Craving chocolate? Three places in Metro Vancouver that make insanely inventive chocolatey creations

Local chocolatiers use everything from blue cheese to local gin in their truffles and treats

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      Chocolate makers throughout Metro Vancouver are getting more and more inventive. Here’s a look at a few who are taking the ingredient to new, delicious heights.

      Drunken Chocolatier

      Carina Chao works out of the Coho Commissary (1507 Powell Street), infusing her Drunken Chocolatier truffles with some of her favourite beverages. She turns to local producers of beer, spirits, teas, and other libations (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for her elegant sweets.

      Odd Society Spirits' Wallflower Gin is just one local spirit that makes it into Drunken Chocolatier's goods.
      Gail Johnson.

      Among this season’s flavours:

      CranApple Cider: Okanagan cider and cranberry puree in dark-chocolate caramel.
      Gin and Tonic: Odd Society Spirits’ Wallflower Gin and 85% chocolate. (This one’s keto-friendly and vegan.)
      Crème de Menthe: Anderson Distilleries’ Crème de Menthe in dark-chocolate ganache.
      Figa: The Spirit of Tea’s Earl Grey Gin with brown-butter figs in a white chocolate ganache.

      Drunken Chocolatier products can be purchased at the Coho Commissary or at various farmers markets; see website for details.

      Wild Sweets

      Cindy and Dominique Duby never cease to come up with desserts that wow in their science-based cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate lab in Richmond, the only one of its kind in Canada.

      Their World Cake Series is just one example of how.

      The pair recently released two special-edition cakes that were initially crafted for leading international culinary events and pastry championships.

      They designed the Cirque du Soleil cake for the World Pastry Team Championship in Las Vegas.

      The sunflower-yellow gateau fit the competition theme of “circus” and incorporates ingredients associated with summer and sunshine. It features: lemon zest coconut pate sucrée cookie; crispy coconut praliné cream; toasted coconut ‘dacquoise’ biscuit; mango and strawberry crème brûlée cream; Bean to Bar Dominican Republic Oko Caribe dark-chocolate mousse sabayon; and cocoa butter spray as well as chocolate décor.

      The red-tomato cake by Wild Sweets does have tomato in it but tastes like chocolate and peanut butter.
      Gail Johnson.

      The red-tomato-styled cake, meanwhile, is one that the pair presented at the Masters of Food & Wine in Carmel, California. It consists of: baked Emmental cheese sablé cookie; crispy peanut praliné cream; roasted peanut chocolate biscuit; basil-infused tomato-and-strawberry crème brûlée cream; Bean to Bar Madagascar Bejofo Estate dark chocolate-mousse sabayon; cocoa-butter spray; and chocolate décor.

      The cakes, which serve up to 10, can be ordered with 24 hours advance notice online and cost $41.99.

      Wild Sweets has also launched E + E Nama, an East Meets West limited-edition truffle collection that blends French and Japanese ingredients and techniques.

      Flavours are Sakura (cherry, cranberry, and cherry blossom gelée with purple Nama ganache; Gari (strawberry, raisins and pickled ginger gelée with yellow Nama ganache; Miso (Fuji apple, mango, and sweet miso gelée with orange Nama ganache); and Matcha (Asian pear, apricot, and green tea gelée with green Nama ganache.

      Its E + N Praliné collection comes in matcha, kabocha, and shoyu flavours as well as umeboshi (mandarin pickled plums-encapsulation gelée with peanut butter-coriander praline).

      Koko Monk

      On the heels of the launch of his second Kits location, Koko Monk Chocolates’ founder Paul Dincer continues to create conventional, adventurous, and “wild” chocolates.

      On the more conventional side are flavours such as:

      Mint Royal (fresh mint with sweet orange infused chocolate)
      First Kiss (fresh sour cherry and raspberry infused chocolate
      White Moon (candied blood orange peel truffle with green tea)

      On the wild side, Koko Monk's treats include Blue Moon, with blue cheese and candied pear-infused chocolate. 

      Some of Koko Monk Chocolates' truffles are not for those with vanilla tastes.
      Gail Johnson.

      “None of our chocolates are for chewing,” Dincer tells the Straight. “Have a bite and chew only two or three times and then let it sit on your tongue. First the pear will appear and then it will pass into blue cheese, then to chocolate... Finally, they will together create that otherworldly and wonderful experience.”

      Other wild ones:

      - Brunette Bangle (curry and coconut-infused chocolate)
      - Bacchanalia (balsamic vinegar caramel with sea salt)
      - Jade Box (Japanese matcha tea with miso and sake)
      - Diablo Del Amar (mango tequila-infused chocolate with chili)
      - Juliette's Garden (rosemary-infused chocolate with green mandarin and bergamot)

      “If you are buying these chocolates for average or conservative palates these are absolutely NOT right chocolates for you,” Koko Monk’s website says. “The flavor fusions of these combinations are categorized as ‘postmodern chocolates’ and exclusively designed for ultra sophisticated palates… They trespass between sweet and savory, between intellect and taste buds. They will tease with you, play with you and entertain you."