Shop Local: Treat for shoppers as new chocolate and gin shops in Highgate go from strength to strength

Luci Jones and Rodi Kurt, the women behind Kokoa London - Highgate's new chocolate shop. Picture: Kokoa London

Luci Jones and Rodi Kurt, the women behind Kokoa London - Highgate's new chocolate shop. Picture: Kokoa London - Credit: Archant

“We are trying to educate people about chocolate too.”

Opening a shop during a worldwide pandemic may seem a counter-intuitive decision, but for a pair of Highgate businesses it’s been a masterstroke – with a high street-loving community with a sweet tooth helping them get going.

Kokoa in Highgate is the village’s newest chocolate shop. It opened on June 20.

Click here for more on the Ham&High’s #ShopLocal campaign.Co-founder Luci Jones told this newspaper: “The idea was born during lockdown. We got the shop together during lockdown and we were lucky as we met a chocolate expert in the village who helps us.”

“It’s been really great. The more the village supports us, the better for us.”

Luci, who started the shop with business partner Rodi Kurt, explained that a bit of luck and some good timing had been key, but so far business had been great.

She said: “We were very lucky that we had my husband Howard Jones helping us, my business partner Rodi and the chocolate expert Martin Christie helping us.”

Looking forward to Christmas, she said Highgate shoppers’ backing could see the shop grow.

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“I’m hoping that the village will really support us,” she said. “Come and shop with us so that we can keep going. “ “We want to increase our range. We have a lot of chocolatiers coming to us, they want to stock their chocolates with us, but we need more support so we can expand more and more.”

The Highgate High Street shop’s ethos is also a key selling point. Luci wants to make sure that customers know their products are ethically sourced – and aren’t contributing to the climate crisis.

She said: “I know the farmers are getting a lot more than if the big corporations are involved. We’re trying to explain to the local village even though the chocolates are a little bit more expensive, they’re natural chocolates made with cocoa butter not palm oil.”

Kokoa is not the only Highgate shop to have opened during lockdown, over the road the Sacred Gin Shop – which has its own distillery and a some striking apparatus in its front window – is another Covid-19 success story. The decade-old distillery now has a High Street presence, and distiller Siobhan Feeley said: “It’s quite a community in Highgate and a lot of people know us, so people have come down to support us because they’ve known us for years.”

The Ham&High’s Shop Local campaign is designed to highlight the hidden – and not so hidden – gems on our high streets. If you run a shop in our area we should be shouting about, contact the newsdesk at