Chocolate, no Chocoatl!Posted by Ben Garfinkel on Tuesday, April 18th, 2006
Tags for this Article: chocolate, Chocolatl, Desserts, vancouver, Yaletown
If you love food, then it goes without saying that you’ve seen the movie Choc0lat starring Juliette Binoche. If you haven’t seen the movie and claim to love food, then you better hit the rental store. On your way, stop into one of Yaletown’s latest additions, Chocoatl Chocolatiers (1127 Mainland St., 604-676-9977).
Chocoatl is a small shop run by Themis Velgis and partner Brandon Tam and I’d been meaning to go ever since I’d heard about it. Until now, circumstance had thawrted a few previous attempts. Incidentally, chocoatl (or “xocoatl”) means “foam water” from the Mexican Indian language, and what’s on offer is as pure as the origin of the word. Jars filled with single-source chocolate from all over the world and various infusions such as lavender and rose line the walls behind the small counter and tempt the palate.
On the day I was there I asked Themis to ‘blow me away’ (I figured it’s chocolate so one can never really go wrong!). I must have exhibited some kind of indecision since I was offered a taste of two chocolate options. The chocolate comes in small pastelles presumably to aid in serving portions and melting, though just happen to be the perfect size for sampling. I chose their favourite, the Peruvian, a dark chocolate with a strong flavour that finished with a distinct floral note. They suggested I order it ‘Denso’, meaning cut with whipping cream and served thick, like a sipping chocolate.
Starbucks recently tried to popularize this style of sipping chocolate with their Chantico, though it is no match for the terrific Denso on offer here. That said, I must have been in the mood for something a little lighter because my fiancé’s Azteca went surprisingly well in alternating sips with my Peruvian Denso. In contrast to the Denso, the Azteca was milky, almost too much so, the more subtle chocolate flavour accentuated with wonderful rush of spice that lingered in the mouth. A nice way to extend the pleasure. Drinking here, one gets not only an instant desire to return for more, but a sense of authenticy that brings to mind the chocolate drinks of the ancient Myans experienced.
Make no mistake, this is dessert, not a coffee replacement. There are other delectible chocolate treats and even coffee available, though I find it hard to imagine heading here for anything other than an incredible chocolate extravaganza. I’m now trying to re-work my schedule to include stops in the area so I can begin working my way through the menu.