The other day, I happened to be near Camden Market for work and thought I would wander the shops for a while. If you live in London, then you’ll already be quite familiar with Camden Market, but for those who haven’t been, let me explain. Camden Market used to be this hub of alternative fashion, music, etc. The main street has tattoo shops and piercings aplenty but lately tends to have become overrun with tourist traps. Once word got out about Camden, it got fewer alternatives, and suddenly had 30 shops selling tourist kitsch along with the tattoos.
The main street is the kind of place to head if you’re in the market for a cheap pair of sunglasses or a phone case. But it’s the market itself that draws me in! Part food market, with open-air stalls, and part handmade/antique sellers hawking scarves, jewellery, and the like. In the fall, it’s the perfect place to find a new scarf or toque, and in the summer it’s a great place to find a new pair of sunnies or a new bag! But in my case, it was the perfect excuse to try a fancy hot chocolate I had heard about.
I first visited Camden Market waaay back in August 2015 when I came over for a few days to see Richard. It was a quick whirlwind trip, where he tried to show me London as much as the limited days allowed, Camden included. He knew I would enjoy wandering the indoor market full of antique clothing and accessories, but my favourite thing had to be Chin Chin Labs. They are an ice cream shop that specializes in liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream! They make it to order, and it looks all sciency and cool! But this time of the year, and especially the recent weather, meant that even a diehard ice cream fan like myself was tempted by something a little warmer. (But honestly, ice cream is always a good idea, no matter the temperature!)
The hot chocolate at Chin Chin comes either plain or with a toasted marshmallow topping. I decided to try it with the topping, despite not being that into marshmallow frosting, as it was voted the best hot chocolate in London. They gave me my cup in a bowl, which I thought was confusing until I tried to actually drink it! That marshmallow doesn’t come off easily! Anytime I tried to scoop some off, it ended up spilling cocoa all over the bowl. Quite a messy drink!
The hot chocolate itself was nice and rich, but I found the frosting too sweet (and too much). It kind of feels like you don’t get enough of the hot chocolate to make room for aaaaall that sugar. If I had it again, I would definitely forgo the frosting in favour of more of what I came there for – the drink itself. Or maybe I’ll just get ice cream instead 😉
After that sugar intake, I wandered the antique stalls for a bit and considered trying on some hats, before realizing that I had to run for the subway, as they were closing Camden station early that day. Much as I enjoy the market, I didn’t want to get stuck there or have to walk to the nearest tube station to get home.
So if you’re in the neighbourhood, or find yourself on the Northern line, why not visit Camden Market? I’d especially recommend it on a sunny day when you can enjoy ice cream outside, or eat along the side of Camden Lock… but then again, those days are the busiest!!