As a music journalist, I never thought I would hear the words, “So we have this chocolate shop opening to attend.” But I’m always up for it all – especially when that magic 9-lettered word comes into play. So without a second guess, I was in. Down to Bateman Street, Soho, I went with all kinds of deliciously macabre things awaiting me. Lilith & Co and Diablo IV welcomed me to hell, and you can go there today between 2 PM and 5 PM.
Words: Monty Sewell
Diablo IV, the action role-playing dungeon video game, is just the latest in a series of released plays by Blizzard Entertainment. Dating back to 1997, the first original release of Diablo was thrown upon the controller-enthused masses. Now in 2023, the much anticipated Diablo IV will be released in just a few days time.
With the launch of such a video game with such a steel-crusted backbone history, you’d expect some kind of juicy promotional PR stunt to generate the already hotly brewing buzz. Underground signs transformed (PlayStation)? Nah, far too ostensibly appealing. Instead, Blizzard Entertainment teamed up with renowned chocolatier Sarah Harding of Lilith & Co. to create an interactive over 18’s only chocolate emporium, The Gourmet: Diablo IV’s London Pop Up.
The outside has the unmistakable dressing of a Victorian-era apothecary – or modern-day upmarket shoe crafters – and reeks of a darkly tailored experience from the get-go. Greeted at the door we are profusely informed that all of the sculptures inside are indeed made of chocolate.
Slightly scoffing at the remark, my initial thoughts of ‘yeah, we got it’ are completely swallowed as soon as I set foot inside. Incredible demonic forms, skulls, runes and one gorgeously grotesque full-body demon disembowelment have all been handcrafted from chocolate. No wonder the fans were on.
Blood red horned creatures of the night look as delicious as they are terrifying as I failed to grasp how something so hellhound to the core could also be a tasty indulgence. I solemnly dip my hat to Harding and her team of phenomenal artists.
Speaking of hounds, walking through the shop, we’re greeted by two wolf-like pooches held on leads by a few cosplaying professionals there to inform and guide us with a committing receptiveness.
Downstairs is dimly lit by candles with the air of Diablo IV music hushing in from the background. Consoles are laid out amongst the medieval cabinets of curiosities and impeaching, eerie – yet oh so cosy – atmosphere. After briefly attempting to take my first dip into the gaming world, I decided it better to entertain myself in the presence of some actual gamers before heading back upstairs.
“Would you like to do the interactive experience?”
Oh yes, give me more of this and give it to me now.
We’re ushered towards what looks like a confession booth before being left to step on through by ourselves into the darkness. Carefully stepping down, I’m suddenly immersed in the world of Diablo IV. The sound of an ominous priest’s chanting pricks our ears as we walk into a sizeable chapel-like area.
The air is clouded and dim, the actors in full mode as my knowledge of what to do with myself abruptly leaves. A priest directs to sit on the chapel benches before a loud donging rings out. Then the show begins.
To the best of my understanding, I had no clue what was going on, but it was wonderfully dramatic. There was a terrifying figure presented against a glass-stained window and definitely some kind of demonic summoning in occurrence.
And with that, my first experience of a ‘goremet’ ungodly, devilish chocolate shop experience was over.
Tempted as I was to purchase one of the chocolate skulls for a deserved £66, after leaving the shop, I was more interested in telling everyone and anyone I knew to get their arses down to Bateman Street.
Regardless of how many gigs I’ve had the pleasure of attending, this was probably the most Heavy Metal thing I’ve ever been to. Can’t wait to see how the game release pans out. But after this, there aren’t any doubts at all.
100% of sales from Lilith & Co. will benefit SpecialEffect, a gaming charity which transforms the lives of people with physical challenges. Visit Lilith & Co today – 15 Bateman Street, London W1D 3AQ.