French chef Alain Ducasse once summed things up this way: "Everywhere in the world, there are tensions—economic, political, religious. So we need chocolate."
For Ducasse, and all other chocolate fiends, there's actually a place in Metro Vanccouver where you can savour chocolate bars from around the world.
Origins Chocolate Bar in New Westminster's River Market has a seemingly endless variety from Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, France, Singapore, Mexico, and many other countries.
They're all on display in a small shop and come with a promise that the makers have sourced their cacao ethically.
The packaging of the Mirzam Dark Chocolate Halwa (photographed above) created an initial impression that it might be from Morocco, but it was actually made and packaged in the U.A.E.
It turned out to be a beautifully made chocolate bar. The first flavour was a subtle taste of rose and vanilla, but not necessarily floral, with just the right amount of sweetness. It would have paired perfectly with a Syrah or a freshly made espresso.
There was no heavy aftertaste, unlike many popular brands, and the inclusion of the rose provided an unsual coolness. At $14, it's not cheap but it's a worthy Friday night treat after a long week at the office.
On display was a Vietnamese bar that paired dark chocolate with kumquats, which sounded so otherworldly. Another Mirzam offering featured white chocolate with rose. With flavours like this, who needs a ticket to travel anywhere?