Tag Archives: pomegranate

Women and chocolate

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

chocolaterie_logoThis 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
Vancouver, BC
604-566-1065

Bad Girl Chocolates

bad_girl_logo[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.

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Robin Chocolates pomegranate truffle

I’ve gone off on pomegranates before, so I’ll spare you those details (but feel free to clicky clicky). And you know, I love pomegranate and I love chocolate – but alas, the combination isn’t always a winner. Bad Girl Chocolates* makes a kick-ass pomegranate truffle, so I had high hopes for the version from Robin Chocolates.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the technique behind Robin Chocolates’ molded chocolates is pretty astounding. This pomegranate truffle comes in a gem-like mold, like a rounded dome with facets cut into it. And it. is. perfect. The sides are thin and uniform, and the bottom seal is immaculately smooth.

The ganache inside has a nice texture, but I’m not blown away by the flavour. It has the tartness that I expect from a pomegranate ganache, but that’s about it. You’re left wondering if it’s pomegranate, or maybe a citrus combination (without the brightness) or maybe even sour cherry (not quite sour enough). I’m all for subtle, but this is a little too subtle for my taste.

You can buy Robin Chocolates here. Their online store isn’t up yet. If you ask very nicely they might ship stuff to you, but only if you live in the continental US.

* Disclaimer: I have breakfast with Kelly, the brains and hands behind Bad Girl Chocolates, once a month. She’s lovely, but even if I didn’t think she was lovely, I would recommend her pomegranate truffle.

Robin Chocolates

It seems like years ago that I was wandering around Boulder, Colorado. It was, in fact, a mere month ago that I came across a cute little shop called Oliv You & Me, which carries all sorts of gourmet goodies. I ogled the olive oil, viewed the vinegar, and…wait, is that chocolate?

They had a selection of Robin Chocolates, a small company out of nearby Longmont, CO. While I would have liked the opportunity to pick and choose, I settled for a pre-packed box of four confections. It contained one each of pomegranate, mint chocolate chip, chocolate caramel fleur de sel, and a raspberry heart.

They’re really pretty, but I got over that “too pretty to eat” thing years ago. Good thing, too. Otherwise, what would I talk about for the next four days?

More pomegranates

Usually one post is enough to get something out of my system, but I still have pomegranates on the brain. So, I regale you with my list of Why I Like Pomegranates:

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Pomegranates made easy

Oh, I know. Pomegranates are so last year. This year’s hot fruit is the acai berry, but since I associate acai berries with my mom’s medicinal soups, I refuse to acknowledge their hipness.

EDIT: I meant to say goji berries. My mom puts goji berries in her medicinal soups that look like sludge and taste like dirty socks. Goji berries are also quite hip, but I’m pretty sure acai berries hold the current throne for It fruit.

But pomegranates! Before the antioxidant throne was usurped by acai berries, pomegranates were the It Thing. It’s trickled its way down the marketing stream, and now you can buy pomegranate juice (straight or blended with other juices) at your local grocery store. Usually the blends have cute little names, like the BluePom I saw the other day (blueberry and pomegranate, of course).

Cynicism aside, they really are good for you. They’re a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B5, potassium, and polyphenols. Polyphenols are those lovely healthy things that are in red wine and chocolate.

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