Prestat: Chocolates
Credit: Courtesy of Prestat

The first Prestat chocolate shop opened in London in 1902 and managed to survive the Depression, rationing, and bombings. Today, Prestat – located in a jewelbox of a store in Princes Arcade off Picadilly – is a growing business under the able co-ownership of two half-brothers, Nick Crean and Bill Keeling. Keeling who had been an international correspondent in Africa for 'The Financial Times' (he was kicked out of Nigeria for exposing corruption) brought knowledge of West African cocoa supply to the table. He works with the nonprofit Source Trust to help educate the cocoa farmers on best and sustainable farming practices, and also supplies the farmers with mobile phones that they can use for electronic banking and to check the most up-to-date commodity prices.

Known for their brightly colored boxes, Prestat's latest chocolate creation, made for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation, is a combination of dark and milk chocolate thins with caramel and sea salt that comes in a royal purple box. Prestat is perhaps best known for its hand-rolled chocolate truffles, which were first created in France by Prestat's original owner Antoine Dufour. Today, Prestat still manufactures its own chocolates at an artisanal factory in North London.

Their first Royal Warrant was granted by HM The Queen in 1975 and they have the honor of being granted the last Royal Warrant given by HRH The Queen Mother – who loved Prestat chocolate – in 1999. When the Lord Chamberlain suggested that the Queen Mother pass on giving Prestat's the Royal Warrant, she supposedly said, "How many chocolates is an old lady supposed to eat?" And the warrant was granted. A Coronation Box of the dark and milk chocolate thins with caramel and sea salt will set you back 11 pounds sterling ($16.90). Worth every penny. [prestat.co.uk]