Chocoholics no longer need to make a special trip to Europe for high quality chocolate. Put down your drug store chocolate bar and head to one of these six specialty shops:
LES TRUFFES AU CHOCOLATE
Located on the second floor of elegant Bankers Hall, this specialty shop sells handcrafted truffles made with high quality Swiss chocolate and all-natural fillings. Try the red wine truffle, made with Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate. The truffles are imported from Europe and come packaged in various-sized boxes, all adorned with ribbon and silk sunflowers. Their maître chocolatier, Ralph Buchmuller, has more than 20 years experience and has made his store a must for any serious sweet tooth.
Since 1913, these famous Belgian chocolates have been made available in over 1750 shops worldwide, including locations in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo. In Calgary, they’re flown into Manon’s, located in Britannia Plaza. Try the collection of pralines made with fresh butter cream, ganache, hazelnut and almond paste. Belgian cookies, waffles, giftware and baskets are also available.
CHOCLATERIE BERNARD CALLEBAUT
You won’t find any artificial flavouring here. Each of Bernard Callebaut’s 48 different specialty chocolates are made with the real thing: ginger from China, walnuts from France and pure cream without any additives. Having grown up in Belgium next to his grandfather’s chocolate factory, Bernard Callebaut learned a thing or two about making premium chocolates, and it shows. Visit one of the nine locations in Calgary, including Southcentre Mall, Kensington and the Calgary International Airport. Or, book a tour at their downtown factory (call 403-266-4300).
A newbie on the Calgary chocolate scene, Choklat creates their products straight from the cocoa bean. They also sell made-to-order truffles; simply choose the filling, the type of chocolate you want it dipped in, and what you want it rolled in. There are over 300 combinations, such as hazelnut buttercream dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in toasted hazelnuts, or key lime dipped in dark chocolate. Their fragrant shop—located in historic Inglewood—also sells first-rate brownies.
A Canadian favourite since its inception in Vancouver in 1907, Purdy’s chocolate is still made in accordance with traditional family recipes. This chain is also a member of the World Cocoa Foundation, which aims to help improve cocoa sustainability and support cocoa farmers. Visit one of Calgary’s 8 locations, including Southcentre Mall, Chinook Centre, Market Mall and Sunridge Mall. One of their signature treats is an ice cream bar dipped in melted chocolate and covered with crushed almonds—highly recommended.
This nation-wide chocolate shop was named after a Canadian heroine who helped thwart an American attack during the War of 1812. Their chocolates and truffles come boxed in picture-perfect containers, and taste as good as they look. We recommend any flavour of truffle, though the mango-pineapple ganache is a perfect blend of fruit and chocolate. Two locations in Calgary, at Market Mall and Southcentre Mall.SPECIAL MENTION
The chocolate buffet at The Rimrock
Each Monday evening, The Rimrock rolls out their all-you-can-eat “Death by Chocolate” buffet: chocolate cheesecake, pizza, cake, tarts, brownies, squares, mousses, ganaches, pate and a fountain with fruit for dipping. Reservations required, call 403-260-1219.
The chocolate ice cream at MacKay’s Ice Cream
This Cochrane ice cream shop is a local favourite, in business for more than 60 years. Their products have 17 per cent butterfat, which creates ice cream with a creamy texture and rich taste—a perfect environment for the cocoa bean.
The Crave-O-Licious cupcakes at Crave
Crave’s buttercream icing and baking know-how have made it one of the busiest shops in the city. Their signature cupcake, the Crave-O-Licious, consists of chocolate cake covered with blue vanilla buttercream icing and sprinkled with chocolate shavings. Come early in the day; both locations are often sold out by mid-afternoon.
European chocolate from Edelweiss Imports
This German importer is not strictly a chocolate shop, but they do sell some of the best in the city, including Milka, Lindt and Ritter Sport—three brands that prove when it comes to chocolate, sometimes you have to look across the Atlantic.—Ally McConnell and Sally MacKinnon