Tag Archives: milk chocolate

Chocolate 201: Chocolate-tasting classes in Vancouver

Once again, I’m teaming up with the lovely folks at Xoxolat to teach some chocolate-tasting classes. We’ll go into more detail than you’d get in an introductory class, but don’t let that scare you; beginners are more than welcome, and I promise that the classes will be fun, not snooty. Nobody likes a critic—but everyone likes chocolate.

Each class features plenty of samples—and in true Xoxolat style, there will be a few surprises at the end of the night.

Participants receive an $8 store credit (must be used that evening) plus 10% of all purchases the night of the class.

WHERE: Xoxolat (2391 Burrard Street, at 8th Avenue)
WHEN: All classes run from 6:30–7:45 p.m.
COST: $20 per class, or register for all four classes for $75. (Note: due to the higher cost of samples, Chuao! costs $25.) Prices do not include HST.
REGISTER: You must register in advance. Indicate which class you’d like and someone from Xoxolat will confirm your registration. Register now.

About Chocolate 201

Chocolate 201 is a series of chocolate workshops that share the stories behind the chocolate wrapper. They’re intended for people who have some knowledge of chocolate and are familiar with how it’s transformed from bean to bar, but keen beginners are more than welcome. Expect engaging stories, interactive dialogue and the opportunity ask lots of questions.

Chocolate 201: The Science of Chocolate

Thursday, September 29, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
Cost: $20 + HST

Chocolate makers work diligently to coax the very best from their fine flavour beans. Learn how two critical steps, roasting and conching, affect the final product. We’ll also explore how playing with cacao percentage and sugar content affects flavour. Hint: higher cacao content does not automatically mean more bitterness in the bar.

REGISTER for Chocolate 201: The Science of Chocolate. Be sure to mention the name of the class when you register.

Chocolate 201: Smackdown! Old World vs New World

Thursday, October 6, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
Cost: $20 + HST

In Europe, making chocolate is a traditional that’s mostly passed through family generations. In North America, people abandon other, often lucrative, careers to make chocolate. In this old world/new world smackdown, you’ll hear stories of how people choose to make chocolate, and taste for yourself how each chocolate maker has created his own distinct style.

REGISTER for Chocolate 201: Smackdown! Old World vs New World. Be sure to mention the name of the class when you register.

Chocolate 201: In Defense of Milk Chocolate

Friday, October 21, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
Cost: $20 + HST

Chocolate snobs may dismiss milk chocolate as cloying, sweet and childish, but it’s still the chocolate of choice for most people. While regular milk chocolate clocks in at about 45% cacao content, dark milk chocolate can contain nearly 65% cacao. In this class, you’ll learn about and taste dark milk chocolate. It’s an ideal class for someone who loves milk chocolate and wants baby steps toward the dark (chocolate) side, or for someone who simply wants to learn more.

REGISTER for Chocolate 201: In Defense of Milk Chocolate. Be sure to mention the name of the class when you register.

Chocolate 201: Chuao!

Friday, October 28, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
Cost: $25 + HST

Mention the word Chuao in chocolate circles and people sit up straighter. This small region in Venezuela is known for the high quality of its beans. In 2005, Italian chocolate company Amedei won accolades from chocolate critics around the world for their single-origin Chuao bar. Learn how this small chocolate company took a snub from a well-known French chocolate maker and turned it into an award-winning chocolate bar. We’ll taste several bars made from Chuao beans, and you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about. (Due to the higher cost of Chuao samples, this class costs $25. Trust me, it’s worth it.)

REGISTER for Chocolate 201: Chuao!. Be sure to mention the name of the class when you register.


Would you like camel with your chocolate?

I hate making excuses, but here we go… I have a wicked deadline and my brain feels like it’s made of soup.

So, in lieu of my usual bemused commentary, I’m going to send you here to read about milk chocolate that’s made with camel milk. I have a few bars that are made with yogurt instead of milk solids, but I haven’t tried them yet. I’ll think about moving them to the top of the tasting list.

Apparently, you’ll be able to buy them in San Francisco. What, it’s not enough that the Bay Area gets Michael Recchuiti, TCHO and Chocolatier Blue? You also get to be the first ones to try camel milk chocolate?

(Thanks to Joseph for the link.)

Seth Ellis Chocolatier caramel snobinettes

A snobinette is a little hand-dipped chocolate cup that typically contains delicious things. While it sounds like some sort of uber-hip reference from Gossip Girl, it is not. Yet, anyway.

Photo credit: Rick Levine

Photo credit: Rick Levine

Seth Ellis Chocolatier fills their dark chocolate snobinette with nutmeg-laced caramel. This isn’t your typical runny, sticky caramel. Don’t get me wrong, I love that, too. But this caramel is rich, thick and viscous, with top notes of nutmeg that mellow to butter and milk chocolate. The caramel is topped with a layer of milk chocolate, and then a pretty dark chocolate swirl.

This is another chocolate that I’ll be picky with, simply because I know how challenging these are to make. Just think about how labour-intensive it is to make hand-dipped chocolate shells, fill them with caramel, top it with milk chocolate, and then give it a swirl on top. They’ve figured out how to speed things up a little bit, but Rick Levine freely admits that it’s a work in progress.

The shells are nice and thin, but ever-so-slightly lopsided. And the milk chocolate layer on top of the caramel is a wee bit thicker than I would have liked. I’ll be checking in on this one in a few months. I’m interested in seeing how they work out the production kinks.

Seth Ellis chocolates are available at select locations in the Denver/Boulder area, and that page will soon be updated to reflect the five NYC Whole Foods that now carries them. You can also buy them online through It’s Only Natural Gifts or through Foodzie.

(xoxo, Gossip Girl.)

Seth Ellis Chocolatier milk chocolate truffles

Seth Ellis Chocolatier is a Boulder-based company that makes certified organic, nut-free, gluten-free confections. Before you raise a skeptical eyebrow at the laundry list of buzzwords, you should meet one of the brains behind Seth Ellis Chocolatier. And since you probably won’t, I met with Rick Levine for you. See how far I’ll go for my readers? Visiting a chocolate shop while on vacation – crazy stuff.

You won’t find any really wacky flavours from Seth Ellis. They make chocolates that they like to eat, and that their family and friends like to eat. That’s always good criteria to follow. In keeping with that, all their ingredients are certified organic (many of them custom-made for Seth Ellis). All of their chocolate and sugar is fairly traded.


Photo credit: Rick Levine

So let’s start with the most pedestrian of chocolates. Their milk chocolate truffles look pretty shy. I mean, they’re shiny and pretty with a stripe of dark chocolate down them, but really?

Oh, really.

The milk chocolate doesn’t taste cloyingly sweet or leave a milky aftertaste on your tongue. And it’s nothing compared to the ganache inside: buttery, caramel notes on top of actual cocoa flavour that melts on your tongue like silk.

What a great way to start a box of chocolates, and this series of posts.

Seth Ellis chocolates are available at select locations in the Denver/Boulder area. You can also buy them online through It’s Only Natural Gifts.

[EDIT: Apparently, you can also get them at five Whole Foods stores in NYC. They’ll be updating their website soon, apparently. Also, you can buy them online through Foodzie.]

ChocolaTas: four-spice milk chocolate

I’m reviewing a selection of chocolates from ChocolaTas, and so far I’ve covered their dent-du-midi (almond praline) and Earl Grey chocolates.

I’m not a big fan of milk chocolate. I find most milk chocolate – even the high-end stuff – to be slightly cloying and slick on my tongue. The one exception is Valrhona manjari milk chocolate, which tastes like caramel and butterscotch. Nom nom nom.

But I’m not one to be a chocolate snob (no, really). I figured I’d take the plunge and try ChocolaTas’ four-spice milk chocolate bonbon. It’s quite pretty, with fancy cocoa butter swirls all over it. The four spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and ginger but I couldn’t taste all of them. The cinnamon and nutmeg came through, but I got too distracted by the milkiness of the milk chocolate. That says a lot, given what strong flavours ginger and pepper are. I think the choice to have a milk chocolate base was probably wise, since dark chocolate would overpower the delicate spices. Even still, the recipe needs a bit of tweaking: either more spices, longer infusion time for the spices in cream, or a different (less cloying) milk chocolate.

151 – 1669 Johnston St.,
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3R9