Located in the centre of Hull, down an old Victorian Arcade is White Rabbit Chocolatiers, a chocolate-themed cafe and store which provides some of the finest luxury chocolate around. They pride themselves on serving high quality, ethically-sourced, handmade chocolate, in addition to a variety of treats in their upstairs cafe. I couldn't help but take a trip down the rabbit hole to enter their chocolate wonderland.
White Rabbit was founded in 2004, starting out as a chocolate emporium in the nearby market town of Beverly. Since then their business has flourished, winning 23 national awards and being nominated for a Great Taste Golden Fork, and from visiting it is clear to see why.
In 2019, they opened their second location here in Paragon Arcade, a Victorian arcade in Hull's city centre. Paragon Arcade is one of my favourite places to visit in Hull, its gothic architecture has been tastefully refurbished back to its former glory and it is filled with independent stores and intimate eateries - making it the ideal location for this cosy chocolate-themed cafe.
Wandering down the arcade you may not realise the full extent of what lies inside White Rabbit. Downstairs in their store, you are surrounded by a vast array of chocolates, from luxurious bars and spreads, to delicately hand-crafted sculptures and even a vegan cream egg! It's near impossible to leave without purchasing a few treats to take home.
If you venture upstairs, you will find their charming chocolate cafe. Designed with a nod to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, their decor is modern with a quirky feel, with all their furniture sourced locally from Koda (another independent store located down Paragon Arcade). The cafe has a very calming feel and is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. White Rabbit is a family run business and this down-to-earth quality has not been lost, coming across in their enthusiastic staff and careful attention to detail.
White Rabbit has a variety of drinks on offer which include everything you could want from a chocolate cafe, from luxurious hot chocolates and milkshakes, to speciality coffees and teas.
Intrigued by the concept, I ordered their Aztec Style Hot Chocolate. Based on the ancient Aztec drink make with cocoa beans, chillies and water, White Rabbit has updated this for a modern pallet, combining intense dark chocolate with warming spices and chilli to create the perfect drink for those colder days which is entirely naturally vegan.
White Rabbit offer a range of vegan-friendly food options, mainly focused on sweeter treats with some savoury items available, all of which are clearly marked as suitable for vegans on their menu.
White Rabbit's build-your-own style toastie definitely hit my savoury lunch-time spot, offering several vegan-friendly fillings so many different combinations are possible to create. I opted for a delicious vegan cheese, caramelised onion and roasted pepper toastie, with a chilli jam dressing and served in Jackson's bread, a local palm-oil free Bakery here in Hull. Striving for the best, the staff trialled many different vegan cheeses to find the perfect one to make a melty cheese toastie that they would be happy to put their name to, showing that they aren't willing to compromise on taste regardless of dietary requirements. What really puts White Rabbit a step above the rest is their ability to combine the savoury with the sweet, serving their toasties with their incredible chocolate vinaigrette (yes, you read that right) which beautifully ties the flavours together and adds their own unique spin on a lunchtime classic.
Chocolate fondue is the ultimate indulgent treat for every chocoholic, and White Rabbit's fondue was the dish of my dreams. They provide a large pot of melted single-origin Ecuadorian 70% dark chocolate, which is naturally vegan, and part of their signature master blend of chocolates. This is served along with Turkish Delight and a range of seasonal fruits to smother in their delicious warm chocolate pot. The fondue is available for one person to enjoy alone, or as a sharing pot for two people (or for one very hungry girl such as myself).
Often when I eat at restaurants the only vegan dessert available is sorbet (*sigh*). However, White Rabbit have put their own spin on this dish which makes this dessert feel new and exciting rather than an afterthought for vegan customers. Their sorbet plate includes two generous scoops of Northern Bloc Raspberry and Sorrel sorbet, a Leeds based Ice Cream company. This is combined with fresh strawberries, a homemade berry compote, tempered chocolate shard and finished with a delicate chocolate spoon! The sharpness of the berries perfectly contrasts with the rich deep chocolate, creating an interesting dessert that was light yet still indulgent.
One thing any visitor has to try, regardless of whether you are vegan or not, is their incredible vegan Madagascar milk chocolate made with cashew milk. My favourite thing about this chocolate (other than the unparalleled flavour) is that it is 'Raise Trade'. This means that the chocolate is produced by the cocoa growers themselves; they are taught how to produce the end product which adds jobs in the local area and helps keep profit within the communities. It is by far the most delicious, creamy vegan milk chocolate I have ever tasted - I loved it so much I bought some to enjoy at home (although it definitely didn't last very long)!
Thank you for reading my review of the vegan options available at White Rabbit Chocolatiers. Not only is their food beyond incredible, but I really admire their whole ethos and cannot wait to watch their range continue to grow and satisfy other fellow chocoholics such as myself.