10 April, 2009

Nary an Easter Bunny In Sight

The world is overrun with chocolate this week.  Bunnies and eggs and little fake nests filled with plastic clippings.  I, myself, am a sucker for Mini-Eggs.  But I do loathe the fake chocolate that sometimes creeps its way in to our house by well-meaning family.  Today we tasted chocolate in an entirely different league than even the best locally made bunny.

I took the girls on a date this morning.  We used to call them adventures, but The Monster has been insistent about going on dates since Mama and Daddy have found a regular babysitter and a little free time. 

"I'm a big girl, I can go on dates."  It's enough to put fear in to the heart of any father of daughters.  And she isn't even three.

Alas, I digress.  So our adventure... er, date, was to Choklat, here in town.  This is historically the worst week of the year for our family (but that would be a true digression to mention why). This year was milder, but really no exception to historical rule.  I figured some emotional eating would be good for all of us.
And after eating two of these between the three of us (yup, Smilosaurus had her share), plus a brownie, we were all feeling good.  That is, until we got a flat tire and the nanny we'd hoped to hire turned us down.  That's why I'm glad that I have some fresh truffles, some ridiculously expensive dark chocolate bars, and perhaps another couple of cupcakes hiding in the kitchen.

Choklat, owned and operated by jack of all trades Brad Churchill, is one of only two chocolatiers in Canada that actually makes their own chocolate.  From the bean.  Brad imports the raw beans in giant burlap sacks.  If you peak through the doors at the back of the kitchen you can see them piled there, waiting to be roasted on site.  The smell of chocolate in multiple forms is worth the visit itself.  Then you see the menu.

Unlike any other chocolate shop, there isn't a storefront display of chocolates waiting to tempt you.  There might be some chocolate dipped strawberries, the rich cupcakes, or some other baked goods, but there are no trays of chocolates distinguished by their swirls and gold dust. Pick up the diner style menu and choose your evil.  Key lime truffle filling covered in dark chocolate and rolled in coconut?  Espresso truffles with dark chocolate and rolled in cocoa nibs (those are for my mum-in-law visiting this weekend).  Then buy a cupcake iced with whipped chocolate to watch Brad and his staff make your truffles right then and there.  The only thing missing was a glass of cold milk.

When the new girl was struggling to make the truffles I ordered look right Brad told her to start over.  Heck no, I said, I don't care what they look like!  But he wouldn't have it and said the rejects would be kept for samples.  I should have pushed for an extra sample right then and there.
One more mention has to be made of the cupcakes.  At all the fancy, trendy cupcakes shops in nearly every major North American city the vast majority of cupcakes are okay cakes designed to carry a frivolous amount of frosting.  And that frosting is almost always a buttercream piped in a pastel tower of sweetness.  When the mood hits they can be just right.  But when you want a real chocolate cupcake go to Choklat.  I must admit that the cake part isn't perfect, it is a little dry.  The frosting however is a simple whipped dark chocolate with a touch of cream and icing sugar.  Not cloying, not bitter, and just a little bit creamy.  Together with the cupcake it is perfection.  The kind of perfection that makes you want another and you know you won't get sick or need a trip to the dentist.  The kind of perfection that erases a crappy week.  The kind of perfection that caps a perfect date. 


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Sounds like the perfect way to get over a crappy week! Though the thought of dates at three would have me running to this place at least twice a week. x

Vincci said...

Isn't Choklat wonderful? I dropped in late a week and a half ago for a brownie (they'd cleaned up their truffle making supplies for the day) and it was so amazing. Still haven't blogged about it!

Julie said...

Having tried it, I have to say I still prefer Bernard Callebaut.. who has spent 25 years honing his chocolate, and sourcing the best ingredients. I also take issue with the way Choklat promotes their chocolate by slandering BC. It's like politicians who try to get a leg up by badmouthing their competition. If you truly have a great product, let it speak for itself. There's lots of room for everyone to play!

Anonymous said...

Sorry your 'date' ended with flat tires and other let downs but thanks for the info about this chocolatier. Next time I'm in Calgary I'll have to go there.

Was the other place you were referring to Soma here in Toronto?

The Diva on a Diet said...

Holy cow, that cupcake looks spectacular! And, I loved reading your description of the frosting. Now that's my kind of frosting. I can't stand the sickly sweet stuff. This looks like a very grown-up, very wonderful alternative. What a great post.

(Except of course for the flat and the nanny. Thank heaven for your additional stash of chocolate!)

Brad Churchill said...

Brad Churchill here from Choklat. Thank you so much for the flattering comments about my business.

With regard to the one comment about my "slandering" Callebaut... Well... Every day customers ask me how Choklat compares, and I tell them the truth - We make chocolate and he doesn't. That's not slander. It's a fact. In the end though it doesn't really matter. You as a customer have to like the taste of the product you are buying. I'm just glad that so many people are enjoying my creations!

Julie said...

Slander is any statement intended to discredit or damage the reputation of another. What is posted on the main page of the Choklat website goes beyond 'we make chocolate and they don't'.

Cheryl Arkison said...

The comments on the Choklat website do seem a bit strong, and rather negative towards any other chocolatier. That being said, I am really intrigued by the variety of chocolate out there, especially the notion of single estate chocolate. It is a bit like wine or scotch - choices make it all better. And simply more for me to eat.