Prestat Fine Chocolates and Truffles | Discover our incredible story. – Prestat Chocolates

Antoine Dufour

In 1902, Antoine stole away to England, founded Prestat, and opened his first chocolaterie on 24 South Moulton Street.
This hidden gem, just around the corner from Oxford Street, conjured truffles galore and gave Prestat its fame and fortune.

Prestat shop in 1953.

Antoine Dufour and his grandson Peter.


The Croft Brothers

It’s 1959, enter The Croft Brothers.

After seeing Prestat through the 50s, and the post-war rationing, Tony Dufour realised he would have to sell on the business if he wanted Prestat to survive.

The Dufour dynasty ended, and struggling playwright Neville Croft and his wife Elizabeth, bought and ran Prestat with the financial support of Neville's older brother Maxwell.

Prestat’s flare for chocolate making is imbued with the flourish and aplomb of London’s theatrical and literary scene. Neville Croft and his wife Elizabeth turn Prestat into a hotbed of celebrity fandom, with actors, singers and writers singing its praises between the 1960s and 1970s. Prestat’s proudest claim to literary fame is Roald Dahl, who made Prestat Truffles the centrepiece of his novel My Uncle Oswald.

The red curtains of the London Coliseum's Royal Box, which inspired Kitty Arden's designs.

The Prestat children,


Royal Warrant

In 1975, Prestat earned its first Royal Appointment. We were, and are, the Royal Family’s chosen chocolatier, and we were granted a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen Mother.


The Cohens

In 1980, Neville & Elizabeth had to bid a fond farewell to Prestat and retire. Prestat is acquired by Stanley S. Cohen, an entrepreneur and jack of all trades, with varied business experience from property development to fine porcelain.
We bade another fond farewell to our original South Moulton Street site. Prestat’s Princes Arcade Shop was born! Right on the main drag for London’s avid shoppers and ready to dazzle its way into the 90s.

Piccadilly circus.


The Brothers,
Bill & Nick

We’ve hit 1998. The Brothers, Bill Keeling & Nick Crean, made their bid to buy Prestat and succeeded in October that year. They took Prestat on a new journey of growth, colour, and creation. Working with the designer and artist, Kitty Arden, Prestat became more vibrant than ever before.


Second Royal Warrant

It’s 1999, and Prestat had become the Queen Mother’s favourite chocolatier. So much so that she granted Prestat a second Royal Warrant.

It’s rumoured that the Queen Mother was a fan of Prestat's Mint Creamsalways kept a Prestat Mint box in her desk.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


The Illy Family

Fast forward to 2019, and Prestat is bought once again by Domori and Riccardo Illy.

Prestat and Domori began, and continue, to work together to craft chocolates with the finest single origin couverture. From bean to bar, tree to truffle, grower to artisan.

Prestat makes all of its own chocolates and remains one of the few British chocolatiers to do so.


Prestat & The Present

In the last 120 years Prestat has crafted magic and happiness for generations of chocolate lovers. We are honoured to have been part of your stories, and grateful you have always been part of ours. It’s 2022, and we are paying homage to the past and toasting what will hopefully be a vibrant, sustainable and delicious future.


Bernard Prestat, the son of Pierre Prestat (1888-1934), wrote to us in 2007 following an article posted to the Prestat blog by Bill Keeling, appealing to "anyone out there" who would have information about the history of Prestat.

In his lovely letter, Bernard shed some light around the choice of the name "Prestat", chosen by Antoine Dufour for his chocolate firm.

Indeed, he enclosed to his letter a hand-drawn genealogical tree, starting with an Andrew Lawson and Janet Henderson-Cunningham, and split into two branches: one for their daughter Jane, and one for their son Andrew.

Andrew married a French woman called Sophie-Thérèse, and their daughter Pauline married a Henri Prestat, and Jane's daughter Janet married a Frenchman by the name of Bartolomé Bonaba. Amélia Bonaba married Antoine Dufour, becoming Amélia Dufour.

Pierre Prestat was a faraway cousin through Antoine Dufour's wife, and he was roughly the same age as Antoine.

Although Savoy, of which Chambéry is a part of, became French in 1860, Antoine Dufour and his brother Louis represent Swiss chocolate making, and wanting to appear French, the name of Prestat emerged as a possibility.

In Latin, Prestat means "He rules over", and some early packaging for the chocolates may have included one of Ciceron's writing in latin.

The name Prestat in French comes from "prêter", which means "lender", and funnily enough, Bernard's grandfather Henri was a bookkeeper - and a founding member of the French Order of Chartered Accountants.

But more on that later...

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