In 1983, a young woman dared to follow her dreams, to share with others her love for real chocolate. Determined to change the way fine chocolate was perceived and presented, Chantal Coady transformed the then stuffy, conservative, commercial norm of chocolate retailing to the inspiring engagement of the senses that it deserved.
Following on from a Saturday job in Harrods selling chocolate, Chantal knew she wanted to create her own magical emporium of luxury chocolate. She envisaged Rococo to be a chocolate paradise, so armed with a little knowledge, a dangerous passion and the belief that there was room for a radically different approach to chocolate, Chantal opened the doors of the first Rococo Chocolates shop on the Kings Road in Chelsea. Rococo continues to trade from the same site.
With friends from art school she painted cherubs and clouds on the ceiling after Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and stippled the walls in a candyfloss pink that matched her hair. A chandelier was made from sugar; gilded mirrors and candelabra were mounted on the walls. Her eighteenth-century-meets-punk style fit into the rebellious vibe of Kings Road and the imagination and sense of fun intoxicated chocolate lovers who, bored with suffocating department store confectionery departments, came on pilgrimages from miles away. One of our early customers was Joanne Harris, and it’s even been rumored that Chantal was an inspiration for her book ‘Chocolat’.
More than three decades, four shops and five books later (all about the joys of luxury chocolate of course) Chantal is still pioneering the movement for real chocolate, inspiring many through warm and inviting shops, delicately nuanced flavours and creative, beautiful packaging. In fact, the Academy of Chocolate made an award to Chantal and Rococo for ‘Changing the way People Think About Chocolate’ and the Wall Street Journal among others recognized her as the founder of the ‘New British School’ of chocolate. In 2014 Chantal Coady was awarded an O.B.E. in the Queens Birthday Honours ‘For Services To Chocolate’ recognising her long and groundbreaking career.