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
49th 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
At the record store
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.
2442 Main Street
(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.)