On a slow news day, you’ll probably find some variation on the statistic that anywhere from 50-70% of women prefer chocolate to sex. Well, in an informal study yesterday afternoon, I asked four women which they’d prefer. Three of the four chose chocolate. The fourth chose both.
This post is about women who make great chocolate, right here in Vancouver. And, as a nice supplement to last week’s post, you might be surprised where chocolate lurks.
Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France
This shop opened up on a sleepy side street just off Main Street in what used to be a chic, but overpriced, clothing boutique. The shop is decorated simply but is oh-so-cute, with a chalkboard listing the daily offerings.
Truffles are sold by weight, and include tasty delights like orange blossom (delicate, floral and fragrant), Earl Grey tea (aromatic, elegant, and positively bursting with bergamot) and coffee (deep, dark and earthy). There are also truffles made with single-origin chocolates from Venezuela and Madagascar.
These are serious truffles that don’t skimp on the chocolate. They’re dense, rich and almost impossibly smooth. Finished with a light dusting of Valrhona cocoa powder, they’re shockingly good. Though they’re all delicious, the Earl Grey truffle is the best of the bunch.
You can also get small chocolate squares adorned with aromatic additions like lavender and chile flakes. The chocolatière, Anne-Geneviève Poitras, has taken care to match each chocolate with an appropriate flavour, pairing the higher percentage chocolate with robust flavours and the lower percentage chocolate with more delicate flavours.
I love it when people pay attention to detail.
Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France
198 East 21st Avenue
Bad Girl Chocolates
[Disclaimer! Disclosure! Kelly Boyd, the woman behind Bad Girl Chocolates, is a friend of mine. She also makes kick-ass chocolates, and I wouldn’t be talking about her stuff if it weren’t good. So there.]
Bad Girl Chocolates has been a staple of the Vancouver Farmers Markets for a few years now, and I always look forward to this booth. Is it the cheeky, ‘40s-style pin-up girls that adorn the packages? Is it that the traditional flavours (caramel, nuts) sidle up next to the wacky ones (pomegranate, balsamic vinegar)? Is it the use of local ingredients wherever possible?
I guess it’s a bit of everything. Plus, I can have a chocolate while I fondle the produce at the other booths. (I mean, really. Did you see the peaches this year, all fuzzy and blushing pink? I dare you not to fondle a fresh peach or stick your nose into an ear of fresh picked corn. Seriously.)
Even better, a lot Kelly’s products are vegan. The ganache for Bad Girl Chocolates are made with —gasp! —water, rather than cream. At first, I was a huge skeptic, but now I’m a convert. The flavours are crisp and clean, and the chocolates taste just as rich as one made with a cream-based ganache. I won’t be making water ganaches myself, but I’m happy to eat them.
Don’t miss the fun, seasonal products. Not only are they limited edition chocolates, but they’re also the season’s bounty at its peak. I spied pears at the fruit stand last week, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Kelly’s pear truffle: pear ganache with pear caramel. The mere thought of it makes my knees weak.
Bad Girl Chocolates doesn’t have a storefront, but you can order online here. They’re also available at most of the Winter Farmers Markets, though the final schedule still has to be posted. You can also check out Bad Girl Chocolates’ debut at this year’s Circle Craft Fair, November 11-15 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.