Category Archives: Treats

Heidi's Beads and Buns

It Blew My Head Off

This week we ventured out to the perplexedly named Heidi’s Beads and Buns. As it happens, she sells beads and buns, thereby making a mockery of my attempts to discover some sort of hidden meaning in the interplay between the two words. Beads and buns and smoothies now, too, Heidi tells me.

So many rings, so little time
So many rings, so little time

It took a little cajoling to have accompaniment this week, but I did eventually convince Clara and Solomon that there might be something in it for them. They were both disappointed that the “something” did not involve one of Heidi’s fanciful creations. However, they were both delighted that they not only got to have a cinnamon bun, but they were also allowed to choose which one they wanted. Solomon had an “it’s too good to be true” look of suspicion as he selected an inner-row bun, but Heidi cheerfully pried it out for him. That bit of cinnamon bun iconoclasm was enough to make him delight in his prize, regardless of flavour. Happily, they were delicious as well as risqué.

Oooh la la
Oooh la la

I asked Heidi about the odd seeming combination and she shrugged, as though she had never considering the combination odd. She said “well, I’ve just always made cinnamon buns.” Here’s hoping she continues to always keep on making them.

On to the beads. Heidi has an eye-catching collection of rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces that have prompted no end of begging and agony in poor Clara over numerous visits to the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. Please don’t think I’m a terribly mean mother, but I did not buy anything for Clara. I did, however, let her and her brother try on and model several different rings, all of which were “the most beautiful ever”.

Clara's adorable chubby hand with ring
Clara’s adorable chubby hand with ring


Solomon's adorable chubby hand, with ring
Solomon’s adorable chubby hand, with ring

Although, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a jewellery wearer, I decided to go out on a limb (or digit, as it were) and acquire a fun and funky ring for myself. I was torn between a red bead with red wire creation and a silver ring with a flower. Clara made the decision for me by choosing the flower one.

“Why that one?” I asked.
“Because,” she said, “it blew my head off.”
I can’t argue with that.

I’ve been wearing the ring off and on for a couple of weeks now and I feel very ostentatious when wearing it. I was certain that everyone would notice my foray into the jewellery wild side. However, aside from the “oh, that’s so cute” comments, only my father expressed an opinion. He asked “does it squirt water?” Thanks Dad!

Computering and modeling.  Multi-tasking at its finest
Computering and modeling. Multi-tasking at its finest

I love it and it makes me feel a little dangerous to wear because it’s so out of character for me. It also feels a little dangerous to wear because I need it to be sized ever-so-slightly but Hurricane Arthur prevented me (thus far) from revisiting Heidi and her glorious goodies. Fortunately, Arthur did not whip it off my pinkie, but it’s really only a matter of time. I will return, Heidi, I promise.

The real highlight of the visit was allowing Clara and Solomon to choose a necklace and earrings set to give to Grandma for her birthday (which is the day before the Grapevine is published, so it’s safe to tell you). They were thrilled to be able to carefully examine each set and finally agreed to one that I hope my mother will love because it is unique, lovely, and beautifully made, but also because it was chosen with love.

I won special bonus points from Heidi for pronouncing her last name correctly on the first try. You’ll have to stop by her booth at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market to find out what it is and see if you can get bonus points, too. Actually, I made up the bonus points part, but you should go anyway, because Heidi’s creations are strictly offline.

Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie

Best. Chocolate. Ever.

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).

Don't bite the spoon Max.  Wait!  No!
Don’t bite the spoon Max. Wait! No!

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.

Even the raspberry spoke French
Even the raspberry spoke French

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…

Destination: delirium.
Destination: delirium.

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.

I'm not ENTIRELY selfish.
I’m not ENTIRELY selfish.

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.

I mean, how can you resist?
I mean, how can you resist?

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:

(but leave the crème brûlée for me, k, thanks).