Surprising places for chocolate in Vancouver

Posted on October 6th, 2009

I love Vancouver, and I like to think that I know it like the back of my hand. Tell me where you are and I’ll tell you the closest chocolate shop. No joke. Just try me sometime.

Thankfully, I’m still surprised by chocolatey discoveries. And lucky for you, I like to share. Information, that is. Not chocolate. Hands off!

At the coffee shop

Soma-epic-sized49th Parallel Coffee Roasters has just launched the Soma Epic Espresso chocolate bar. A collaboration between 49th Parallel and Soma Chocolatemaker (who I wrote about here and here), it’s as if chocolate and coffee met in an upscale (but hip and down-to-earth) martini lounge, had a night of indescribable passion, and this is the resulting love child.

Soma, a bean-to-bar producer in Toronto, blends their chocolate with freshly ground Epic Espresso beans to create a bar that equally highlights the coffee and the chocolate. It reminded me that they’re both similar agricultural products: they start as beans, they’re fermented, dried and roasted, and then turned into something that people in first world countries value quite highly. Economics and agriculture aside, the bar highlights reminds me of the roasting part of the process, and there’s a really nice smoothness to the bar that makes its way to every single tastebud and every cell in your mouth.

49th Parallel also has other offerings from Soma, including the microbatch bars that highlight cacao from Papua New Guinea, Hispaniola, and Madagascar. Alas, they no longer carry Askinosie Chocolate. However, they do have the full line of Thomas Haas chocolate bars.

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
2152 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

At the record store

Vosges-bacon-sized

Dandelion Emporium is a dangerous combination of vinyl, handmade cards, laptop bags, cheeky books, and anything else that your hipster heart desires. Ever the strategic thinkers, they also keep a stock of Vosges chocolate bars beside the cash register.

Vosges became famous for its use of spices and beautifully architected truffles, but has gained even more traction since the release of their exotic chocolate bars. I was gifted a bar of Mo’s Bacon Bar last week, and it’s a wacky combination of milk chocolate, applewood smoked bacon, and alderwood smoked salt. It has a comforting salty-sweetness to it, and actually reminds me of Chinese moon cakes. There’s a nice texture to the bar (the bacon’s crumbly, the salt crunchy, the chocolate melty) and the flavours are surprisingly well-balanced.

It makes me want to make more bacon caramel chocolates.

Dandelion Records has some large (100 gram) bars in the store, and have an order of small (15 gram) bars that are set to arrive any day now. Just in time for Hallowe’en, they’ve ordered the red fire skulls: skull-shaped versions of their red fire bar, containing chiles, cinnamon and dark chocolate. And the best part: black salt for eyes. They’re positively ghoulish.

Dandelion Emporium
2442 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
778-737-7367

(Note: Don’t get confused by the old storefront for Dandelion Records on Broadway, just east of Main. They’ve moved just around the corner to 2442 Main Street, under the new – but similar – name of Dandelion Emporium.)

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10 Comments to “Surprising places for chocolate in Vancouver”

  1. Rahel Bailie says:

    Oh dear, oh dear … I shouldn’t. But Dandelion Records is just down the street. Hmmm, maybe if I walk there and back, I’ll burn off the calories?

  2. deryncollier says:

    I’m going to have to give this chocolate bacon (or caramel bacon) combination a try!

  3. Social Bites says:

    That chocolate from 49th Parallel was sooo horrible that I think you should simply give the rest to me because really nobody else except of me should eat it! I am doing everyone a favour here! 🙂

    Well, actually…it was divine…you should all go and have it…and you are awake after eating it!!

  4. Eagranie says:

    Rahel – Yes. Bacon calories burn faster than any other.

    Deryn – If you’ve tried chocolate-covered pretzels, it’s kind of the same idea. Salty-sweet and addictive.

    Social Bites – So kind of you to take one for the team. Uh huh. 😉

  5. […] Contact me ← Surprising places for chocolate in Vancouver […]

  6. Eagranie! What’s the best place to get real chocolate near BCIT Campus downtown?

    🙂

  7. Eagranie says:

    Oh, Claudia, that’s a tough one. Not much I can recommend in that area…let me think about it and I’ll get back to you. 🙂

  8. darling, says:

    ohhhhh thank you!!!! i need the vosges bacon chocolate to stuff in some stockings and you just saved me $3o in shipping costs.

  9. Eagranie says:

    Happy to help. Even more so because it involves bacon.

  10. […] Read more about both of these finds in “Surprising places for chocolate in Vancouver.” […]

  11. scout says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had just returned from the best source of chocolate in Victoria (Plenty Epicurean Pantry) with a brown paper bag full of SOMA chocolate. It’s the first time I have ever tried them and I am totally impressed (especially love the Old School bar). I am so happy to know I’ll be able to keep tasting their bars here in Vancouver. In exchange, let me tell you that if you do pop over to Victoria sometime, Plenty has many of the really excellent chocolate makers, but you must try the dark Blanxart bar from Spain and a locally made sea salt caramel chocolate from Pearl Chocolate.

    Thank you again…I am new to Vancouver and was a bit underwhelmed by the selection of chocolatiers I’d found thus far, but I feel your recommendations will serve me well as we have many favourites in common.

    Scout

    • Eagranie says:

      Scout, glad to hear that you were successful on your chocolate quest. I didn’t know about Plenty, so thanks for the tip…Yet another reason I need to get to Victoria. 🙂

  12. […] collaborations. After all, Soma Chocolate teamed up with 49th Parallel to create the Epic Espresso Bar. And I love the combination of sipping chocolate and rich espresso in the sinfully decadent […]

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