If you know me in real life, you will, no doubt, have heard me say “I don’t like chocolate.” I don’t like chocolate cake, or brownies, or chocolate pudding, chocolate ice-cream, or that waxy brown stuff that shows up around Easter time. Gross.
However, the real truth of the matter is – I’m just an absolutely unbearable snob. I was clearly royalty in a former life, because I simply adore chocolate that is good enough for the Queen. Lucky for me, a chocolate-maker who has made chocolate for the Queen just so happens to have a corner staked out at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market. Lucky for the Queen, I wasn’t there when she was sampling his wares, because I might have created a diversion so I could snarf some of her goodies while she wasn’t looking.
The weekend I went to do reconnaissance (see how I slipped in a wee French word there) with Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie I faced some resistance on the home front. Apparently Clara is encountering some market fatigue. “Max,” I said, “you’re up.” He grudgingly came along. He brightened considerably when we arrived and I clarified our mission. By brightened, I’m meaning a glow one measures in Petawatts (I googled that word – it means one quadrillion watts – a lightning bolt only has a trillion).
Jean-Pierre Gallois is the master chocolatier AND the proprieter, so it was great fun to chat with him while we drooled over our selections. He explained that when he started the shop they produced about 70% pastries to about 30% chocolates but they currently have almost entirely flipped that ratio. In deference to this history, I decided that it would not be right for me to only sample the chocolates. It would be a disservice to both my readership and to M. Gallois. Duly instructed, then, Max chose a pot au chocolat (which is just what you are thinking, but also it has a chocolate spoon). I had crème brûlée which is my 100% hands down no-holds-barred absolute favourite dessert in the entire world.
Now. There are things I don’t know much about and there are things I am afraid of trying lest they disappoint me. A badly made crème brûlée can be lumpy or eggy or too heavy on the vanilla. I have had bad crème brûlée and it makes me want to weep for humanity. I’ve had crème brûlée in the centre of Paris and it made me want to weep for the sheer joy of it all. Selecting crème brûlée from Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie was going all in with my taste bud gambling chips.
Fast forward to a few minutes later. Max tucked in to his pot au chocolat and exclaimed something along the lines of “it looks like pudding but it tastes like heaven” whilst I tentatively placed my first bite into my mouth. I closed my eyes. I sighed audibly. Max, in his ennui-laded teenager voice, said “aren’t you being a little dramatic?” I arched an eyebrow and dug out a small sample (you have no idea how magnanimous this makes me). He put it into his mouth. “Well?” I said, “was that too dramatic?” “No,” said he, in a voice of quiet reverence. “Do you want to trade?” he asked. Look, friend, I’m a mother but I’m no Mother Theresa. Child can buy his own with his allowance if he wants to…
But I’ve gone on and on and I’ve yet to mention the main event! M. Gallois was kind enough to insist I take a sample of each of the truffles he had on offer (and, re-sampling allows me to inform you that the selection changes from week to week!). I am not going to bore you with going on and on about how absolutely spectacular each one was – go get your own (and share with me, thanks).
What I am going to tell you is that you may never want to eat another chocolate from anywhere else ever again once you savour one of these beauties. You know how they say beauty is on the inside? Well, that is true with these chocolates for sure, but the beautiful designs make sure that they’re beautiful on the outside as well. I was particularly taken with the beauty of the Gaspereau Port chocolate. M. Gallois explained that he sends the design to a speciality edible design-maker in Quebec which then sends back sheets of the motif which he carefully hand-applies to each chocolate. It’s almost heart-breaking to eat them…but I assure you, you’ll get over it very, very quickly.
And the lemon thyme made with thyme they grow themselves? Or the honey (local) lavender (local)? I did not even know they made a Gaspereau Maple Wine truffle until I read the website. I may die.
Everything that is crafted by this genius-with-chocolate will make you want to run away from home and join the circus if it were made of chocolate and the chocolate was Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie and you could just be one with the chocolate all of the time for the rest of your life and forever and always and…
I’m sorry, I got a little carried away.
And so should you. Go, eat.
Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie can be found at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market every Saturday and at the Halifax Seaport Market. Like them on Facebook (and watch a terrific interview M. Gallois did in April for Global TV) and visit their drool-worthy website: http://gourmandisesavenue.com/
(but leave the crème brûlée for me, k, thanks).