Meditations

Thomas Haas


thomashaas

| Photo courtesy of Michael Yung

Thomas Haas – a name, that just until recently, was solely subject as an elusive element in my life. It is the name of a German-born man who now works locally as a pastry chef, a chocolate maker and all in all, a sensory seducer. I find it fascinating that one can glide so long in oblivion to something so enticing, and upon its accidental discovery, be suddenly seized by the immediate integration of its presence.

Last week, I wanted to surprise a companion of mine by breaking through his busy day with chocolate to serve as a momentary distraction. Knowing well of his sweet tooth and discriminating eye for design, I embarked on a lunch hour excursion to find him a blend of both. Urban Fare immediately became my initial destination, as they typically do well in featuring food products of both quality in taste and packaging design. So there I was, blowing through time and circling swiftly around their thick pillar of chocolate, when suddenly, my sight sunk on to a shelf of chocolate made by Thomas Haas. While trying to decide if my friend would like white, dark or something in between, I faintly recall him saying that he doesn’t eat a percentage of chocolate that scores better than him on a test. I grabbed the “Wild” bar at 67% and later, of course, learn that this would serve as a slight, albeit amusing insult.

The bar itself is made out of 45% Criollo and 55% Trinitario beans out of Bolivia, and the flavor profile promised brawny beans with nuances of banana and mango. Its design brazed bold and sober lines of colors in silver, brown and orange. I was impulsively sold.

Further to this introduction of epicurean serendipity, the following weekend had somehow weaved itself around a similar theme. Not only did I consistently continue to taste bits of this chocolate, but perhaps in retribution to my surprise delivery, I was driven out to the Thomas Haas cappuccino bar & Patisserie on Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver. Concealed to the side at the end of an industrial road, this is clearly a store that not only requires no advertising to gain attention, but no foot traffic to succeed in sales and flourish within its community. Indeed, a solid sign of quality work. While attempting to internalize my giddiness, my eyes glazed over the rows of truffles like honey. We went for one of each of their best sellers, which included the white chocolate ganache with fresh passion fruit filling, Tahitian vanilla beans and a splash of vodka, and the bittersweet dark chocolate ganache with delicate caramel and a touch of Fleur de Sel. As we bit into each truffle on our drive back home, we observed time slowly coming to a halt to capture the moment within. They were that good.

For after dinner, we brought back their award-winning Chocolate Sparkle Cookies that you bake yourself. Vij’s in South Granville also sells these and the Vancouver Sun called them “the best cookies in the world”. My verdict? Orgasm ensuing. Any further words here and I’ll have to pump you out a poem. I’ll be gracious and spare you the sappy sentiment, so long that you promise me to go on and explore.

Oh, and thank-you, Thomas Haas, for not working at Lindt.

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