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…

Some mailbag:

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?

Annie from Freemantle writes: “Who’s funding this opulence???”

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 – ? 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.

46 thoughts on “April 19, 2010: A few chocolate party disappointments! Awakening Day #2! A modest mailbag!

  1. I have been studying all day for my finals (final semester at McGill YAY!) and had a major brain-fart. To make way for my laptop I pushed asside the steaming hot iron placed there moments earlier with the palm of my hand. The worse part is that it is my right/mouse hand…

    What do you think? Too much studying?

    P.S. Typing with only your left hand takes quite a while.

  2. I still say there had to be chocolate hangovers the next day. LOL As a dark chocolate lover there were several there I would have loved to have been able to try. It all looked so wonderful.

  3. Thanks, Joe! Now…send me some! 😀


    I think…


    Meanwhile, I think I’m gonna give myself a heart attack! Like I said in a post a couple days ago, I’m consistently ‘up’ now for a good two months. Even if I start feeling a bit blue, I get over it quickly. I’m spontaneously singing…all the time…and chatting up every person I meet. I was actually singing Zippity Doo Dah the other day! On top of everything, I’m tackling those bothersome little projects that I always push aside. Tonight I’m cleaning out my address book (translation: Erasing the names and numbers of dead people 😛 ), and filing all the business cards I’ve collected over the last couple of years. If I don’t remember who gave it to me or what it’s for, out it goes! I had to throw out some from dead people, too. Note to the wise: Do not give me your address, phone number, or business card, ’cause it seems I know a lot of dead people. Well…knew a lot of dead people…since, ya know…if I know them now that would be kinda creepy and supernatural-y. 😛

    Anyhoo…thank you, Joe, for the chocolate-y tip! Hmmm…I’m ending a lot of stuff with ‘y’ tonight…I must have Kerryitis. 🙂 Have a good night, sir!


  4. Here is something I wonder about your cast.

    What kind of accomodations do they have when they are in town filming? I know some may have ‘trailers’ on site but I never got the impression they were apartment-like.

    Obviously some cast members may be able to fork out more for temporary accomodations then others..but considering how pricey it is to live in the area, it was something I wondered about.

    Do some of them split on apts? Are hotels the norm? Have any funny roomie stories you’ve heard that you can share with us?

  5. I had wondered about the Smoked Applewood Bacon Truffles and the Bananas Foster Truffles. Last year you had been so enthusiastic about them and I was curious what had happened to them this year. I noticed those two particular selections were missing because they were something that I would want to try. Like Ashleigh I would also want to try the Blue Cheese Assortment. Mmmmm.

    That’s too bad about the missing chocolate selections. However, I am sure you are the only one who noticed. It sounded like you had enough chocolate to feed an army. I don’t think anyone went home hungry. Plus, there’s always next year.

    So once all of the leftovers have been eaten, how long does it take for you to want to eat chocolate again?

    Have a good one!!

  6. that’s freakin awesome! I want stargate dishes! I wish I had been staging at Refuel this weekend…

  7. Glad to hear that you give away the excess chocolate. So tempting to have that stuff at home.

    Thanks for the info to my question. I figured that the writers would explore the backstory more. I want instant gratification! Just kidding. There’s gotta be a good story behind it all. The writers focused so much on Young’s wife at the beginning.

    Question: Is Lou Diamond Phillips coming back for any episodes? I didn’t know if anyone had asked that. Love it when his character and Young are in the same scenes. Talk about chewing up the scenery, or whatever the saying is.

  8. I understand Rob Cooper recently won a Writer’s Guild of Canada Award for “Time.” I would appreciate it if you would pass along congratulations to him. I’m not familiar with competition, mind you, but he earned it.

  9. @Das: Congratulations! I love the feeling of progress, don’t you? I knew my deepest grief over Mom’s death had eased when my spontaneous singing returned.

  10. Hey Joe!

    I’m really glad photos aren’t edible, because I’d have eaten way too much photographic chocolate. They all looked amazing and delicious.

    Are you going to partake in the wine festival at all this weekend? I’m visiting Vancouver for the first time and was quite pleased when my friend/host not only told me that it was going on, but that she had also signed us up for a Sunday brunch event. I’m looking forward to it. I noticed there was an event at Refuel also and naturally made the connection to you. Also, this being my first venture into Vancouver, and my love of all things Stargate (along with my friend/host’s), I must ask the question. How close can fans of the franchise get to the magic? I’m hoping there’s at least the possibility of public streets for a quick walk-by/drive-by photo with the knowledge that somewhere inside those premises is the gate and Destiny.

  11. question on everyone’s mind: how much was the total bill? Or the ballpark figure if you must

  12. OMGoodness, that was really a journey in and through chocolate heaven – paradise!!

    Hope to get to refuel and hope they have corn soup. And, the crispy duck is a must!

    Thanks for making me drooooooool again.

    Vosage’s – their bacon chocolate was wonderful!

  13. Hey Joe,

    I suppose the “if you had superpowers which ones” question was too silly. 😉 It’s all good.

    Here’s one more on topic to the realm of Stargate…

    How many people die in SGU “1.5”?

    …for some reason I have this hunch that there isn’t gonna be an answer to that either. :p It’s okay. (Though a hint or teaser would be awesome. I’m getting this impression that there will be a traumatic death or deaths by the end of the season, particularly in the last two episodes.)

    Here’s a better question…

    A while back you said you like macha tea (or “matcha”/”maccha” (sp?)). I’ve never heard of that tea ’til you mentioned it. I’m curious to try it out. Any recommended brands to try?

    Thanks 😀

  14. It’s always unfortunate to hear of local businessmen closing, especially when they provide a superlative product. And doubly annoying that other venders failed to provide you the product on a timely basis.(I shudder to think what the unopened chocolates would have been like, having spent days under who knows what conditions). How many man-hours do you think you spend getting the party together? It’s quite the logistical accomplishment. Even with the help of the staff of Re-Fuel it’s a task that would terrify lesser souls. And I can hardly wait to hear about next year’s party.
    Glad to hear you’re enjoying Spartacus. I’ve had minor quibbles with the show from a historical perspective, but they have not been enough to detract from my enjoyment of the show. I’m guessing it will be a 3 season series, maybe 4 if they try to stretch things out. I’ll miss some of the characters, but can’t wait to see how they depict Crassus.
    Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to keep us posted, and have fun at work this week.

  15. @PG15

    Amen brother. Hallowed is the BAG in all his awesomeness. You must bring him back Mr. Mallozzi you MUST! SGU just isn’t the same without our friend BAG! Please bring him back!

    Oh and Congrats to Robert Cooper. He had some pretty tough competition!

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  16. Good advertisement there Payard 😉

    When you call those far out of the way quaint little purveyors of fermented liquefied cocoa products have you ever tried the “Do you know who I am?” gambit? (sort-a fairly semi well known powerful TV with all his own teeth!)

    They might remember that *g*

  17. Yum. *drools, head lolling to one side, eyes staring as if in catatonic state*


    Joe, just looking at the pics is enough to send one into a chocolate coma. Chocolate is a food I could be adventurous with. So, have you tried dipping the pig’s head into dark chocolate?

    So did anyone have to have assistance getting to their vehicles?

    Does Ashleigh eat cheese, then? I was under the impression she didn’t eat any animal products. (No criticism, just curious).

    Here’s another sign of your immense supervillian-ness, Joe. You manage to keep yourself surrounded by beautiful women! 😉

  18. I agree with PG15 and Major Davis that some characters should have the immunity idol during their Destiny trek. I’d save Lt. James (so much fun when she beats up the Civies), engineer dude Volker and Lisa the adorably optimistic techie.

    I was happy to see Dr. Caine (he who believed aliens would save him) get left behind, but I get a bad feeling he may turn up again.

    When the show started I loathed the way the military guys bullied the Civies (Greer kicking Rush still bugs me, and I don’t even like Rush) and yet now I root more for the military crew than the whiny Civies, and I loved seeing James beat up that Civies in divided.

    I hope Greer will get to do more techie stuff and get a love interest; he and Rush are lagging behind in the romance dept and they both could use someone to spar with who can bring them out.

  19. Hello Joe

    Now that it looks very unlikely that we will see the movies…

    1. Could the stories be woven in to SGU? I know it would be practically impossible to tie in the SGA story to SGU, but the show does have a fairly strong Earth and SG-1 connection.
    2. If not, could the stories be released as (perhaps canonical) novels?


    3. How are you guys finding the ratings to be? The most recent ones weren’t released sadly.

    Thanks 🙂

  20. I enjoyed watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand. It took a couple of episodes before I quit covering my eyes. I’m glad to read that someone else also enjoyed watching. Without giving anything away, I was not expecting it to end the way it did. 🙂

  21. Oh, and I forgot to mention in my hand burning story that it is my birthday today.

    I cannot wait for Human!

  22. I’m really enjoying the new direction SGU is taking with this half of season. You guys managed to find a better way of mixing character development, drama, action, and exploration.

    Question, have the writers thought about going Lovecraft with the aliens later in the series? It would make the aliens seem truly alien and scary, take the Destiny into truly unknown space, and go a long way towards making SGU different in a good way.

  23. Hi Joe,
    Man i wish i was there looks amazing with the choclate and the actors could you do me a favour a read one of the stories from stargate universe just to have a pros opinion.

    i was wondering in faith did who stayed along with dr caine

  24. Bites. tongue. HARD.

    Joe – If I weaken, and make the comment I am trying so hard not to make, please go all moderator on my butt and don’t post the comment just delete it.

    Thank you,

  25. Joe, don’t listen to Shiny, lol…Greer (or Rush) don’t need love interest’s…Besides, I see no suitable mate on ship for Greer. In one of the episodes (I forgot which) Greer got down with some random chick, sorta like a one night stand kinda thing and I was okay with that I guess, but a love interest? Naaah…I can see if they got stuck on an alien planet and had to repopulate, but they are trying to get home. So a love interest isn’t really necessary (for Greer), and I think it would sorta cheese thing’s up, for lack of better word’s. So, aye to Bootie Call’s and nay to “love” interest, in this particular case…Just my opinion…By the way…Are the rest of the women/men on the ship sterile? Why is T.J the only woman knocked up? LOL…

  26. Of course Refuel made a Stargate dish. They expect to see a lot more of you so it is a wise investment.

    We could do with a Refuel in Cape Town. Oh, if only. 🙁

  27. Hey Das, I’m still not dead…honest:)

    Started HRT today,bloody hormones. wonder what side effects I’m going to have:) Its Katherine’s 15th birthday tomorrow, where’d the time go? My baby is growing up but she’s still not allowed to date before she’s 40! Got number one son getting married in July and have scheduled a total breakdown for late september.
    Just settling down now to watch Faith, have chocolate, hot water bottle and PJs hope theres no emergencies!

  28. Joseph-

    I am very sorry that I had to miss contributions to your party this year. As soon as I can get my new commercial kitchen up and running in New Orleans & our website back online, and some shippable weather; I would love to send you some new things…did you try the Rue Royale (absinthe, rye whiskey, lemon & bitters)?? I’m looking at doing a smaller selection for the guests of the b&B and for the shop/web.

    BF was one of my personal favs, too, and will be coming back in a similar way.

    Anything for you….where’s my walkon?

    xo Chef Will

  29. Sri it’s been so long since I’ve been able to post – you know that horrid thing called uni? But anywho, I DO love chocolate, but just not that much of it at the one place… I don’t know where I’d start! 😀

    As for SGU, still waiting for my mate to send the eps to me to view – stupid Aussie stations, showed the first 4 eps and then stopped!! WTF??? It all sounds very interesting, and I’m very happy with myself that I was able to guess the ‘relationship’ between Young and TJ at the outset. Woohoo!! 😀

  30. Just a quick Faith question – was there a location shuttle (like the ol’ jumper with a roof panel), or was the whole thing cleverly done with a green screen in the corridor?

  31. Hey Joe

    Nice party, looks like everyone enjoyed themselves.

    How far ahead will you start planning for next year?


  32. Apologies if you’ve spoken in depth about this earlier. I did try a search…

    I was wondering if you could write about the process of choosing the music behind the montages in Universe.

    While in other shows the music has sometimes seemed like it was only chosen to appease the music publishing arm of a studio’s parent company, I think the music in Universie has really enhanced the impact of the scenes. I am still haunted by Flogging Molly’s ‘the worst day since yesterday’ in Life. (Hope I got that name right)

    I’m not a music-holic, so to speak, I’m not that well versed in music, but the range of music used has seemed very eclectic and chosen with a great deal of thought.

    Is the specific song chosen or suggested by the specific writer of that episode, or by various of you on the production staff? Have you ever been unable to get the rights to a piece that you really wanted?


  33. @vv0472 OUCH!!!!! anytime I get a burn that doesn’t need a visit to the E.R. I use any sunburn product, one with aloe and lidocaine. And COOL water not ice water, it prevents scaring.
    For the first 12 -24 hours I just practically bath my hand in the product and something internally for the pain, tylenol, advil, etc.

    And Happy Birthday!! Hey try eating ice cream with your hand… that’ll cool it down. Just a thought.

    Best of luck on your exams. You can do it, you’re smart… you hang out with us.

  34. Hi Joe, a quick question: What’s your favorite Mariebelle hot chocolate?

    Elway got his staples out today! He’s doing really well, but it looks like we’ll be camping out in the living room for (gulp) another month. Whatever, I’m just happy he’s ok.

  35. I love chocolate, and have been to unbelievable Dutch-sponsored chocolate extravaganzas on cruise ships, which I believe to be the epitome of civilization. However, it’s no surprise that chocolatiers are hunkering down or closing up in the face of this economy (to which, I presume, Canada is no stranger).

    Even so, the economy will eventually come back stronger than ever, and with economy will come chocolate. I offer this analogy:

    We once owned a popular bar/grill, and the considered wisdom was, no matter how bad the economy gets, people will still find the money to drink. So with chocolate.

  36. I am concern that moving SGU to Tuesday night might be the death knell of the show.
    With both NCIS and NCIS LA on from 8 to 10 pm (not to mention ABC’s V) I just don’t see how SFYfy expect to get more viewers on that night, I would have thought a move to Wednesday night made more sense. Alas I hope the strength of each episode and more important to me a generous amount of re-broadcast of each will maintain viewers.
    Also since C Judge brought it up maybe the showing of the Stargate: Revolution movie would help with the numbers!!

  37. So I have a quick question.

    Will we see BAG again later in season 1?

    Brother PG15 and brother Joel are already on our side, and others will be converted too. Hallowed is the BAG! He must return!

  38. @ Kabra Thanks so much for the kind birthday wishes! Fortuneately the burn does not need a visit to the ER. It is like a very bad sunburn. It have been putting aloe vera on it and it seems to work. My friend also recomended yogurt, but I’m not so sure about that lol.

  39. Norman Love!!!!! Dude I so love his new Black collection. Almost too pretty to eat, but after a really rough week I spent half my paycheck on his chocolates. To this day it is still one of the best choices I’ve made. Glad you enjoyed them!

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