A Thomas Haas chocolate creation – photo: Yumtastic
I must admit that I’m a bit of a chocoholic and, while I try to stay on a reasonably healthy diet, I just can’t help indulging in one of life’s true pleasures. As a kid, my chocolate cravings were satisfied by gifts of cheap chocolate in boxes (Black Magic anyone?). My travels through Europe introduced me to wonderful chocolatiers – this was art as much as food. Little did I know then that Vancouver would come to compete with the best in quality, design, and taste. Gentlemen, with Valentine’s coming, pay particular attention to today’s recommendations: love and chocolate are two sides of the same coin.
Chocolate Arts creates beautiful pieces of art from chocolate made from beans grown in select regions. Add to this locally grown produce (often organic) and you’ve got an amazing base. Options include molded chocolates inspired by West Coast native art (almost a shame to eat), signature creations such as the Grand Marnier (milk chocolate ganache with Grand Marnier), fruit-based chocolates such as the Raspberry Passion (dried raspberry with milk and dark chocolate), or my favourite, the truffles such as the subtle and distinctive Chai Truffle (Fresh ginger, vanilla bean and chai spices with milk and dark chocolate).
Chocolate Arts, 2037 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver BC, 604 739 0475, Mon – Sat: 10am-6pm, Sun: noon – 5pm; Close to all Granville Island venues.
Thomas Hass Chocolates has received rave reviews since opening their dream shop in Vancouver. Their chocolates are infused with distinctive ingredients such as BC wine, Quebec maple syrup, and Tahitian vanilla beans. Enjoy the cappuccino bar and have a delectable dessert or traditional European pastry. Some of my favourite chocolates include the Lychee (dark chocolate ganache with fresh lychee and a hand painted chocolate plaque) and the Pistachio Marsipan (almond marzipan with pistachios and kirsch).
Thomas Hass Chocolates (two locations), 128-998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver, 604-924-1847; 2539 W. Broadway, Vancouver, 604-736-1848; Tues – Sat: 8am - 5:30pm, Sun & Mon: Closed. Near Russian Tall Ship, Winterfest at Lonsdale, all Granville Island venues.
The little kid on the block is Dutch Girl Chocolates but it holds up its own with the best. The store is packed with imported old-fashioned candy with licorice being a particular delight. But it’s the chocolate that people line up for, lovingly hand-crafted right on the premises and featuring local added ingredients. Try the Chili Truffles (dark chocolate with a kick) or the Macha Green Tea Square (fresh macha tea infused in a dark chocolate ganache). Any of the local fruit based chocolates are definitely worth sampling. And after a delectable treat, make sure to stroll down trendy Commercial street, with its eclectic shops, cafes, and restaurants (some of which I will review in a later article).
Dutch Girl Chocolates, 1002 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, 604-251-3221, Mon – Sat: 11am – 6pm, Sun: noon – 5pm. Between Pacific Coliseum and Downtown venues.