I started bugging Michele to get over to Melt to hopes she’d write an entry here about it. It took her a while, but she finally wrote back, saying she was really busy after her move, but realized that it was time to “…get my ass to melt!”

However in deference to folks searching the internet for photos of butt-melting (which I’m sure there are out there…) I changed her wording a bit since I didn’t want to get my potty-mouth washed out with soap, like Michele’s gonna get next time she comes back to Paris for punishment.
Which may incite more internet searches, bien sûr

While I’ve no doubt pictures her butt melting might be far more intriguing to some readers out there who came expecting something other than a visit to a chocolate shop, you’ll have to make do without. But for those of us who’ve missed Michele’s terrific blog, I finally was able to get her to do her guest post here on my site about getting her butt to Melt.
And here it is.


Getting My Ass To Melt

When a friend sends you an email asking for a favour, admit it, sometimes you worry. In the back of your mind there’s this nagging voice that says “Please don’t let it have anything to do with moving a large couch up a narrow flight of stairs..”

Luckily for me, the friend in question was David, who at the first mention of looking for a new apartment will come right out and say “Don’t ask me to help you move.” I think he waved a finger the first time he said that to me.

The favour he wanted of me?

Nothing more than a chocolate related mission.

How can a girl say no? I mean, if I could help a friend in need.. Well let’s just say that I’m a good person, with a big old chocolate-loving heart.
So, off I went to Melt, a chocolate shop in Notting Hill that allows their customers to observe their chocolate makers in action.


Have you ever been to that kind of chocolate shop where as soon as you walk in you feel like you’ve just been slapped with a big old pile of disdain? Where everything is so quiet and ordered its as though the chocolates are only meant to be looked at? And where nothing contains a description and each time you ask about one you get an exasperated sigh, as though you should have known it just by looking at it, you uneducated clod you.

Melt is NOT that kind of chocolate shop. If it had been, there would be some couch moving in David’s future.

Melt is in fact very warm and inviting, and to use a phrase I have never associated with a chocolate shop before: user-friendly. The chocolates are laid out with detailed descriptions, and you have only to pick up a small wooden tray and a pair of wooden tongs and get to work. The chocolates are not inexpensive, but we did get a fairly good sampling of what they had on offer for a grand total of 16.32£. ($32 US)


My only complaint, not unique to Melt, is that there was no list I could take with me so that I could look up the names and descriptions of the chocolates once I got home. The manager did offer me a small menu that I could take with me but when she looked at the chocolates I had chosen, she informed me that only one of them was actually listed on the menu. (Is this a law of the universe or something?) But descriptions are part of the fun, no?

I need descriptions.

Without a list, it is pointless for me to try to explain to you what we had. It would read something like this:
chocolate with nuts and stuff and creamy and bits and.. yummm..
So it’s better that I spare you.

And because I carried my box of chocolates around all day, by the time we got home where I could take pictures, my chocolate inventory had seriously dwindled.
A girl needs some energy for shopping in Notting Hill.

But if you make it to Melt, just ask the staff to point out their previous award winners, and those in which the chocolatier has used water-based ganache—an apparently difficult technique. They had two tea-infused chocolates when I visited, Earl Grey and Jasmine, which are worth a try if you’re into that sort of thing. And I am. I also liked their champagne truffle and their spiced caramel which tasted like Christmas, if you took the whole holiday and jammed it into one bonbon.

And no, you won’t end up with tinsel in your teeth.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the sugar rush.

59 Ledbury Road
Notting Hill
London W11 2AA
Mon-Sat 9am-6pm,
Sun 11am-4pm

Never miss a post!


  • February 11, 2007 12:31pm

    hey, Im Canadian! We spell like the Brits even though we sound like Americans.
    Thanks for giving me some real estate on your blog, I will visit chocolate shops for you anytime..
    Oh, and by the way, here they say bag-it instead of baguette. Go figure.

  • February 11, 2007 12:33pm

    The hot chocolate (both dark and milk) at Melt is also very very good!

  • GG
    February 11, 2007 2:14pm

    Water-based ganache sounds very interesting. I have to try making that at home. I read that it has a reduced shelf-life compared to those made of cream…does anyone know why? (I’m sure David does)

  • February 12, 2007 1:27am

    come back Michele! come back! loved this post!

  • February 12, 2007 2:09am

    I’ll be in London in April and will try to get my butt to Melt then! Also, I’ll definitely try those tea-infused chocolates – I learned a long time ago that Michele has a brilliant taste in teas:)

  • February 12, 2007 8:31am

    Michele: Ok, so you have an excuse. Now what’s Madonna’s?

    GG: Have not made water-based ganache but I can’t imagine they’d be less-perishable than cream-based ones (although many places use sterilized cream and put the ganache in a sterilizing chamber afterwards.)

    Kat: Maybe we can convince her to post more dispatches from London’s chocolate shops, although she didn’t offer to send samples for my verification of her findings. Not very thorough, if you ask me.

    Pille: Yes, aside from her flammable fesse, she has pretty good taste in chocolate too.

  • Alisa
    February 12, 2007 2:46pm

    I miss Oswego Tea (yes that is meant to sound like a long drawn out whine)

  • February 12, 2007 6:10pm

    A few months ago a restaurant called Melt opened up in Cleveland, OH – but their specialty is grilled cheese :)

  • February 15, 2007 6:55pm

    A LOL delicious read. Thank you both!

  • hilary
    February 16, 2007 1:37pm

    I was in London this week and was lucky enough to come across this post before I left (but not before I had already made a trip to Notting Hill for Ottolenghi). So back I went the next day to visit Melt… I haven’t tried all the chocolates yet, but I have to say I loved the shop’s design and style, particulary being able to pick up the chocolates yourself. The chocolate caramels are delicious. And, for anyone visiting, stop by Ottolenghi down the street and try a passion fruit meringue tart!

  • February 16, 2007 9:47pm

    Just wonderful…sigh
    Sounds quite a bit better than Paris chocolatiers, who sometimes treat you like a paroled criminal in their shops…

  • February 17, 2007 11:27am

    How lovely to get a well-needed Michèle fix; Oswego Tea is surely missed! Tea and chocolate can be lovely … I do believe we may need to attempt some MF truffles when next we meet in the kitchen!