Christmas on the Westcoast – visiting Chocolate Arts

I’m originally from Vancouver so every year I go back for Christmas – which is great. I get to escape the cold Toronto winter for a week and spend time with family and friends. I also get to visit some of my favourite food places. The places can change over the years but right now one of my favourite chocolate shops is Chocolate Arts. It’s a boutique chocolate shop located just off of Granville Island where they make all their chocolate on site. There is also seating if you want to have a snack or hot chocolate. I reminds me a lot of SOMA in Toronto where you can see people making chocolate in the background while you choose products from the display case and shelves.


Chocolate Arts has a fabulous chocolate tasting station where you can sample all the different types of chocolate that they sell. They are arranged in order of cocoa content from 48% to 70%. They carry single origin chocolates as well as blends and there are descriptions of the taste profiles for each type. I love it!


What I find really interesting is that chocolate that has the same cocoa content can still taste quite different from each other. Some have a fruitiness while others have s buttery, smooth finish. Some are more citric and others are more mellow. And even though generally the higher the cocoa content, the more bitter (i.e. less sweet) the chocolate, today I sampled a chocolate with a 65% cocoa content that tasted more bitter than chocolate with a 70% cocoa content.


At this level, chocolate is a bit like wine where other flavours and characteristics need to be taken into consideration rather than just the percentage of cocoa. I bought a bag of 65% fleur de cocoa because it had a mellow flavour and smooth finish. I figured it would make an amazing hot chocolate but would also be suitable for a wide variety of baking recipes. Now I just have to find a recipe worthy of this good quality chocolate (that’s assuming that I don’t use it all up making hot chocolate instead which I think is one of the best ways to enjoy it in its purist form). Did mention that ice storms have been hitting Toronto this year?

Do you know of a great food shop in Vancouver that I should visit the next time I’m there? Please share it in the comments below.