One thing from Blowing Dandelion

I’m buying one thing from every shop on the Crystal Palace triangle. This is the second thing.

Oh, hi. I’m buying one thing from every shop on the Crystal Palace triangle and writing about them here for the joy of it.

This is the second thing from the second shop. It’s Wonka-related 🎩

“We must hurry! We’ve so much time and so little to see…”

The shop

Dandy Blowing lion. Wait a minute, strike that. Reverse it. Blowing Dandelion

Named after the simple, childlike joy of doing exactly that to one of those. It’s a great name for this purveyor of “chocolates for the curious” – a place guaranteed to make you smile.

The shop is compact and classy, chock-full of works of edible art, all tastefully displayed amid stunningly stylish decor.

There’s a lot of love poured into everything, and we locals love it back. I’ve never once visited and been the only customer in here, since it opened in 2016. Long may that be the case. 

The owner

“Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head?“

This fancy was bred in the heart of Michaela Simova while her head was in spreadsheets as a full-time accountant. She taught herself chocolatiering, started selling her creations in London street markets, and it grew from there.

It’s a great origin story to rival the one currently playing out in cinemas. When exasperated by office politics or the tiresome tropes of work, I occasionally fantasise about jacking it in and buying an ice cream van. It’s a terrible plan and I must never do it, but still – I’m full of admiration for anyone who finds their passion and makes a radical career switch like this. 

I didn’t meet Michaela when I popped in  – she was in her basement, being the Gene Wilder or Timothée Chalamet (or, if you must, Johnny Depp) of SE19.

I spoke instead to shop manager Sarah. She made me a delicious cortado – which btw doesn’t count as my “one thing” because I drank it there and then. I always get a coffee when I stop by because the Le Bihan beans they use (and sell for home brewing) are seriously good. I was glad to hear the brand will carry on, roasting to Neil’s specifications in his memory. 

Here is Sarah, making my coffee. She didn’t want to be in the photos so you’ll have to make do with her hand on the milk jug in the corner of the frame. 

A beautiful chrome barista station, with an equally beautiful price list above. On the right, an arm is entering the shot pouring milk into a jug.

The many things 

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.”

Shop interior of a small rectangular shop. Shelves of artisinal chocolates along both walls, displayed on slate and wood shelves

I’ve bought several things over the shop’s seven years. The occasional coffee and cheeky truffle for myself. Ice creams for the kids. The odd selection box for my wife, and vice versa.

(Not the odd wife for my selection box – my wife has also bought selection boxes for me). 

I resisted – on this occasion – buying one of the more inventive pieces. Like these intricate, unique planets, which make such great gifts:

Or these festive figurines, baubles and trees (I gifted a bunch of freaky Santas last year, plus a fabulous large blue bear for my boss):

But – as marvelous as these creations are – when I’m shopping for myself I tend to head straight to the truffle section at the back, with its racks of tempting flavours, colours and shapes. 

Looks like there’d been a rush on the tahini! Who’d have thunk it? I’ll have to try one to see what the fuss is about – but it wasn’t gonna be the “one thing”.

“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

4 trays of truffles labelles brandy, cointreau, amaretto and rum. All different bright colours.

I gave up booze 8 years ago and don’t miss the alcohol one bit. But I do miss two flavours: the peaty smokiness of Laphroaig (which I tried to replace with Lapsang Souchong but it tasted like ashtrays), and the nutty sweetness of amaretto (which I’m glad to still access in biscuit form). Anyway, that’s where my mind went when seeing these little cuties in the forbidden zone. 

The one thing 

“The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last.”

OK, the big reveal. I bought a tub of dark chocolate gooseberries, for £9.

Aout a dozen cardboard tubs labelled Dark Chocolate Gooseberry, on a shelf. They're around the size of a large can of sweetcorn.

What a lovely gift for someone! That someone being me. Happy to confirm grateful receipt. I basically can’t get enough of gooseberries (literally, they are too hard to come by) so I was destined to get these as soon as I saw them.  

The thing in its new home

“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted…”

In this case, he scoffed the lot, all by himself, in 3 days. Oops. 


Blowing Dandelion is at 3 Belvedere Road, London SE19 2HJ

Wonka is in cinemas now, including our local pricey-but-nicey Everyman

Here are some other bloggers’ lovely reviews of Blowing Dandelion I found while writing this: Sarah Alexandra George and James Balston.

And here are some touching tributes to Neil, from football clubs Dover Athletic and Peterborough United, and the local community. Sincere condolences to all who knew and loved him.

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2 Comments

Marty Jessup December 11, 2023 Reply

Hi Neil love your writing style! I thought I’d introduce myself my name’s Marty and I’m a local artist here in Crystal Palace ( studio is 20 Haynes Lane) if you want you can come over and do a ‘piece’ on me!!

neillyneil@gmail.com December 11, 2023 Reply

Excellent – I will! Depending somewhat on how much you sell your pieces for! I think I’ve been in once before, years ago now. An open house thing. Will come by at some point!

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