About marianne


For Summer…

After a couple months of searching and testing, we have found an excellent iced drinking chocolate recipe to serve up at the Shop this summer. And after getting together with Cafe Leva to create some 80% Valrhona chocolate gelato, we have one of the best ice cream sandwiches in the City.

Yesterday we invited our newsletter subscribers down to the Shop for samples, and we hope you made it out. If not, both of these items will be available starting Tuesday. See you soon!

‘Chocolat’ + Frozen Drinking Chocolate

This past Saturday evening on 104th was quite lovely – after a day full of Al Fresco festivities, a bunch of Edmontonians gathered outdoors at 10pm to watch Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp in ‘Chocolat’ . We had bars, creme fraiche and bacon brittle peanut butter truffles, and frozen dark drinking chocolate on hand to complement the title of the film.

We hope you made it out to the show, but if not, stop by the Shop to try our summer creations listed above – hickory smoked bacon, peanuts and chocolate are an amazing combo, while the creamy creme fraiche truffle has a hint of bright tartness that is perfect for increasingly warm days.

We are still working on our frozen drinking chocolate recipe to offer in the Shop, but here’s a recipe you can try at home:

Frozen Drinking Chocolate

Adapted from a recipe by Serendipity 3

Makes 1 Serving

1/2 ounce dark or milk chocolate (try your favourite bar, or the Valrhona Caraibe 64% is lovely here)

2 teaspoons of Kerstin’s Dark Drinking Chocolate

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (reduce a little if you’re going to use milk chocolate)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 cups ice

Whipped cream for serving (optional)


Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until melted. Add the drinking chocolate mix and sugar. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly add ½ cup of milk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a blender, place the remaining cup of milk, the room-temperature chocolate mixture and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve in your glass of choice with whipped cream if desired… and maybe a sprinkling of some Cocoa Nib Caviar.


Mendiants, Gianduja and Mushrooms

We’ve been working on some new things in the Shop lately, so here’s a peek at some of our newest creations now out in the shop:

Packages of milk, white and dark Mendiants are now sitting pretty next to the Meltaways. Flavours are fleur de sel, vanilla bean and fruit and nut.

Outside of our Mothers’ Day collection, we also have two brand new truffles out – Pistachio Gianduja and Hazelnut Gianduja. These are rich and intense truffles, with the smoothness of the ganache provided by the ground nuts themselves.

Finally, we are now selling the Michel Cluizel nougat mushrooms in singles out of the truffle case, so you can purchase just one to munch on… or this entire plate.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those moms out there! Have a great weekend.

New and returning bars plus potatoes

We’ve got some great new bars in the shop right now, as well as some old favourites…

The popular Zotter bars have returned in fun new flavours, like Olive and Lemon, Candied Ginger, and Celery, Truffle and Port Wine. The Strawberry and ever popular Bacon versions are out as well.

There are more dark-milk Bonnat bars for those of you (like me!) who crave a rich, flavourful milk chocolate once in awhile. Java and Surabaya are on the shelves right now.

Madécasse also sent us a great new flavoured bar – sea salt and cacao nib. A big hit of sea salt with the crunch of cacao nibs, sitting in their 63% chocolate. Amazing!

Bags of Francois Pralus’ multi-coloured potatoes are also back! Not to ruin the surprise, but these are actually hazelnut praline wrapped with a chocolate shell, not potatoes. But they are incredibly fun and yummy.

Look for Mothers’ Day items coming soon!

Amano – Guayas

Compared to the likes of Amedei, Pralus and Cluizel, Amano is a relatively new chocolatier, who started up in 2006 in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. Although only four years old, Amano has come out of the gate strong, picking up more than a few awards from the Academy of Chocolate in 2009.

Opening any Amano bar is always special, and this one is no different, with a rich, almost milky, brown colour reflected throughout the surface. Immediately there is a lovely, sweet floral note, along with the essential vanilla, and maybe a few hints of coffee for good measure. The attention to quality is seen in the bar’s shiny finish, and a refreshing snap notes the good temper.

As with their other ‘single origin’ bars, Amano has really allowed the flavour of the bean to shine here. Lots of florals as hinted at by the initial aroma, along with some brightness from something like raspberries or blackberries. Also, there is a big hit of cinnamon in this one that went all the way through for me. Just at the end, a slight bit of smokiness to balance everything out (this is the perfect amount for those of us who find Ocumare’s smokiness too overpowering). With a nice, long lasting finish, this bar is a definite winner.

One of the great things about Amano is the obvious passion that goes not only into their bars, but also into the relationship between their company and the farmers and communities who cultivate the cacao used for their chocolate. You can read the stories behind Guayas and Amano’s other bars here.

Their website also features a fairly extensive and useful write up on tasting chocolate here.

We’ve got a wide range of Amano’s bars stocked in the Shop, so come in and test one (or two, or three…) out – you won’t be disappointed.

New Corallo and other ‘warm’ things

At least we had some warm weather over the long weekend, but obviously spring is more elusive than many of us thought. In the mean time, we’ve got some perfect treats to last you until the warm weather re-appears.

We had some fun new Claudio Corallo selections arrive in the Shop this past week. More of the chocolate dipped coffee beans have come in, as well as two new items – chocolate covered ginger and pear infused raisins dipped in chocolate. Also, Corallo’s Seattle store opened in December, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area. You can read an article on their Shop, and all their fun offerings here.

Chai Spiced Walnuts, Chili Lime Cashews, and chocolate dipped lemon peels are also out in the Shop, as well as new Kusmi Tea flavours, including one green tea with rose petals… fresh enough to remind of the warm weather to come, but still soothing enough to sip on a cool, windy, April day.

And of course, if you stop by the Shop, we are always happy to make you a warm cup of drinking chocolate.

Enjoy your weekend, and keep warm!

More Chocolate Education Dates

If you love organic chocolate, there are still some tickets left for our organic chocolate tasting on Wednesday, April 14th.

We’ve added a new tasting on Wednesday, April 28th, that will feature 10 different milk and dark chocolates. As always, the essential bit of history and information on T. cacao will be included.

In addition to tastings, we still have one spot left in our April 11th Chocolate Making Class, and we’ve added a new session for May 25th. Tempering and ganache will be covered, and best of all, you get to create your very own confections to take home and enjoy!

Tickets for both tastings and making classes can be found here, or give us a call (780.990.0011) to book a spot.

Digital Easter Egg Hunt!

We are having another Easter Egg Hunt this year! Although last year’s event was a huge success, we have decided to make the 2010 hunt digital! Here’s how you can get some ganaches on us:

Pictures of Kerstin and Angie’s chocolate tour around Paris have recently been posted on our blog. There are four eggs hidden throughout the photos in Kerstin’s posts below on Paris (click on the photos to get a closer look). Each egg has a letter on it, and together make a four letter word… in French.

Come tell us the correct answer at the Shop between March 30th and April 3rd, and you will win a box of Michel Cluizel’s Les Criolles ganache cacao pods (retail value $12; while supplies last).

Good luck, and have fun! See you soon!


The Shop is full of all sorts of colourful Easter treats right now!

We have three types of Easter eggs – a small, house made marshmallow filled egg, a medium sized, hand painted hollow egg, and a large egg filled with crunchy Valrhona pearls. All the eggs come in white, milk, and dark, and the medium sized ones are flavoured. The essential hollow Easter bunnies are sitting neatly on a shelf too, in milk and dark, waiting for owners.

Also for Easter, are Dulce de leche filled eggs, lots of fun solid shapes, and white, milk and dark bunny lollipops!

We have also received bright blue ‘Robins’ Eggs’ from Michel Cluizel – milk chocolate and praline ganache, wrapped in a milk chocolate shell… these ones are certainly great for ‘the hunt’!

And finally, there are assorted Easter ‘baskets’ filled with Valrhona Pearls, a small solid bunny, a Theo flavoured bar, a bunny lollipop and a few of the ‘Robins’ Eggs’. This is a great, seasonal switch up for the chocolate lover in your life!

Happy Easter!

New bars, truffles and treats

In addition to all the Easter chocolate, new truffle flavours are packing the confection case – Banoffee Pie, Vanilla Caramel, Orange Blossom, Peanut Butter & Saskatoon Berry Jam and Cherry Blossom.

We’ve received new Madagascar bars from Madécasse – a 63% ‘mellow’ and a 67% ‘smooth’ – as well as a brand new batch of Pralus bars, including some new Single Origins – Djakarta, Trinidad and Caracas. The Amano shelf is packed again too, with more Guayas, Ocumare Milk and Jembrana Milk.

More of the Zotter truffle bars have already arrived, with lots of fresh flavours for spring – Almond with Raisins, ‘Chocolate Bee’ with Honey Crisps, Lemon Polenta, Coffee Plum and Bacon, Pineapple and Paprika, Butter Caramel, Maracuja (Passion), Mango, and Goji Berries with Sesame Nougat.

And finally, Liz has decorated the Shop with these fun butterflies for Spring. So even if the weather outside is not the best, it feels like spring as soon as you step through the door.

More Theo!

Many of you have been requesting more of the Theo Salted Caramels we had in the Shop over Christmas, and I am happy to report they have returned!

The Ghost Chile is back, along with two new Spring flavours: Rose and Lavender.

We also received a couple exciting Easter bars from them – a dark, ‘Toasted Coconut‘ bar (this one is Vegan), and a milk, ‘Salted Almond‘ bar. It must be spring when the pink and purple packaging comes out!

And just as a note, all of the Theo caramels and bars listed above are gluten and soy free!

Parisian Packaging

Kerstin brought back all sorts of treats from Paris for us to test at the Shop. My favourite quickly became the mint ganache by Patrick Roger – it was infused with a heavy concentration of mint, and the impact was amazing… it seemed as though I had just eaten a bunch of fresh mint leaves!

While the ganaches I sampled tasted lovely, after travelling halfway across the world, the shells looked a little worse for wear. So instead of taking pictures of the confections themselves, here are some shots of the jewelry box-esque packaging.

While I love the colour of the Patrick Roger, my favourite has come down to a tie between the luxurious, crocodile textured box by Jean-Charles Rochoux, and the cool, sleek, brushed stainless from Jacques Genin… I think the latter is beginning to take the lead however.

While the chocolate inside may truly be what matters, as Kerstin noted in her previous post on Patrick Roger, the gorgeous packaging is often what draws us in.

A Full Shop

It’s lovely and sunny out today, and we just received a bunch of new treats from France! We received a new order of Michel Cluizel’s bars, sardines and nougat mushrooms. Also, the beautiful criollo cacao pod ganaches pictured below, will be out in the store next week!

Also new, are Barnier caramels in a very fun lollipop form. We have lots of all five flavours: café, lemon, mint, salted butter and orange. They are all neatly waiting (along with the Cluizel ganaches) to head out into the Shop next week.

There are new tins of Violet and Anise Drops from Les Anis de Flavigny… these little flavoured mints are lovely to hide away in your purse, desk, backpack (or anywhere, really), but the tins alone are just too beautiful to pass up.

Liz and Rebecca have been working hard in the back all week getting Easter treats ready (look for a preview coming soon!). But to ease your wait, they also filled up the truffle case with crème brûlée, mocha, chili caramel, Fleur de Sel, passion fruit, and lavender truffles, as well as two new flavours – Irish Whisky (pictured below) and Lime. There are also lovely, fresh pieces of Lemon and Chili-Lime-Cashew bark right now too.

We are out of the Fleur de Sel bar in the Shop right now, but don’t forget Chocophilia bars are available at Sobey’s Urban Fresh on Jasper, at Planet Organic, and the Italian Centre (South and Downtown), just to name a few spots (check out this link for more locations selling Chocophilia).

And just as a note, Kerstin and Angie arrived back in Edmonton safe and sound last night, with treats and stories from Paris. Watch for posts coming soon!

Bacon + Chocolate = Yum

The Edmonton Journal released an article last week on the City’s infatuation with all things bacon… Both the Zotter bars and the chocolate covered bacon, available at Kerstin’s, were referenced in the article, so we thought we’d better clarify the status of our bacon and chocolate treats.

We did get some Zotter Bacon Bits bars in a couple weeks ago, but alas, they are already sold out! We’ll be sure to order some as soon as possible and will let you know when they are in.

Secondly, the chocolate covered bacon, featured last year for Fathers’ Day will be back from June 1st to June 21st. You only have two more months to wait!

In the mean time, I will leave you with this interview from Global TV last year to get your taste buds going:

For that extra citrus kick – Valrhona Manjari Orange

Madagascar chocolate is an easy sell for me – I love the flavour of dried fruits, the slight spiciness, and mostly, the citrus. Of course, Valrhona was the one to step up with this flavoured bar, studded with candied orange rind, to give their 64% Manjari that extra edge. Valrhona’s efforts did not go unnoticed – they were awarded Gold for this one in 2009, at the Academy of Chocolate‘s annual competition.

Valrhona always does a great job in the tempering department, and this one has their characteristic sheen. I also love the light orange-brown colouring on this one, which hints at the citrus flavours to come.

Of course this bar smells as expected – like oranges. But a cinnamon-cloves scent also brings up the rear… definitely worth waiting for.

While I don’t generally select Valrhona’s Manjari chocolate for my Madagascar fix, here its light, crisp fruit flavours provide a perfect base for those flavourful chunks of orange. For me, this is exactly what their Manjari chocolate needs – a big hit of that sweet, acidic citrus that I love in other Madagascar chocolates.

In the end, I think it is this bar’s versatility that carries it a long way – whether you need a mid-day (or morning) pick-me-up, or a refreshing yet decadent finish to a winter meal, this one certainly delivers.

Let us know what you think of this bar! Also, if you have any favourite bars you would like us to post on, leave a note below!

New Zotter bars, more Drinking Chocolate and a few sale items

We’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for our order of Zotter truffle bars to arrive, and they are finally here! Black Cherries with Vanilla, Cheese-Walnuts-Raisins, Marc de Champagne, Pink Grapefruit, Bacon Bits, With Love (a combo of raspberry, almond and coconut) are all waiting to be scooped up.

Last week I reported that we were sold out of Drinking Chocolate, but the shelves are packed once again with both Spicy and Dark versions. And since the snow seems to be returning today, after a week of blue skies, a cup of drinking chocolate is surely in order!

There are a few things from around the Shop on sale this week:

Our remaining selection of Patric 67% and 75% bars, as well as Pralus Colombie, São Tomé e Príncipe and Ghana bars are all 25% off. Also, 40g tins of Japanese Sencha Tea (reg. $27) are 50% off.

The Shop is open until 4PM today… hope to see you soon!

Three Chocolatiers, One Event

Laurie Blakeman will be hosting ‘Chocolate Fusion‘ at Rutherford House (11153 Saskatchewan Drive) on Thursday March 4th, from 7-9pm.

The event will feature presentations from three of Edmonton’s chocolatiers:

Ed Fong of deVine Wines and Spirits will also be there, with what I’m sure will be some fantastic wine selections.

So if you can handle three of Edmonton’s chocolatiers in one evening (and we know you can), please come enjoy! Further event info and tickets can be found here.

More Amedei and Domori just in!

We have just received a new shipment of Amedei bars and hot chocolate! More Porcelana, Gianduja, Toscana Black (63% or 70%), Toscana Red (with raspberry, strawberry, and cherry… lots of these have been scooped up already), and Toscana Blond (with pistachios) are on the shelf. And we still have the Chuao and the award winning “9” bars in as well.

There is also new Domori! We’ve stocked up on Javablond, Porcelana, Lattesal and a new white bar with mint, Biancomenta, that is divine!

The Michel Cluizel “Sardines” are also back in store! And no, these are not sardine flavoured, they are very deceiving solid milk chocolates that make for a surprising gift, or a treat for yourself.

We are running a bit low on Chocophilia Drinking Chocolate at the moment (after the Olympic order!), but we should have more in the Shop later next week. Also, a bit of an update on our Mad Orange Pistachio Chocophilia bar – we are having problems sourcing the appropriate orange rind needed to complete the recipe, but we will be sure to let you know when the bar is back in stock!

Interact with your cacao: tastings and chocolate making

We’ve got new dates scheduled for tastings and chocolate making workshops!

Chocolate tastings are a great way to introduce yourself to the world of chocolate, or to find a new bar to fall in love with. Find out about the history of chocolate, the mystery behind single origin bars, and what to look for when buying your chocolate. Best of all, you get to sample some of the best milk and dark chocolate we have to offer!

If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, we still have tickets available to the wine + chocolate tasting, coming up this Saturday evening.

You can find dates and buy tickets or gift certificates for all our scheduled tastings here.

Chocolate making workshops include information on tempering, making ganache and creating your own confections. And you get to take home everything you make!

Dates and tickets can be found here.

Private tastings for groups of 12 or more, and chocolate making workshops for groups of 4-6 are also available. These events are a great way to spend an evening with your friends, family or co-workers. E-mail or call (780.990.0011) for pricing and scheduling.

Second Anniversary Bash

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the Shop’s second anniversary with us! We had a great time, and hope you left with all your chocolate cravings satisfied.

Shop talk

Thank you also, to all those who gave us input on the new Saffron-Rose bar. We ended up making versions in both white and dark chocolate, and asked everyone attending to vote for their favourite, as well as names for the new bar. We’re still tallying the votes, so keep an eye out for the results.

Kerstin was busy in the back of the Shop all evening whipping up Mint Chocolate Martinis and they were a hit! You all looked so chic shopping for chocolate with martinis in hand! Lots of you asked for the recipe to re-create the drink at home, so here it is:

Mint Chocolate Martinis

This recipe makes two martinis


4 ounces Valrhona Dark Chocolate pistoles (we were using 64% and 72% throughout the evening)

8 ounces water, boiling

12-16 mint leaves (or a couple drops of mint oil)

3 ounces Vodka

Bit of Kalhua to taste (optional, but we added it for some sweetness)

Ice cubes


Muddle the mint in a cocktail shaker or pint glass.

Add the chocolate pistoles and boiling water. Stir until the chocolate pistoles have melted and let cool to room temperature.

Add the vodka, Kalhua and ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glasses.

Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and serve immediately.

You can double, triple or quadruple this recipe and make it in advance if you’re entertaining a large group. Simply make the chocolate-mint base in a pitcher or blender, refrigerate until ready to use, and strain it before serving.

Enjoy! And please let us know how they go over with your guests (and you) below.

More Valentine’s Day Necessities

In addition to the beautiful truffles in the post below, we also have The Valentine’s Chocolate Collection in the Shop. This year’s installment features an assortment of our sensuous Valentine’s truffle collection, lustrous Valrhona Pearls, and candied orange and lemon rind, hand dipped in dark chocolate.

There are lots of Bark Bouquets, filled with salted caramel, raspberry and pistachio ginger bark, and we’ve put out all our tins of Kusmi’s Sweet Love tea – an “exquisite spicy blend that stimulates the senses!”

Shop hours tomorrow (Saturday) are 10am – 4pm, so stop by and pick up these delectable goodies early!

We’re going to the Olympics!

Well, I’m not sure if anyone from the Shop will make it out, but our Chocophilia Drinking Chocolate is off to Vancouver!

From February 12-28, Alberta House in Vancouver will be serving Kerstin’s drinking chocolate, along with other food and drink from Alberta, to represent the diverse cuisine the Province has to offer. There will also be free nightly performances of music, dance and theatre, along with an exhibition of visual art from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts’ collection.

If your off to the Olympics this year, be sure check out Alberta House to see what the Province has to offer… and don’t forget to pick up a cup of Chocophilia! You can find more details here.