The chocolate party was a success but, like most planned events, it didn’t go off without a hitch. There were a few disappointments, among them chocolatiers who put in previous appearances but who, for one reason or another, were unable to make Saturday’s chocolate fest.
Chocoatl: Sadly, Vancouver’s finest chocolate shop is no more. It will be missed, as will owner Themis Velgis who was always a delight to chat with whenever I swung by to sample his latest creations or his decadently luxurious drinking chocolate. Alas, the shop’s former location now houses a sandwich shop.
Wen Chocolates: The first time I laid eyes on Chef Will Poole’s marvelous creations was during an episode of Road Tasted. He was featured alongside some of his unique, out-of-this-world flavors: the Molotov Pineapple, the Mint Julep, and – what was to instantly become my favorite truffle of all time – his signature Bananas Foster truffle. Unfortunately, he too has closed up shop – but here’s hoping he and his Bananas Foster truffle make an eventual return to the chocolate scene.
Christopher Norman: A long-time regular at my annual chocolate event, Christopher Norman’s tea collection, baroque brownies, and hand-painted tiles are as stunning as they are delicious. This year, Ashleigh was particularly looking forward to their Blue Cheese Assortment. But it was not to be. A renovation issue resulted in my order being lost. By the time they got back to me, it was too late. Sorry, Ashleigh.
Vosges: This one really hurt. Vosges’ designer collections have been a Joe’s Chocolate Party mainstay, and their smoked applewood bacon truffles and peanut butter bonbons with sea salt enormous favorites. To be on the safe side, I phoned them ten days in advance and requested that the chocolates be shipped overnight. As Friday rolled around, I made some calls and discovered that instead of being shipped Express, they’d been sent Ground, ensuring that they would arrive Monday, April 19th – two days AFTER my party. I phoned Vosges and canceled the order, then contacted UPS and requested the package be re-routed. Well, it arrived today anyway. I have to admit, I was very tempted – but, in the end, I had it shipped back unopened.
Payard: Made its first chocolate party appearance last year – and its last. I contacted their Vegas store to place my order only to be told they didn’t ship to Canada. I informed them that they had, in fact, shipped to Canada last year. They took my order and assured me the manager would call later that day to confirm my order. That confirmation never came, so I phoned back the next day. I explained the situation to the woman who answered the phone and she transferred me to the manager. Or, at least, I’m assuming that was her intent. I was left on hold for five minutes and eventually had her answer again. Again, she transferred me. I was disconnected. I called back. Tried again. This time, I was left on hold for a little longer than I deemed acceptable for a phone call that didn’t involve my having to rectify an income tax-related issue. After fifteen minutes of waiting, I clicked off and crossed Payard off my list.
On set today for Day #2 of Awakening, and an early 7:00 a.m. crew call. Lotsa chocolate party fall-out discussion and a lunch-time chat with Peter K., Patrick G., Jen S., and David Blue about the cutthroat world of stand-up comics, high-school celebrity crushes, Battlefield Earth, and Adrienne Barbeau.
Off to watch the season finale of what is fast-becoming my new favorite show – Spartacus: Blood and Sand! But first…
PG15 writes: “And yes, I will have to echo my buddy Major D. Davis and say that you guys MUST save Balding Asian Guy!”
Answer: This is one fan campaign we’ll be hard-pressed to ignore. I suppose if you guys push hard enough, we’ll just have to bring him back.
yumenoko writes: “Do you allow your guests to invoke take-away privileges, so the decadent treats have a good home by the end of the night?”
Answer: Yes. Everyone is encouraged to take as much chocolate home as they can carry. And, if they’re looking a little light, I’ll send them back for more.
spacemika writes: “One year, you really do need to give CocoNymph a shot — maybe sign up for one of her classes to make your own contribution to the party!”
Answer: They made an appearance at last year’s party along with a couple of other Vancouver chocolatiers. This year, the local chocolate scene was represented by Thomas Haas and La Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France, and DC Duby.
crayonbaby writes: “Are we going to get more backstory to T.J. and Young? You threw us a curveball with T.J.’s condition. There’s been really subtle hints, but nothing concrete.”
Answer: We will be exploring their relationship in coming episodes.
Arian writes: “It looks like most of the regulars in the cast were there, but there were a few absent, most notably Robert Carlyle, Ming Na, and Julia Benson. Were they unavailable, or have you killed them off and so they’ve left town?”
Answer: All were invited. Ming-Na and Julia were out of town. Bobby had other plans.
JYS writes: “who provided the stargate dish? Was it you, someone else from the crew, or did Refuel get it specially made for the party?”
Answer: Refuel had it specially made for the party. Cool, no?
Answer: That would be the host. Me.
Tammy Dixon writes: “Is the chocolate party something you take on yourself? Or do you have others that help plan/pay?”
Answer: I bring in the chocolate and the gang at Refuel do a masterful job of handling all other aspects, from drinks to dinner.
Shiny writes: “I still don’t see why the Civies were so mad about Rush being left behind — the Civies never mention those two dolts from the premiere who jumped through a Gate into some random world and got left behind.”
Answer: You said it yourself – “those two dolts”. THEY made the decision to head through the gate and were architects of their own demise. Rush was a victim, purposely abandoned on a planet to die.
Brian writes: “Have you tried Chocolatier Blue in Berkeley –http://www.chocolatierblue.com ? His style is similar to Norman Love but Chris Blue is the only north American chocolatier that uses exclusively Amedei’s chocolate in every part of his creation.”
Answer: Amedei is my very favorite chocolate bar (specifically, the Chuao). I found out about Chocolatier Blue too late to order in time for the party. Same goes for Lillibelle Farms in Oregon.
Brian also writes: “I am trying to organize a choco party myself, on a smaller scale. Any tips?”
Answer: Variety variety variety!
dasNdanger writes: “Joe – out of all the chocolates above – which one would you rate on top out of the dark, nut-free, non-flavored ones. I am very interested in which was just the ‘best’ pure chocolate, on the darker side.”
Answer: Hard to say. To be honest, I was focusing on the more exotic flavors and didn’t get around to tasting all of the simple darks. Of those I did taste, I found the Norman Love Black Single Origin Chocolates and the Maison du Chocolat dark ganache squares exceptional.