Tag Archives: easter

Daniel Le Chocolat Belge

Daniel ChocolatesOn an early April foodie safari along Granville Street, I came upon a little chocolate shop, just in time to add a few goodies to my Easter basket. Daniel Le Chocolat Belge had plenty of goodies to choose from. In addition to their regular supply of truffles and molded belgian chocolates in the candy case, there were shelves and displays filled with adoreable bunnies, chickens, and delicious praliné eggs. It was hard to decide what to pick!

I didn’t want to blow my basket budget, so I went with a small box of peanut butter bunnies, four exotic truffles, and a few praliné eggs. I’ve waited ages to break into them, but now I can tell you all about how delicious they are. These are some of the creamiest chocolates I’ve ever had, with gorgeous mouth-feel and flavour. Not grainy in the slightest, not too sweet, and the exotic truffle flavours were fun.

Here’s a rundown of my sampling:

Easter TrufflesDark Advocaat Brandy
Lush and velvety smooth

Milk Cinnamon-Nutmeg
Interesting. Snickerdoodley.

Dark Chipotle
Good. Super creamy, not peppery.
Flavour is a little hidden.

Peanut Butter BunnyMilk Mojito
Excellent! Creamy chocolate with
a fresh hint of mint and lime.

Praliné Eggs
Creamy, crunchy, sweet, delicious.
Milk or dark chocolate with a creamy chocolate filling made with ground caramelized almonds or hazelnuts.

Peanut Butter Bunnies
Melt-in-your-mouth cuteness.

About Daniel’s Divine Chocolates

View Daniel’s Chocolate Map

Daniel Poncelet (Chocolatier) was born and raised in Belgium, where he says “chocolate was an inseparable part of my daily diet. I still remember how good it was to let it melt in my mouth and try to make the piece last as long as possible in order to be the last one in the family still enjoying it.”

He learned his craft from Clovis Harmegnie, “an exceptionally passionate Belgian master chocolatier,” and grew to appreciate not only the art of making chocolates but also fine quality ingredients. According to Daniel, this inspired his determination to create chocolates “without compromise, with zealous adherence to purity.”

Daniel uses only 100% natural ingredients to make chocolates that are preservative free with no artificial colorings and flavors and no hydrogenated oils or tropical fats.Daniel sources premium chocolate from world renowned chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut. Callebaut’s chocolate heritage spans more than 120 years, and the company actively supports cocoa farmers and communities as part of its commitment to maintaining a sustainable cocoa industry.

Daniel’s Belgian Chocolates is located at 2820 Granville St. Vancouver, BC with additional locations in Metro Vancouver and Toronto as well as an online shop.

A tisket, a tasket, what’s in your Easter basket?

shy-bunny

Easter Sunday (April 12, 2009) is this weekend. It’s a time for remembrance, repentance, resurrection, communion, and CANDY! Secularizing holy days into Holidays is the best thing American capitalists ever did for the chocolate industry.

Respect to religion, but lets talk about the basket. Mommy Dearest would set up Easter baskets well ahead of time, tantalizing us for weeks while our Peeps went stale (not that it mattered) and those cheap-ass jelly beans turned rock hard. To make it worse, the baskets were wrapped in multiple layers of clear Saran Wrap so we could see everything, touch nothing, and be sufficiently tempted.

Important Easter Tip: When breaking into an Easter basket, cover your tracks. Do not leave a hole that shows, and above all do not leave chocolate fingerprints.

Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

After weeks of temptation and attempted basket burglary, we’d put on our Sunday Go-To-Meetin’ clothes (including the itchy white lace ankle socks and a pair of too-tight black patent Mary Janes) and do our hair up in ribbons and sit in our regular church pew trying to tune out the hellfire and brimstone rendition of our Lord & Saviour’s crucifiction and resurrection until the wine and wafers came around. Then, after a little nosh, it was time to shake the preacher’s hand and hightail it home to the egg hunt (providing no one was getting baptized).

eggbasketWe’d color eggs and make a big mess, then Daddy would go hide the eggs in the yard and my dog Patches followed him around, eating them. Then the kids would rush outside screeching and laughing with baskets in hand, frantically scouring one grass patch and underbush after another. Kids take egg hunting very seriously. I’ve seen deadly hair-pulling and UFC-quality kindergarten takedowns all because somebody saw the glitter egg first. I played it safe and followed the dog, collecting all the half-eaten eggs . . . they still count!

jbeansOnce the fights were over and the eggs had been tallied, we’d retire to a quiet corner and rip into those tantalizing treasure baskets, pink ribbons and easter grass flying. Oh, thou hollow chocolate bunny with the big long ears, I shall save you for last. You and your sweet candy eyes. First, we have to get rid of those black jelly beans (it was not  unusual for me to sneak in and remove all the black beans I could find, replacing them with cherry and lemon beans I stole from other baskets . . . it’s okay, I gave them all my black ones, so we’re even).

For the second course: Peeps, heads first. If no one dropped into a sugar coma at this point, it was probably time for Easter supper. Mommy Dearest would usually cook a ham, glazing with honey mustard and decorating with pineapple rings and cloves. I know, it sounds good, but after 24 hours in the oven, it gets a wee bit dessicated. Thank God for Easter hot dogs on the grill.

Once I left home, there were no more Easter hams or Easter baskets for me—until I started making my own (baskets, not ham). It just doesn’t seem right to have Easter without a basket. This year, I have a very tiny basket, so the candy has accumulated all around it, and I haven’t touched a thing. Come Sunday afternoon, that’s gonna change.

Easter Basket 2009Easter Basket Essentials

  • Basket: any size, any kind
  • Grass: raffia, plastic, or real
  • Ribbons: for decorating the bunnies and basket
  • Jelly Beans: to lose in the grass and find next year
  • Peeps: Yellow Chicks and Pink Bunnies
  • Chocolate Bunny: Any kind, must have long cute ears
  • Assorted Candy: Any kind, lots of chocolate
  • Toy Bunny: fuzzy and cute
  • A Prize: This year, it’s a book by Robert Rankin called The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse and a DVD of Wallace & Gromit’s Curse of the Were-Rabbit

bunnyineggs

Leaving a comment? I’m curious: What’s in your Easter basket?

S’mores + Peeps = Smeeps!

Pretty peeps all in a row.

Pretty peeps all in a row.

Easter is hopping right around the corner, and marshmallow Peeps are popping up on store shelves everywhere. They are certainly an essential part of my annual Easter basket.

I love Peeps. All the fun of a marshmallow with a vibrant sugar coating. I bite their heads off . . . so they don’t suffer. Okay, really so I don’t have to look them in their little candy eyes. Exactly the opposite of how I consume a chocolate bunny. I don’t know why that is.

Peeps are best fresh out of a brand new package, but don’t think I won’t eat them a little stale and chewy. It also didn’t take long for me to figure out what would happen if you put one in the microwave. Try that on some ice cream or a brownie . . . or both. Have mercy!

Forked PeepThen one day, Easter came around and Peeps were once again plentiful. The weather was becoming fine and clear where I lived at the time, and I was buying groceries for a lovely weekend for camping. Of course, where there’s a campfire, there must be marshmallows, and where there are marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers cannot be far away. I thought to myself, “Self, what do you reckon would happen if we stuck one of them there Peeps on a stick and roasted him over the fire?” *DING-DING-DING*

I had to run a few tests right away. Microwave heat is very different that fire heat (which is much less predictable, to boot). I no longer had a gas stove (sigh), so I fired up the electric burner and contemplated the possible outcomes as I poked a long-handled fork into a marshmallow chicken. What would happen to that sugar coating? I silently prayed for carmelization.

meltyCarefully, I positioned my peep for maximal even heat, rotating it slowly and watching for the slightest change in color or shape. The chick began to expand. It rapidly became lopsided, threatening to droop off my fork, but years of marshmallow toasting had provided enough skill to regain control just as the yellow sugar coating began to brown.  Oh here we go . . . carmelize, you beautiful marshmallow. A bit of color here, a bit of color there, and away you go. Once off the heat, the sugar coating began to harden slightly . . . like the top of a creme brulee.

Perfectly toasted.

Perfectly toasted.

I have to say, this is one of my most favouritest ways to eat a Peep. The outside is crispy, the inside is melty, and it takes on a whole new flavour.

CAUTION: Count to 10 before you try to eat the Peep or you will burn your mouth. Caramelized sugar is VERY HOT but will cool off quickly.

You can make a s’more with these guys, just as you would with a regular marshmallow: sandwich the toasted Peep between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate. However, I often prefer to toast them under the oven broiler to and serve them open-faced. They are also exquisite with a little peanut butter.

How to Make a Smeep:

  1. S'more + Peep = Smeep!

    S'more + Peep = Smeep!

    For each serving, place a graham cracker on a cookie sheet.

  2. Top each graham cracker with a square of chocolate (milk or dark) and a marshmallow Peep (bunny peeps work great for this because they are flat and brown more evenly).
  3. Place under a broiler for a few minutes until the chocolate softens and the top of the Peeps are slightly browned and carmelized.
  4. Cool slightly before eating.

Can’t get enough Peeps?