The second I walked into the chocolate shop, the counter woman’s eyes widened in recognition. “You’re the guy!”she announced. The guy? What guy? The guy from Stargate? The guy who dropped $100 on chocolate last time he was here? The guy who made off with her purse last Sunday afternoon in Stanley Park? “The blog guy,”she clarified as if reading my mind. Instantly, I was assailed by a totally different panic. What had I written about this place in my blog? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I was immediately on guard, expecting to be blindsided by a good old-fashioned hot chocolate throwdown. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Two men walked into the shop all smiles. One introduced himself as Karlo Flores, the owner of Monde Chocolat and welcomed me back.
Apparently, someone had tipped him off to the fact that I’d mentioned his new Burrard street business in a recent blog entry and he was eager to talk shop. Chocolate shop that is. We discussed the varied in-store selections – Michel Cluizel, Valhrona, the inhouse bark, frozen treats, and the exotic (some might even say downright bizarre) Zotter line of chocolate bars that covers everything from straight dark to mare’s milk with oats – then chatted about his own award-winning line of chocolate bars – Terra Nostra – the top-selling organic chocolate in the U.S. According to Karlo, his chocolate differs from most in that he doesn’t use soy lecithin as an emulsifier. The 73% Intense Dark I sampled was silky smooth with a nice snap. Apparently, Karlos will be offering his own handmade ganache in the coming weeks and intends to experiment with a variety of different flavors.
And speaking of experimental flavors, I decided to pick up five interesting-sounding bars from the Zotter line: “almonds with grappa raisins“, that “mare’s milk with oats” I mentioned earlier, something called rowanberry or mountain ash (if I’m being offered a choice, I’ll go with the former), “VinziSchilcher” (named after the brandy cream of the same name), and the intriguing “hot chicken ensemble” which, sadly, doesn’t contain any actual chicken but whose list of ingredients include chocolate liquor, almonds, egg yolk, and Williams Brandy. And, oh yeah, I picked up a dozen bars of my new favorite milk chocolate bar, the sublimely sweet and salty Chocolat Stella Finissimo Cioccolato al Latte con Pane Ticino which, Karlo informs me, is made by a buddy of his.
I intend to go back in a couple of weeks to check out his ganache creations. Yeah. Given all of the chocolate I got today, two weeks does sound about right.
Today’s pics: Karlo, Monde Chocolat, lookit all the chocolate!
Questions, comments, and quibbles (minor of course) –
Crazymom writes: “Do you have a favorite all-time movie?”
Answer: These kinds of questions are always tough. I love The Princess Bridge, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (with the exception of the dated musical interlude), and The Sting. Some movies that almost come to mind – that may not exactly be considered high art – include: Reservoir Dogs, Fudoh, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Karen writes: “I’m always looking for new types of sushi to try. What are your favorite types that you’d recommend?”
Answer: I’m big on the toro (tuna belly) nigiri, and spicy tuna sashimi.
Crh writes: “Any idea how long filming will be going for the SG-1 movies?”
Answer: Filming is more or less done. Robert just has to get around to getting that helicopter shot for Ark of Truth.
Crh also writes: “Have you ever been to Kansas?”
Answer: Never been but there are so many places in the U.S. I’d love to check out – including Kansas.
Smiley_face06 writes: “What do you like to watch on the Food Network?”
Answer: Pretty much any show but Food Jammers. And, yeah, I think Rachel Ray is a cutie.
Steph writes: “1) Have you ever read Terry Pratchett or Jim Butcher? 2) What’s your favorite sushi ingredient? 3) I’ve no you’ve pulled some pranks with SG-1, but what about with Atlantis?”
Answers: 1) Pratchett. 2) The fish. 3) Well, there was the time I set a family of wild raccoons loose on set. Who’d have known those things could be so vicious.
Anonymous #1 writes: “Check out my late November – early December 2006 posts for a rundown of my HK trip.
Arctic Goddess writes: “Do you belong to the Writer’s Guild of Canada or any other union? Are there any unions that you have to belong to?”
Answer: I have no choice but to be a member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada. Membership has its privileges however. Like that glossy WGC magazine I get once a month.
Anonymous #2 writes: “ Heard a rumor that if there is no season 5 for Atlantis that Stargate Universe would also not be made, at least till later down the road. Is there any truth to that?”
Answer: Nope. The two are separate entities.
Anonymous #3 writes: “Joe, have you ever been to Korea?”
Answer: Never been.
Ramia S writes: “Please, can you suggest me and to my friends a nice typical restaurant.”
Answer: Typical of what? Vancouver?
Ashley writes: “…as I understand it, Tapping crossed over to Atlantis because she still owed the Stargate franchise one year under contract after SG-1 ended.”
Answer: Amanda had a deal in place. We offered her the opportunity to come over to Atlantis and pitched her our idea of how we’d do it. She was given a choice and chose to accept. If she had chosen not to come over, we would have honored her wishes and looked elsewhere.
Anonymous #4 writes: “…it seems you only ever allow two females at most to be main characters on your shows.”
Answer: With the upcoming fourth season being the exception to the rule of course…