BY AMY ALLEN
You can’t go wrong with chocolate. A box of bonbons makes a perfect Valentine’s Day treat, be it for yourself or someone special. And what better way to dispel those winter chills than with a cup of hot cocoa made with fresh, high quality Belgian chocolate? Here, we highlight some of the best places to satisfy your sweet tooth.
This company has been in business since 1907, when founder Richard Carmon Purdy set up shop in Vancouver. The recipes he created have been wowing Canadians ever since, and in 2014, the company opened its first Ottawa location in the Rideau Centre. Purdys uses only high quality ingredients, such as Belgian chocolate, Australian spices, Indian cashews, and milk from local dairies. Pick up a box of their famous Hedgehogs — a chocolate shell filled with creamy hazelnut gianduja — or snag a box of Valentine’s Day themed truffles for a loved one.
•50 Rideau St., 613-789-5665, purdys.com
Boxes of chocolate have been the Valentine’s Day go-to gift for decades — but Cococo Chocolatiers goes a step further and makes the boxes themselves out of chocolate. Each decadent, heart-shaped box is filled with an assortment of individual sweets. While you’re there, be sure to check out their chocolate sauces and spreads, sea salt caramels, and hot cocoa.
•256 Dalhousie St., 613-241-7111, bernardcallebaut.com
This shop prides itself on products that are handmade and preservative free. You’ll find the usual assortment of truffles and chocolates at their locations in Westboro and the Glebe, but one of the main draws is their peanut butter cups. Available in milk or dark chocolate, its shell is packed with creamy peanut butter and delectable caramel. Their hot chocolate is popular as well — it comes in a variety of flavours, including Aztec (chili, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom), pumpkin spice, and peppermint.
•314 Richmond Rd., 613-761-3859, truffletreasures.com
Stubbe has been a family business for over 150 years. It began in the northern German city of Meppen in 1845, but in the late 1980s, it crossed the ocean and made Ontario its new home. Stubbe creates exquisite truffles, filling them with flavours such as cognac, beer, and raspberry champagne, but it also produces a range of German sweets. Try the Mozartkugel, a ball of pistachio marzipan and nougat enrobed in chocolate —it’s a traditional treat that German confectioners have been making since the turn of the 20th century.
•375 Dalhousie St., 613-241-1040, stubbechocolatesottawa.com
Cylie Artisans Chocolatiers
Helmed by master pastry chef Cyril Nebout and his partner, Leslie Yang, this local shop opened its doors in 2013. Nebout fuses his French culture with Yang’s Chinese background to create treats that are truly unique. Each delicate, decadent chocolate is lovingly painted by hand and filled with rich ganache, some infused with tea-based flavours such earl grey and chamomile lavender. Those flavours are also available in beverage format, whether fresh brewed or packaged in a tin.
•204 Dalhousie St., 613-695-8887, cyliechocolat.com