Chocolate champs: 10 of Canada’s best chocolate shops

By Steinar Cramer
Move over Belgium and Switzerland, Canadian chocolatiers are gaining recognition as some of the best in the world. They’re creating innovative flavour combinations that looks great and taste even better. Don’t believe us? Head to any of these 10 chocolate makers and find out for yourself. [Image credit: iStock.com/CowlickCreative]

Chocolate champs: 10 of Canada’s best chocolate shops

1. BETA5, Vancouver

This award-winning Vancouver chocolatier creates gorgeous chocolates that will blow your taste buds away. They’re known for their Polygon chocolate bars, which are cast in a mold meant to mimic the North Shore Mountains visible from their workshop. A signature chocolates collection is also a fan favourite, with flavours like Fisherman’s Friend, Bay Leaf, Tropical Crunch and Imperial Stout. Always experimenting with new flavours, BETA5 occasionally collaborates with local merchants; for example, working together with local roasters Matchstick Coffee to create a Flat White Polygon bar. One bite of the chocolates here and you’ll understand why they were named one of North America’s Top Ten Chocolatiers.

2. Chocolatier Constance Popp, Winnipeg

A true “bean-to-bar” chocolatier, CCP works with single-origin and single-plantation chocolate to create truly unique local flavours. These include their Beer Series Truffles with flavours like Fort Garry Dark with dark chocolate and pretzels, St. James Pale Ale with milk chocolate and bacon, and Farmery Lager with white chocolate and roasted peanuts. If beer and chocolate doesn’t tickle your fancy, the Manitobar may do the trick. CCP chocolates have made appearances at several high-profile events such as the Junos, Vancouver Olympics and Oscars. If they’re getting the attention of the stars, they must be onto something good!

3. Choklat, Calgary

“We make the best chocolate you have ever tasted.” So says the Choklat website, and we’re not sure we can disagree with them. This is some seriously good chocolate created by a team of dedicated chocolate fanatics. In addition to dark, milk and white chocolate bars, Choklat also creates customized truffles: you pick the centre, the dip and the coating, and fresh truffles will on their way to you within 12 hours. And it’s not just a couple of options – they offer almost 1,100 unique combinations! They’re even working on a service where you’ll be able to watch a streaming online video of your truffles being made. Now that’s cool.

4. Christophe Morel, Montreal

Born into a family of French pastry chefs, Christophe Morel quickly developed a passion for chocolate – both eating it, and eventually making it. Today he shares his passion through the incredible chocolates he creates day in and day out in Montreal. He offers up individual chocolates, bars and perles in a variety of tantalizing and often surprising flavours – think Chinese ginger, Ceylon cinnamon and 4 spices. And for the incurable chocolate addict, they even have a chocolate First Aid Kit, perfect for those emergency situations when chocolate is the only possible solution.

5. Hummingbird Chocolate Maker, Almonte, ON

Hummingbird is another top quality chocolatier taking bean-to-bar chocolates to new heights – you can even find a step-by-step walkthrough of the process on their website. that is taking quality to new heights. Started as a hobby by a chocolate-loving couple Drew and Erica Gilmour. From their workshop in Almonte they have refined their craft to the point where they are receiving global recognition for their creations, with their Hispaniola 70% bar receiving The Golden Bean at the 2016 Academy of Chocolate Awards in the UK. Besides a number of single origin bars, they also offer Mayan (a hint of heat) and PB & Joy (chocolate and peanut butter!).

6. Soma Chocolatemaker, Toronto

Started in 2003 by owners and chocolate fanatics David Castellan and Cynthia Leung, Soma has made a name for itself as one of Toronto’s, if not Canada’s, top chocolatiers. With a focus on roasting their own cacao beans and finding new ways to enjoy chocolate, what started as a modest enterprise in the corner of an old whiskey distillery has grown to become a fixture on the city’s chocolate scene. They boast a steady stream of collaborations and special projects, and also do gelato, cookies and pretty much anything with chocolate. With so much to choose from, what do you try? We recommend the Australian ginger tumbled in dark chocolate or their 15-piece Truffle Collection box.

7. Newfoundland Chocolate Company, St. John’s

The name tells you a lot of about this chocolate-maker: they are proud Newfoundlanders and don’t hide it when it comes to their chocolates. Their Newfoundland Sayings Bars feature local colloquialisms like Some Shockin’ Good, Lard Tunderin’ and Whadda Ya At? on the wrappers, while Row House Bars depict typical St. John’s row houses on the packaging. But don’t let this fool you. This is no cheap gimmick – the chocolate here is world class and includes slightly more serious presentations such as their single origin bars and boxed chocolates.

8. Thomas Haas, Vancouver

Building on a star-studded career as a pastry chef at such culinary institutions as Daniel Boulud’s eponymous New York restaurant and at Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel, Thomas Haas set out to make his own way in the world of chocolates and pastries. The result is two stores – one in Vancouver and one in North Vancouver – that are always packed, and a reputation as one of North America’s top chocolatiers. From their cakes, pastries and cookies to an amazing selection of chocolates, everything on offer demonstrates a razor-sharp attention to quality and detail. If you have a sweet tooth, or are shopping for someone who does, then Thomas Haas is a must-visit destination.

9. Palette de Bine, Montreal

This Mont Tremblant-based chocolatier is one of Montreal’s best. Following a small-batch bean-to-bar approach, they take great pride in the provenance and quality of the chocolates they produce. And what amazing chocolates they are! Their bars came away with multiple awards at the 2016 International Chocolate Awards, including Gold for their Bine à l’érable wild Bolivie 70% and Haïti Pisa 70%. You can find Palette de Bine chocolates at their Mont Tremblant workshop, or at specialty retailers throughout the city and across North America.

10. Ambiance Chocolat, Toronto

Torontonians flock to Ambiance Chocolat for their drool-worthy selection of small batch chocolates. Made with the best fair and direct trade chocolate and using flavour combinations that are the result of never-ending experimentation, these delectable confections are not to be missed. The focus on using ethical suppliers and environmentally friendly packaging is an added bonus, sure to make your enjoyment that much greater. Is this what they mean by “guilt-free indulgence”? We think so.

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