Is This London’s Best Hot Chocolate? We Think So

We’re feeling full of festive spirit (and sugar!) after a visit to Badiani’s Gelateria in Angel, London for their Christmas Showcase. YCB Magazine’s Sophie Green headed to the charming pink shop in Camden Passage following an invite to sample the new Christmas menu alongside London’s press and influencers.

Stepping in from the night, Badiani’s felt like a Christmas grotto dressed with a sparkling tree, poinsettia dotted around the room and a table loaded down with sweet treats. The evening began with a toast to the festive season in the form of a chilled glass of prosecco that was deliciously dry and crisp.

The fizz was followed by a tasting of the two flavours of luxury hot chocolate from the Festively Florentine menu: the classic grande Italian hot chocolate and the more unusual flavour – pistachio. The classic arrived topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and Badiani wafer, looking as pretty as a picture. The pistachio was served in a glass laced with the brand’s signature pistachio cream (more on that later), again topped with whipped cream and a wafer.

I’ve had my fair share of hot chocolate in my time, most memorably at Angelina’s in Paris where Coco Chanel used to frequent. However I think Badiani’s pistachio take might just be my all-time favourite thanks to its perfect balance of cream, sweetness and nutty flavour. The classic hot chocolate was just as beautiful, full of rich cocoa flavour complemented by the fluffy whipped cream topping. If you think festive drinks peak at Starbucks red cups – think again! 

Next on the tasting menu – Badiani’s artisan Pandoro and Panettone cakes, something I dream of all year round. The traditional Italian sweetbreads are known for their fluffy bakes and rich eggy doughs that are not dissimilar from a brioche. The Pandoro is traditionally star-shaped and dusted with icing sugar for a whimsical snow-topped look. In comparison a Panettone will be studded with candied fruits and raisins, or sometimes chocolate chips for an extra pop of flavour. So light and fluffy is the dough, it can be pulled apart in your hands, like strands of candyfloss. Can you see why I go crazy for these cakes now? Badiani’s recipes elevate the Italian sweet breads to new heights and were the best I have tasted outside of Italy.

In store, Badiani is serving up slices of either Pandoro or Panettone with sauce (pick between hazelnut, chocolate, pistachio, caramel or white chocolate) and gelato for the most divine seasonal fix.

Creamy, smooth, almost custard-like in flavour, this gelato was worlds away from a tub of supermarket ice cream. There are also limited edition flavours for the season including mince pie and panettone. The highlight of the plate was the silky pistachio sauce, which was so good I’d eat it by the spoonful. 

You can also buy Pandoro and Panettone to take home from Badiani which are beautifully packaged in blue boxes decorated with illustrations of Italy’s iconic buildings. Keep a few in your home this Christmas for guests – cake and gelato will be a welcomed, effortless dessert – or bring to seasonal gatherings when gifting a bottle won’t suffice.

They also cater for those who don’t like dried fruit and who are woefully underserviced by British festive desserts. We closed the evening with a demonstration on dusting your Pandoro with icing sugar for that snow-topped effect from the Badiani team – a fun activity that will delight little ones at your family Christmas. 

The Festively Florentine menu is available to enjoy now at Badiani’s various locations across London, plus Brighton, Lakeside and Windsor. You can also take the treats away to enjoy on the go, or at home. Add some Italian flair to your Christmas entertaining, and be sure to ask for extra pistachio sauce. 

Location: Badiani Angel, 14 Camden Passage, London, N1 8ED

Sophie Green

Sophie Green is PR Manager for a designer flash sale website and part-time fashion blogger, having founded her fashion and shopping blog in 2012. Finding a passion for the industry at a young age, Sophie studied Fashion Communications at university and has worked in the industry for over a decade, heading up the PR departments of several fashion and fine jewellery brands. Through her fashion blog she has worked on campaigns with brands including UGG Australia, La Redoute and Headmasters and counts sitting opposite Anna Wintour at the Topshop Unique LFW show as a career highlight! Outside of work Sophie likes to unwind by hitting the gym for a boxing class or ‘researching’ the best G&T’s the capital has to offer. Her fashion obsession is sequins, with an entire section of her wardrobe dedicated to all things-sparkly!