Last night, Akemi and I attended a Valentine Dessert Tasting at Beta 5, Vancouver’s premiere chocolate (and cream puff!) shop.  I know, I know.  It was actually the day after Valentine’s Day – but we were out for dinner the previous night and would have had to cut it kind of tight. And so, instead, we made the reservations for the the 15th, thus enabling us to head over with plenty of time to spare following a leisurely and light fish and salad dinner.

Beta 5 is located on Industrial Avenue just a ways off Main Street.  Not exactly easy to get to, but always worth the effort.  Akemi and I are huge fans of their chocolates (their award-winning banana chocolates are the best I’ve ever had and we never fail to pick up a couple of packages of their aerated dark chocolate “rocks” whenever we drop by) as well as the aforementioned cream puffs (also the best I’ve ever had). And, in addition to their regular offerings, owner Adam Chandler and his partner Jess Rosinski always surprise with ever-changing monthly specials: gelees, polygon bars, and chocolate-covered fruit and nuts.

Akemi and I arrived early and joined another couple on a tour of the Beta 5 kitchen…

Where the chocolate magic happens.
Chocolate tempering machine
Coating pan used to make chocolate-covered fruit and nuts.
Hmmm.  Don’t recall.  Used for heating?  Cooling?  Storing the oompah loompahs?
Chocolate art.
A sneak peek of the Easter  offerings.
A sneak peek of the Easter offerings.
Chocolate centerpiece

We ended up sitting with a couple (Dana and Matt) who took two buses to get there from the UBC campus (didn’t I say it was worth the effort?).  As it turned out, they had both studied Japanese and spent some time in Japan.  What are the chances?

Akemi, Dana, and Matt

Our dessert tasting was made up of six courses paired with various wines – champagne, sake, whites, and ending with a port.  Up first…

Strawberries and Champagne: carbonated strawberries, champagne granite, strawberry jello

I passed on the first glass because I’m not fan of champagne, preferring the sparkling sweetness of an Italian muscat.  The strawberries were lightly carbonated and the jello very subtle, but the champagne granite possessed a borderline bitter dryness that made this one my least favorite plate.

Blood Orange Rice Pudding: vanilla-scented carnaroli rice pudding, blood orange, biscotti.

Akemi’s favorite – and this is saying something since, prior to last night, she had never met a rice pudding she’d liked.  The blood orange pearls were a nice bittersweet touch.

Akemi pacing herself.
Red Velvet Cake: goat’s cheese parfait, beet sponge, honey-poached pear, cocoa nib.

Great.  The goat’s cheese parfait was reminiscent of the airy cheesecake my father used to make.

Creme Brulee: vanilla custard, caramel, raspberry, cacao fruit snow.

Gorgeous.  The sugar globe was incredibly delicate, cracking at the lightest tap.

The liquid nitrogen ice cream-making process…

Chocolate Tart: chocolate ganache, passionfruit curd, coconut sorbet, caramelized puff.

I was waiting for the chocolate course and, boy, did it deliver. Incredibly rich.  Incredibly decadent.  Utterly delicious.  Akemi couldn’t finish hers – so I did the honors.

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate: frozen milk chocolate mousse, dark chocolate pudding, blackout cake, cocoa nib sable.

Now this one was my favorite course – the chocolate no-doubt frozen in liquid nitrogen as well and served Alinea-style with an assortment of other chocolate goodies, reminiscent of the fabulous dessert I enjoyed for my Meal to End all Meals back in 2011: March 18, 2011: The Meal To End All Meals!

Our hosts for this sweet, sweet evening…

Jess Rosinski
Adam Chandler

And, just in case we wanted something to snack on for the drive home, we were gifted this lovely Valentine assortment:


Our dining companions – Dana and Matt

Our new friends, Dana and Matt, were wonderful company.  Over the course of our six course dessert extravaganza, the discussion ranged over many topics.  The subject of the Japanese language segued to a chat about Japanese culture which, in turn, moved on to an appreciation of anime that, eventually, transitioned to an animated discussion of SF literature (Matt is a big fan of the classics – Asimov, Clarke, etc.).  From SF lit to scifi television as Dana informed us she was a huge fan of SG-1.  “Really?”I said.  “What was your favorite episode.”  “Window of Opportunity,”she said.  And that guaranteed them a ride home.  If she’d answered Emancipation or Broca Divide, who knows how long it would have taken them to get back home.

Apparently, this will be the first in a series of dessert-themed evenings Beta 5 will be hosting.

Look into it!


25 thoughts on “February 16, 2013: Beta 5’s Valentine Dessert Tasting!

  1. Everything looks wonderful!!!! I can see why you like it even though I can’t taste it although I really really want to. 🙂

    Have a great night!!

  2. Oh man, all those look fantastic. The chocolate ones sounded amazing – I’m totally envious. I actually meant to try to get to Beta 5 back in October when I was there, but I guess I just ran out of time. So cool that you met some SG1 fans there, too. I mean, if they like Stargate, they MUST be good people, right?

    For the first day in what seems like forever, I’m starting to feel like myself again. Could the flu be almost over? *crosses fingers*

  3. It really was a great time! All of the desserts were delicious. I’m looking forward to them having more of these events.

  4. Good! After busing it, I would have expected you to give Them a ride home , even without the “BIG FAN” incentives!

    – [“..but They could be Serial Killers waiting to steal Our Chocolate and Blog ideas..?!” — “Doubtful.. Besides, *what are the chances..?*!! – Anyway, IF I’m wrong, *AND* you *LIVE*, just think, you’ve got your Next Horror plot all figured out!”]

  5. Sweet!! Looks like a lot of tasty fun. “Our new friends, Dana and Matt, were wonderful company. Over the course of our six course dessert extravaganza, the discussion ranged over many topics.” So did you ask them if you should stay or sell, buy or rent? I bet they would have a good opinion.

  6. Matt’s a cutie. 🙂 *says the creepy old lady*

    Everything looks yummy, of course – but I’m pretty sure it just can’t beat what I picked up today at the (cover your ears, Joe!) health food store. This stuff: (pick html or flash at the bottom to view products).

    I picked up the organic vegan fudge cream – it’s just coconut oil/sugar/milk and cacao – and it is DELICIOUS!


  7. Something about Matt reminds me of Brit actor, Bryan Dick (when Bryan has long hair). Not sure what it is…maybe it’s just the hair. 🙂


  8. Yum. But I feel sick, ate too much and so at least your pictures aren’t making me envious. 🙂 Looks like you found a winner. My daughter, btw, throws up if goat cheese is involved so I had to read her the ingredients. 🙂

  9. Some of those dishes look too good to eat. And it’s fantastic you were able to find interesting dinner companions for the adventure.
    So, what is your conspiracy theory for the Russia meteor/bolide? Bit scary to think how close we came to another Tunguska. Anyways, hope the rest of the weekend goes well for you.

  10. Hello Joe and blog peeps!

    Only you Joe could randomly meet a Japanese speaking Stargate fan…hehe. It looked divine.

    I was catching up on your house/condo dilemma. Such mixed advice. I liked Cheryl’s and Deni’s in particular. I think your dogs would be happier with a yard than in a condo.

    If you’re worried you don’t use all of the house could you rent out a room to a trusted friend? e.g. Lawren.

    If Akemi is interested in driving I think getting her a car is a wonderful idea. She probably has friends from her language class that she’d like to catch up with socially. Personally I love your public transport, particularly the Skytrain. Driving around is easy so long as you can find a parking space.

    10-1 if you moved into a condo you’d seriously miss the Theatre Room. Why don’t you have movie nights once a month, especially outside Football season? I’m sure you wouldn’t have to twist Ivon’s arm for that. Well maybe if it was a hockey night you would.

    So I vote for keeping the house, getting Akemi a car. Perosnally I’d like to win the lottery so I could buy a condo in Vancouver. I’d love to live there for a year or so at least, have my family over regularly to visit. That’s just a dream *sigh*

    Best wishes with your decision.

    Cheers, Chev

  11. @ Chev – Maryanne – Hate to break it to ya Chev, but the only pictures Joe has of Ivon lately are with Lulu. Ivon and Lulu are boyfriend/girlfriend. Sorry girl, but you better give him up and move on… 😉

  12. Chocolate looks yummy, Joe!

    I just helped deliver eight (!!!) puppies! My foster dog came into the rescue VERY pregnant and she finally had her little ones today!! 😀

  13. Gee, everywhere you travel you meet Stargate fans. TPTB should take notice of just how LARGE the fan base remains, patiently awaiting a rebirth. HINT – HINT…

    The Beta 5 kitchen photos remind me of science lab, oh so long ago, in college days. I’m not a fan of using nitrogen in cooking.

    Why do most of the dishes appear thrown together, kinda haphazardly? I’m sure they did taste wonderful, but visually, not so impressive. The Creme Brulee and Chocolate Tart just look sloppy. I’m sure that would not have stopped me from eating anything depicted in your photos though.
    Well, glad you & Akemi enjoyed yourselves and met Dana and Matt.

    This weekend was w-a-a-y too short.

  14. Okay, I take that back. THIS chocolate event was very different. A good Valentine’s present. In cases like these, I think your paths were supposed to cross. Perhaps if you hadn’t offered them a ride home after finding out how much you had in common, they would have been killed by zombies or something equally tragic.

  15. This is one of those posts that had me so transfixed that I would be unable to close the page fast enough in case of curious bosses. Fascinating videos, loved the tentacles rising out of the Red Velvet cake. Looks like something they’d serve during the Klingon Feast at Shore Leave.

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