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!

The Chocolate Habit

One thing (of many) that I find endlessly fascinating day in, day out at the shop is the relationship that our customers have with chocolate.

First, there is the frequency of the purchases. Some stop by once a week, like clockwork. Others come in a little less, but still regularly. Others still stop by only for special occasions.

Then, of course, there are the purchases themselves. There are those who stick to their old standby and others who are always determined to try something new. We’re quite liberal with the samples, trying as best we can to find the just the right bar or confection, so most people end up leaving with a little of both – something tried and true, and something a little different.

Lastly, there is the quantity – some buy just enough to last them until their next visit, deeming any excess too dangerous to peacefully co-exist with. Others need the reassurance that there is always some chocolate to be had, and stock up to save themselves from any potential panic attacks in the future.

I fall somewhere between the two, preferring only to keep a small stash on hand for ’emergencies’ (which may seem sensible, but be warned – the presence of ’emergency’ chocolate tends to increase the amount of ’emergencies’ you have).

So what are your chocolate-buying and -eating habits? What is too much (is there such a thing?) or too little? And do you crave the same things again and again, or do you want to try everything you can?

Chocolate and Child Labor

stop child labour
Image by Anduze traveller via Flickr

here has been some recent activity relating to the problem of child labor on cacao plantations, and I thought it would be interesting to look at some of it.

Here is a story about the cocoa industries’ goals:

And here is a piece about how Hershey is behind other companies on verifying the labor practices of their suppliers:

There is progress, but not nearly enough for my tastes. If you find out any more info about these issues, please let us know. We want to keep track of the industry’s progress in dealing with child labor!

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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!

Dessert with Domori

Although almost every restaurant has a chocolate dessert that promises to shine, I’ve eaten many disappointing flourless chocolate cakes, ice creams, puddings and the like, that did not make for a brilliant ending to the evening. So while wandering around Québec City a couple weeks ago, I was happy to stumble on Restaurant l’Échaudé, a bistro in Vieux-Port that utilizes chocolate beautifully in their desserts.

First up, a chocolate tasting using three types of Domori Grand Cru. This dessert was a nice twist on three classics – dark chocolate ice cream with crunchy roasted peanuts, a smooth and decadent pot du creme and a truffle studded with cacao nibs and a single cherry that complemented the chocolate’s citrusy notes well.

Next, a chocolate and pistachio ice cream sandwich with a sandy cacao based cookie, and a rich, flavourful, complex chocolate ice cream studded with pistachios.

So while l’Échaudé keeps up the good work in Québec, I will leave you with the link to the decadent chocolate recipes featured on Valrhona’s website. Have fun!

PS. After a short break the Shop is open again Thursday through Saturday. Don’t forget to check the website for our new fall hours. See you soon!