The 5th annual chocolate show Je t’aime en chocolat at Marché Bounsecours kicked off on Friday with over thirty participants tempting, seducing and winning over the chocolate enthusiast. Many favorites returned from last year, including Theobroma, Sugar Lady, Marius and Fanny and notable Montreal chocolate veterans, Gascogne, and Juliette & Chocolat.
Give yourself an afternoon to see everything including the hour long food demonstrations. I caught some of Nicolas Dutertre’s cooking show as he made a Valentine’s dessert. A camera is pointed directly at the featured chef’s hands and projected to a large screen for you to observe the details of the dexterity required to melt and temper chocolate.
There are two large halls, one with more traditional chocolate fare, the other with a mish-mash of products. Plenty were the maple-influenced vendors marketing everything from waffles to pancake mixes. Sign up for the 5K Chocolate run on March 19th. To motivate you, you get a different chocolate at every kilometer mark. That almost motivated me to pick up running again…
Adding what you might think was a healthy menu addition to this year’s cocoa festivities, the apple producers were present with Maniadakis Organic Orchards offering up samples of their Eros alcoholic apple cider which sells for 25$ for a 200ml bottle. It pairs beautifully with a bitter chocolate as it is very sweet.
Labonté de la Pomme orchards in Oka has a crisp non-alcoholic cider that they were touting along with various chocolate barks and other confectionary. They developed a chilled cocktail based on their cider when mixed with lemonade, maple syrup, mint and soda water and is apparently “écoeurante”. Sounds more like July 14 than February 14.
There were many clever vendors there tailoring their pitch exclusively for the salon. Rougié Sarlat made foie gras cake pops to highlight their goose liver products. You could sample butternut squash soup made with a hint of white chocolate by Thermomix peddlers. They were representing their super slicer, streamer, chopper, food processor-I’m-not-really-interested-in-what-this-gadget-is-I-just-want-the-free-sample (and it was tasty, though I couldn’t taste the chocolate influence.)
My top pick of the afternoon – Bonneau Chocolatier. Get thee to Fleury street with great haste for your fine chocolate and whisky or beer enthusiast! Artisanal chocolate to pair with beer, or a delightful treat on its own made with whisky. Les 6 Sortilege is a chocolate ganache with maple whisky that is covered in a milk chocolate with artistically painted couverture. I bought this for my valentine for $14.95 for six very large individual pieces.
A few children’s activities will be featured over the week-end. Bring the kids on Sunday to see Ari Cui Cui live in person and you can easily give them five dollars and they will find something overpriced, but still within their budget. I brought three 10-13 year olds along and they came away with a chocolate covered caramel apple sprinkled with maple sugar from Labonté, a massive chocolate donut from Crémy for $4.50 and a small plastic heart with some miniature macarons.
You will be happy to know that if you can not make it out to the show this week-end, many of the vendors sell online and in-and-around Montreal.
As I left Bonsecour market on Friday night, Das Food Truck was parked out front with a special chocolate menu in case you haven’t quite gotten your fill of xocoatl.
Je t’aime en chocolat continues Saturday February 6th and Sunday February 7th from 10am to 6pm at Marché Bonsecours (350 Rue Saint Paul East). Free.