I can feel your chocolate desires all the way from here. Have you had a bad day? Are you longing for some sweet cocoa love? Betya don’t want paraffin or none of that cheap wax bite that disappoints the second it touches your lips. You want REAL DECANDENT CHOCOLATE! Here is where you’ll find through all prices, seasons and celebrations considered, the best chocolate available in and around Quebec City. The following list is presented in no particular order.
1-Rêve de Chocolat ** closed its doors at the end of April.
Located on Chemin Ste-Foy, Christophe Courtaud is the lonely boy that makes one of the best-revisited whippet (he calls them Nuage) I have had in my life! You’ll think I’m exaggerating until you have a taste for yourself. That luscious raspberry filling and handmade marshmallow will melt on your tongue like the sun longs to thaw out your skin. Rêve de Chocolat also has a great choice of chocolate figurines for the youngest at heart.
The first time I walked in Eddy Laurent on Maguire, I didn’t know where to look. A gastronome’s paradise! Not only do they make one of the best chocolates in Quebec City, they have an impressive selection of cooking and table ware imported from Europe. Even though their kitchen and fashion accessories are geared towards the most extravagant at heart, you’re bound to find something to please your desires for beauty within and without. Their “bean to bar” philosophy offers a pleasant variety of chocolate bars, including my favourite the Honduras Grand Cru 75% chocolate and Grué (roasted raw cocoa beans) that brings a snappy pepper bite en bouche.
There’s a new team of owners behind Erico and they haven’t changed a bit of former maître chocolatier Eric Normand’s recipes. Well at least so far they haven’t. And that is a very a good thing, because this little hut of goodness makes one crazy ice-cream chocolate dipping sauce. It’s also a museum where you’ll learn everything from the seeds in cocoa plantations to how brown cows make chocolate milk (!?) But, it’s their variety of exclusive Quebec-made, goodness-filled chocolates that my palate appreciates the most: pure maple butter, cassis purée, pear and goat cheese, seabuckthorn and buckwheat honey. Bet you won’t eat just one.
La Fudgerie is a fudge, nougat and chocolate factory in Charlesbourg. Fudge master Jacques Thivierge makes old-school fudge, true to the eldest written recipes inside a unique ancestral house near Canada’s first ever star-shaped attempt at in-land colonization by the Jesuites. But, what I consider to be the star of Charlesbourg is La Fiudgerie’s coa flower and pepper chocolate fudge! A perfect balance of sweet and hot. Or how about wasabi and ginger? Perfect for sushi I tell ya. Drop by their house in the afternoon when they’re making sweet cinnamon coated pecans so that your clothes soak in the perfumes and leave a trail of smiles everywhere you go. Their nougat recipe has been handed down from a French family that wanted to keep their traditional nougat recipe alive. It took a year for Jacques to perfect it. If you love nougat, this is the most authentic one I have found in the region. A true delicacy. While you’re in there ask to try their salty caramel, a texture worth the Grand Prize of most velvety caramel ever!
Julie Vachon is a former student of Erico, #3 on this list. She trained in Europe and works with chocolate from Tanzania. Her hazelnut spread is by far one of the best hazelnut spread out there. All commercial brands considered. It is the perfect –or should I say the only solution- to your hazelnut spread needs, because it has absolutely no palm oil; only pure hazelnuts and chocolate. The only respectful way to indulge in Julie Vachon’s hazelnut spread is with a tablespoon, straight out of the jar. This spread alone makes me drive to Deschambault and thereby witness the beauty of rural Quebec. Julie’s personality is charming, her summer milk and cream sorbet are to-die-for and her brownies are rich, dense and coated with pure butter with a semi-sweet ganache. Exquisite is the least of words that comes to mind when thinking of Julie Vachon’s delicacies.
NOTE: You can find her spread in Saint-Roch at Fromagerie des Grondines et ses amis on the corner of Caron and St-Joseph.