The Baker

Many of you have been raving about our newest addition to the Shop – dense, chocolatey baked goods… especially those walnut and cacao nib brownies. If you had a chance to stop by our Customer Appreciation event on Saturday afternoon, you’ll also know that a few cookies – Chocolate Covered Mint Cookies, Spicy Chocolate Shortbread and Chai Infused Chocolate Ginger Cookies – have been added to the line up for the holiday season.

The person behind all these delectable treats is Rachel – baker extraordinaire. She’s been baking up a storm the last couple months, and the Shop is likely to smell permanently of ginger (in addition to chocolate) as we get closer to Christmas. You all gobbled up those cookies on Saturday, and although we didn’t have time to package any for this weekend, we hope you’ll stop by in a week or so to pick up a few to test out at home.

I suggest some Dark Drinking Chocolate with your favourite ‘special something’ added to enjoy them with, and, as an ultimate luxury, a fireplace, cozy blanket and a good book (unfortunately, we cannot provide either the fireplace or cozy blanket, however, we did receive a shipment of some excellent books on chocolate last week, and reading about chocolate while eating it is always a good thing). Enjoy!

A chocolatey Christmas preview

Hopefully you are all starting to get into the Holiday spirit! We are really excited about our Christmas collection this year, featuring some old favourites as well as some new treats to put under the tree, in stockings, or really, just to sit back and enjoy.

Rebecca (one of our fabulous chocolatiers), has created some beautiful seasonal truffles for your enjoyment. Flavours include: Gingerbread Linzer Torte (Gingerbread ganache with raspberry compote), Sugar, Apple and Spice (Soft caramel and apple-milk chocolate ganache), Glühwein (German mulled wine) and White Christmas (Cranberry and orange in a pearly, white chocolate shell). We’ll have deep-red boxes of twelve waiting to be opened and enjoyed.

We are happy to have our Chocophilia Christmas Trio back again this year, featuring five kinds of dark and milk bark: Gingerbread and Orange Spice, Chai Crunch, Fleur de Sel and Toffee, Nibs and Fruit and Ginger Spiced Nuts. Three of the five flavours are wrapped up in each box, with the beautiful packaging designed here in Edmonton by Keith and Judi of Vanguard Works.

Chocolate dipped orange, apricot and ginger pieces are wrapped and ready to go, with milk or dark Chocolate Santas sitting on the next shelf over, waiting to be taken home. And for those who may deserve that lump of coal, we think you should be a little more kind and give them a Sack of Potatoes… really good chocolate ones, made up of hazelnuts and creamy milk chocolate by Michel Cluizel of France. It is the holidays after all.

And while we’re sad to say we will no longer be carrying Kusmi Teas, we’ve got some beautiful new teas in from Dammann Fréres of France, that pair with some of the chocolate around the Shop wonderfully, and come in some incredible packaging.

As per usual, we’ll have gift boxes and totes made up for those of you who need a quick gift to go, and of course, if you’d like to linger and make up your own customized gifts, we’re very happy to help there too. There’s still a bit of time to pre-order gifts of confections, bars, etc. for home, office or other events. Send us some details at

We hope you have an excellent holiday season! We’ll be hanging around the Shop trying not to eat all of Rebecca’s truffles. Hope to see you soon!

The Annual – not to be missed – Winter Customer Appreciation party

We’re ramping up for a busy holiday season, but first, we’d like to spend a little quality time with the rest of you Chocophiles out there. With that in mind, we’re hosting our Winter Customer Appreciation party this coming Saturday, December 4th, from 2-5pm. There will be chocolate eggnog, mulled wine, and without a doubt, copious amounts of our Drinking Chocolate. You’ll also get first dibs on our 2010 holiday line.

Please let us know if you can come by printing a ticket at this link. If you’d like to bring a friend or two, just make sure you get them to grab a ticket as well… we don’t want to run out of eggnog!

We hope to see you there, but even if you can’t make it, please pop by the Shop and say ‘Hi’ this season! Thanks for your support everyone, we couldn’t do it without you.

Patric – we love you

After a few months away, Patric is back in the Shop. The return comes with several new bars, as well as a fun, beautiful packaging makeover…

Patric Chocolate was also recently named one of the “Best New American Chocolates” by Food and Wine magazine.

For all you milk haters out there, he says this one will bring you over to the dark-milk side.

The classic 70% Madagascar with the addition of crunchy cacao nibs. Check out a picture here.

Peanut Butter and “Jelly”… the jelly is the natural fruity notes of the cacao. Seriously – OMG

We also have Patric’s well loved 67% Madagascar (incredibly smooth with bright, citrusy punches), as well as a new 70% blend. So for those of you who were missing Patric, or those of you who are new to this small batch, craft manufacturer, stop by and take a peak… and leave with something wonderful.

Launched new web shop: Chocophilia Online

Well, it took a long time to get it ready, but our new web shop went live today. If you need to order chocolate from anywhere in Canada, and send it anywhere in Canada, please give it a try! Here is the link:

Some cool things about the web shop:

  • It has almost all the products that we carry in our physical store available for purchase, including some hard-to-find items such as Claudio Corallo, Domori and Amedei chocolate.
  • We ship promptly using Canada Post expedited shipping with tracking.
  • Shipping costs are calculated in real-time.
  • We can send gifts with greeting cards and gift wrapping options.
  • The checkout process is simple and fast.

Let us know what you think of it. We need your suggestions. And newsletter subscribers will be getting a promotional coupon soon in the next newsletter. Stay tuned for more!

Chocolate tasting with Change for Children on Dec 16th (Free tickets!)

There are a limited number of tickets available for the event, so get them
get by clicking here.

Event Details: Kerstin will be holding a public chocolate tasting workshop for children and parents to explain the issues around sustainable chocolate. Who are the people who grow your cacao? What is their life like? Does their work impact the flavor of the chocolate you eat? How will they be able to improve their standard of living?

During the event, all attendees will taste a selection of delicious chocolates.

Time: 5pm, Thursday, Dec 16th.

Location: McKernan School Gymnasium, 11330 76th Ave

Cost: Free (Donations for Change for Children will be collected at the door.)

Seating will be limited to 100 adults (16 and over). Children under 16 are free.

Get your ticket here.

Full Again

The Shop is fully stocked once again in anticipation of our expanded hours beginning November 9th. All four Bonnat bars are back, as well as Cluizel, Pralus, Valrhona Manjari Orange, and Corallo. Our Chocophilia section is fully stocked once again (including the Fleur de Sel milk and Hot Chocolate bars), and there are lots of Coconut, Dulce de Leche and Peanut Butter cups waiting for you in the truffle case. And now on to some new treats.

We’ve just received a brand new shipment of Coppeneur of Germany. Single Origin Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and a Trinidadian with Habanero and Lavender are all waiting for tasting. We also received some of their truffle bars (think Zotter style with these ones). Flavours include Saffron and Orange, Panna Cotta and Red Berries, and one which is certainly my favourite – Black Beer (notes of coffee and toasted malt balance Coppeneur’s beautiful chocolate incredibly well here).

We also received a much anticipated shipment of Escazú blended bars, as well as their EZCA single origin bars. The talk of the Shop has certainly been the hand-crafted Venezuelan 60% with Goat’s Milk – a dark bar with the creaminess of milk and a slight goat’s milk tang just towards the end.

More fall truffle flavours are certainly making their way into the Shop, but the S’more Cup has been the hit of the week, flying out of the truffle case all day today. Home-made vanilla marshmallow in a dark chocolate cup, with crunchy graham wafer at the base and top makes for a perfectly decadent fall treat.

Also back by popular demand, is chocolate dipped ginger. We’ve also added chocolate dipped apricots to the collection for a bit of fall sweetness.

Speaking of truffles, we have recently started carrying Jacqueline Jacek‘s truffle collection. Based in Sherwood Park, she has gained quite the reputation this past year for her beautiful fashion inspired collections. Currently in the truffle case is the LouLou Belle collection (picture below: Pink Grapefruit Sherbet).

And finally, Rachel is still whipping up fresh flourless chocolate cakes and brownies throughout the week and we’ve received many excellent comments (and sometimes just strange moaning noises) on their deliciousness when sampling them in the Shop. But we’ve recently given the packaging a makeover, so these little treats are now perfect for fall gift giving, or taking home yourself to unwrap and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy the last little bit of warm fall weather this week. And keep in mind that snow means two excellent things – more drinking chocolate evenings, which are absolutely essential for keeping warm, and our Christmas collection in the next month or so. We’ll keep you posted. Until then, enjoy your chocolate.

Two Exciting New Additions!

Exciting things have been happening lately at Kerstin’s! After much recipe-testing, we are finally ready to debut two new additions to our ‘menu’ – a Valrhona chocolate brownie and a rich flourless chocolate cake.

The brownie is made from 2 kinds of Valrhona chocolate, wih bits of dark chocolat ganache studded throughout the batter. It is intense and fudgy, but light enough that you don’t need a truckload of milk after. In other words – perfect.

The flourless chocolate cake, made with 72% Valrhona chocolate, literally melts in your mouth.

Whether you need a little pick-me-up or a last-minute dessert for a dinner party, these new offerings are sure to fit the bill – come on in and try them!

Searching for a new Chocolate Production Assistant! (Filled)

Reliable Chocolate Production Assistant Required

Attention to detail and a passion for quality chocolate is a must. Candidates should be eager to learn how to work with chocolate. Experience a definite asset. 4 days a week, 9AM to 4PM, approximately 30 hours (negotiable). Position will commence ASAP.

Please send your cover letter and resume to

The position has been filled!

Fall Hours at the Shop

As we head into Fall, we’ll be making some changes to our hours of operation:

Beginning September 2nd, the Shop will be open Thursday through Saturday for all your chocolate needs. As we head into December, we will once again extend Shop hours to allow ample time to find the perfect gift for all those chocolate lovers in your life.

The new change in hours will give Kerstin a chance to focus on new creations in the back, so expect lots of new, exciting chocolate in the Shop come Fall. We are also heading into our greatest Holiday collection ever, so keep an eye out for details.

Hope to see you in the Fall for some great chocolate!

Understanding white chocolate

Generally speaking, when we encourage patrons to try new things in the shop, they’re pretty receptive – and really, why not? Hand anyone a little chunk of chocolate to nibble on and they’re almost certain to like it, or at least appreciate the attempt.

The only glaring exception is white chocolate. This is not to say that we don’t get a lot of customers who adore the stuff – we do. Nor is it to say that we haven’t converted a fair chunk of former white chocolate-haters – we have; most are floored when they taste the different kinds we have in the shop, from our own Chocophilia ‘Lemon Dream’ and ‘Roses Are Red’ bars to the absolutely fantastic Amedei ‘Pistacchi’ bar. But it is perhaps the most polarizing chocolate we carry, and there are many who just can’t get behind it.

Still, if any of you reading out there are thinking of giving it another chance, be sure to consider the following:

Continue reading

Be Cool With Kusmi

It’s no secret that heat and chocolate don’t mix. Here at Kerstin’s, the warm, late-summer weather can definitely pose problems in the kitchen. Of course, we have air conditioning, not only to ensure that the quality of our chocolate is top-notch, but also to provide a respite from the swelter for all of our customers.

But what to do when it’s time to go home for the day, when you have to step first into the sun, and then into a house that’s been baking in it for hours? The answer, friends, is tea.

Continue reading

Cookies and Ice Cream and Nibs, Oh My!

If the shop smells even more delicious to you today, it’s because we’ve been doing some baking! Our rich, chewy cocoa cookies are fresh out of the oven.

They are best enjoyed, in our opinion, with a scoop (or two) of 80% Valrhona gelato and a smattering of cocoa nibs. What says summer better than an ice cream sandwich?

Here’s how we do it at the shop:

Chewy Cocoa Cookies

adapted from Alice Medrich

140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

57g (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter

133g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar

73g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar

48g (7 tbsp.) good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (we use Valrhona)

90g (1/3 cup) full-fat plain yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir to mix.

Melt the butter, either in a bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop. Add the sugars to the butter, stir to mix, then add the cocoa and stir to mix. The mixture will be somewhat thick and pasty. Add the yogurt and vanilla and stir to mix thoroughly. Lastly, add the flour mixture and stir just to combine.

Drop the dough by tablespoons onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until the tops of the cookies have cracked slightly and look set.

Makes about 15 medium-sized cookies

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!

Father’s Day 2010: Chocolate covered bacon and much more.

Boxes of Chocolate Covered Bacon on Display.

Boxes of Chocolate Covered Bacon on Display.

Making the Chocolate Covered Bacon
Making the Chocolate Covered Bacon

Father’s Day falls on June 20th this year, and to celebrate Dad’s this year we are bringing back our very popular Chocolate Covered Bacon again. Once again we are using locally made Bacon, this year from the Sandy Lane team on the West End. The chocolate we use is the same Venezuela 49% Dark Milk chocolate that we use for our Fleur de Sel bar, and we even put a few grains of sea salt on the outside!

Just to make things interesting, we also have created some original confections to make Dad’s extra happy. As you can see in the photo on right, we have some Pina Colada White Chocolate Golf Balls, which pair very well with the bacon.

Bacon Brittle Peanut Butter Truffles

Bacon Brittle Peanut Butter Truffles covered in chopped peanuts.

Bacon Brittle Peanut Butter Cups

Bacon Brittle Peanut Butter Cups

We also wanted to try to incorporate Bacon in other ways this year, so we made Bacon Brittle, and then we created some cups and truffles that include Bacon Brittle Bits and Peanut Butter. What a combination! The Bacon Brittle paired very well with the Peanut Butter and the chocolate.

Finally, if your Dad wants to have something to nibble on while he watches the game, why not give him some of our new organic dark chocolate covered almonds make by Taza. They are delicious and healthy too. The chocolate covered bacon was really popular last year, so come in soon and don’t miss out!

Taza Organic Chocolate Covered Almonds

Taza Organic Chocolate Covered Almonds

Creating an ice cream sandwich

I’ve been doing some tests with meringues to create an ice cream sandwich for the summer. I want to make something light and that’s why I chose a meringue based cookie as opposed to a chocolate chip cookie or an oatmeal cookie. In the first test I used pure melted chocolate which I folded into the meringue at the stiff peak stage. The taste was delicious but it looked bad and with all that expensive chocolate, the cost would be too high. I tried another one the other day and used cocoa powder this time but the meringue collapsed and it tasted super sweet. The search for the perfect meringue recipe continues.

In the meantime, Leva made a batch of gelato for us using the Valrhona Guanaja 80% we gave them. So good! The chocolate really added a certain depth that I’ve never tasted before in chocolate ice cream. Super chocolatey with a nice acidity and a long finish. Who would have thought that ice cream could have a long finish!

Is it possible to have chocolate without the sugar?

Absolutely! Francois Pralus’s 100% sugar free chocolate has just arrived at our store – straight from France! According to the American Medical Association, “Today’s findings are interesting because they suggest it takes only a 6.3 gram serving of dark chocolate per day – only 30 calories worth – to lower blood pressure.” (That’s about a square a day.) So enjoy an intense and decadent chocolate experience – without the guilt!

Study for your own personal interest or for chocolate education:

“Chocoholics Beware” says Metro News. Amedei bars covered in the Tomato.

Photo by Christopher Thrall for Metro Edmonton

Photo by Christopher Thrall for Metro Edmonton

Our local Edmonton daily free paper, Metro News, had an article in it today about Kerstin’s Chocolates. Writer Christopher Thrall said some very nice things! To quote: “It is amazing what a difference it makes to buy Kerstin’s over Cadbury.” and “The care and hand-picked ingredients add so much weight and power that gluttony seems gauche.” as well as “Pot of Gold just doesn’t cut it any more.”

Check out the full article on the Metro News website.

We were also mentioned in May/June issue of The Tomato in the Pantry Section. (the articles in The Tomato are online!). They wrote about the Amedei chocolates from Italy that we carry in the shop. If you haven’t tried the Amedei bars yet, you are missing out!

A return of a favorite flavour in the bark bouquets!

We have introduced a flavour in our bark bouquets – just in time for the summer! We are featuring our Green Tea bark in our bark bouquets. In each individually wrapped bouquet includes our Green Tea bark, our very own Chai Crunch bark, and also our Dark chocolate bark with pistachios and dried cherries. Our bark bouquets are beautifully hand wrapped and make amazing gifts for any chocolate lover. Now you can have your tea, and eat it too!

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.