Recent wanderings in Victoria, BC, resulted in the deliciously satisfying discovery of Chocolat, Chocolatiere de Victoria. Everything about the shop drew me in, from it’s mouthwatering sign to the chocolates displays I could see just three feet beyond the windows. While it’s true that tasting is the test of substance, it is also true that one can determine a lot about quality and taste just from looking. I was very hopeful looking at these chocolates.
The shop, at 703 Fort Street, on the south side just east of Douglas Street, in downtown Victoria, is apparently owned and run by chocolatiere Helene Pappas, a renowned chocolate chef. There is some seating inside that invites indulging in the already desirable fare. On one side is a bar with stools where one can casually watch the passersby while they watch you with envy as you savor each bite. Or there is a cozy corner couch where you can meet with a friend or two and attempt to verbalize the indescribable flavors.
I chose five pieces to share with a friend on that Tuesday of my travels. It was difficult to choose. To my surprise, even the chilis in dark chocolate were appealing. However, the bag ended up containing one each of: a Chocolate in the Raw (see two pictures up), a Cinnamon Swirl (not pictured, but looks similar to the chili chocolates), a Butterscotch Pecan, a Maple Cream in dark, and a Coco Truffle. Keep in mind that each of these are absolutely chocolate, somehow blended with the flavors of the other foods to create distinct, yet subtle masterpieces.
Deciding to save our chocolates until after dinner, I stashed them safely in a loose, outside pocket until we made it back to the hotel. Once there, I cut all but the Maple Cream in half, having already been advised by the kind gentleman manning the counter that the filling of that one would ooze out quickly. As I tried to eat each selection as slowly as I could, all I could say was, “OH… THAT’s good” followed by “OH! THAT one is really good, too!” and so on. My friend would then proceed to try them and say, “Oh! That IS good!”
I immediately determined that I needed to tell the world about this shop. Having neglected to carry my camera when out that evening, I needed to go back for pictures the next morning, but our flight was going leave shortly after noon and the chocolate shop didn’t open again until 9:30 AM. We worked out a plausible itinerary for breakfast at a cafe across the street and planned to wait until Chocolat was open, then make a mad dash for the airport.
The next morning after breakfast we still had nearly an hour to wait. We took a few photos of the outside, then peered in the window wishing it would open. A different man showed up to knock on the door like he was coming to work. I ventured to ask him if that was the case, but he said, no, he was not an employee, but was there to work on a machine. As the kind man from the day before opened the door to let him in, I tentatively and quickly explained why I was there and asked if it would be acceptable for me to go in and take a few pictures for my blog before they opened since we needed to go catch a plane. With old world graciousness and charm (I don’t know why it’s called ‘old world’, but that seems like the appropriate description) he invited us in. The owner was not available because she was in the back dipping chocolates.
The pictures don’t do the chocolates justice. I am, after all, an amateur photographer. Hopefully you can still get a sense of the perfect tempering, elegant design, and marvelous taste. After eating them, I was left with feeling both complete satisfaction with what I had just partaken and hope that I would have a chance to eat some another day. If I had had the option with my luggage situation, I would have purchased more and had them packed in one of the stacks of boxes. But, alas, I only had carry-on luggage and it was full to capacity. I have never taken a trip centered around chocolate, but these candies are a strong motivation to consider just that.
(Phone number is: 250-381-0131, Canada)