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Looking for the Best Chocolate in Montreal!

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What's the best chocolate in Montreal? Les Chocolats de Chloe comes highly recommended, as does Maison du Cakao, but I'm curious for more. Also, with this cold weather I'm really keen for your chocolate fondu recommendos...

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  1. My wife and I did a survey of Montreal chocolateirs last year. We visited about 15 places. Chocobel was by far the best of the bunch.

    57 Rue De Castelnau Est - Near Jean Talon MArche

    In fact I will be going there this weekend.

    Chris in Boston....

    4 Replies
    1. re: aregularjoe

      Thanks so much! Did you have any runners-up to recommend? What do you recommend at Chocobel? (I can't eat too much chocolate at once so I have to pick carefully...)

      1. re: montreal_redhead

        Suite 88 is basically commercial quality chocolate in a fancy modern shop. Shop is great, chocolate is boring.

        Can't find my notes on Divine.

        At Chloe the chocolates smelled amazing in the box but the flavors were to subtle to us when eaten.

        Genevieve Grandbois is good, but VERY overpriced. The chocolate covered blueberries there are excellent as well as the truffles with liquid caramel.

        As far as Chocobel goes, the owners name is Yanick and he is both a genius and and artist! Looking at our notes, The Blue Cheese, Chevre with honey, Parmesan, Tomato, Hazelnut with hot pepper, Tea and caramel and the Pine truffles were our favorites there. The pine ones tasted like a Christmas tree! Tell him Chris and Cristina from Boston sent you.

        1. re: aregularjoe

          Thanks so much! if you go to The Liverpool House (as i recommended in other thread) tell them that Sarah, the red-headed writer, sent you.

      2. re: aregularjoe

        Thank you SO much for Chocobel!

        It was AMAZING!

        I brought some of their amazing chocolate back to Boston just last weekend.

        Your recommendation made our trip to Montreal just that more special.

        Thanks!

      3. I also like Divine Chocolates. They are located on Crescent street between De Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke, on the West Side - it's a basement store.

        I am a dark (bittersweet) chocolate person, but most of their choices come in both milk and dark. I love their truffles and their cognac cherries.

        1. I would recommend Suite 88. I used to live right around the corner from this place...not the healthiest time of my life.

          3957 rue Saint-Denis
          (between Roy and Duluth)

          1. Chloe is my favourite, but I also like Genevieve Grandbois - there's a small kiosk at Atwater Market, and her main shop is on St. Viateur. Suite 88 has decent chocolates - they're on St. Denis.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cherylmtl

              Cheryl,

              I have to disagree with you. I find Geneviee's chocolates ridiculously overpriced. I don't mind paying top dollar for quality but I also don't like being taken advantage of - and that's why I don't buy her chocolates - I just don't find that they are worth the expense.

              1. re: maisonbistro

                But I rarely buy them for myself - they are, however, the gift of choice when someone has to buy me chocolates...if I were buying them weekly, that would be another thing. But for the occasional splurge, they're just fine.

                1. re: maisonbistro

                  They're pricy, but her caramel with fleur de sel is unbelievably tasty.

              2. My husband and I just dug into a box of Divine chocolates that I picked up on Sunday. I am taking back my recommendation. It's not that they're bad, but they're just not as good as they used to be. The chocolate is still quality chocolate, but the fillings are lacking. I would not recommend them anymore. Sorry.

                1. I have to disagree with the masses here. As much as I believe that they are impeccably made, I don't see anything extra special in Chloe's chocolates. They are not bad at all, but I don't find myself craving for them despite living so close to her store. I don't get the nuances of cocoa in it, and most of her concoctions are too sugary for my taste. But since I like my chocolates on the very dark side, perhaps I am biased. If you like milkier stuff; hers might be your best bet.

                  1. We discovered a lovely chocolate shop this weekend. Forgive me if it's been mentioned before - I couldn't find any mention of it in my searches.

                    It's called Praline & Caramel, and is situated on Place Simon-Valois in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. They have pretty large selection of lovely painted chocolates in a variety of interesting flavours, as well as different caramel spreads, sucre a la creme, cakes, and other treats. We bought eight chocolates to try. We've shared about three so far: sesame butter, balsamic vinegar, and "pulpe de pamplemousse". We're very impressed with the intensity of the flavours! While I personally love Chloe's chocolates, I can understand why some might find that the flavours get kind of lost somehow. These, on the other hand, are quite bold. And pretty to boot!

                    Definitely worth a try.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mainsqueeze

                      The chocolates really are quite good. They make them using Cacao Barry chocolate.

                      And they have a website: http://www.pralinecaramel.com/

                      1. re: SnackHappy

                        OOOH, thanks for the info and the website. I would love to hear what people have to say about their cakes/pastries. I might just hve to venture out and order a cake. Now the problems start. Which to pick???????

                        1. re: maisonbistro

                          I couldn't say for sure because I've never tasted them, but they had this one in the display case yesterday and my boyfriend had to practically pry me away from it. I want!

                          La Poire Enflammée
                          Une génoise tendre au chocolat noir, des morceaux de poires flambées à l'Amaretto dans une bavaroise au caramel ambré. Un pur délice !

                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                            Oh trust me, I've read the descriptions. I have drool on my keyboard. I will be nice though. My husband is going through a rough time right now so I have bookmarked the site, will tell him to choose whichever one he wants and I will order it.

                            I will also sacrifice myself (the things I do for love) and also have some.

                            I will keep you all posted.

                    2. I also vote for chocolats de Chloe! Her fleur de sel chocolates are amazing. The basil is also excellent.

                      1. Disappointed to arrive at Les Chocolates de Chloe on Friday and the windows were papered over with a sign stating that they had closed on 29 June and are reopening soon at a new location on Duluth. So, with chocolates on the brain but trying to save on calories, I bought just two at Genevieive Grandbois at Atwater yesterday SIX DOLLARS for two! I tried saffron and the balsamic. They were good, but not worth that price.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Kat

                          Chocolats GG are alright, but nowhere near Chloe's, and like you said, not at all worth the price she's asking. I saw that Chloe was closing for the summer, so I went and bought a good supply for a month or so. Now I have to control my urges to eat huge amounts of chocolate at the same time. So far so good.

                          1. re: riboflavinjoe

                            Chloe is opening up at a new location just to right of the Pied de Cochon and Vertige, where there used to be a hardware store. I had a chat with her a few weeks ago and she said she was taking a well deserved break and opening in 6 weeks or so. There were 2 chocs left on sale, I'm guessing riboflavinjoe had just been by!

                        2. I buy from Chloe and Genevieve Grandbois occasionally but I've been buying from this store for the last 2 years mostly.

                          http://www.chocolantara.com/

                          1. There is this fantastic place on Mont-Royal (crosses Cartier st.), next to the Maison du Roti - it's called Harnois and it is a must for all you chocolate lovers on the island. The chocolate artisan not only sells chocolates, but also mousses that are melt-in-your-mouth amazing. My personal favorite is the "craque pistache framboises".

                            The prices are higher than normal patisseries, but the ingredients are of such high quality that I don't feel too guilty (it runs at 5.50- 6.00 a piece). Check out the website for more details: www.patisserieharnois.ca!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: spider_pig

                              Umm, are you saying that one piece of chocolate is sold for $5.50 - $6.00 a piece? I find that outrageous. Are you affiliated with the place?

                              1. re: maisonbistro

                                No, not the chocolate, the cake!

                                I'm not at all affiliated with them -- it's a tiny shop -- after having read a review in La Presse while I was shopping for buches de Noel, I went to see them, and I've been hooked since. Though I only go for special occasions, because it isn't very affordable (obviously).

                                1. re: spider_pig

                                  Hmm, I reread my first post and do realize that I sound like a raving cheerleader. Oups!

                                  For fun experiences that are a bit out of Montreal, there are both la Cabosse d'Or in St-Hilaire and Le Musee du Chocolat in Bromont. It's no Valrhona chocolate but still mighty tasty! You can lunch at the Musee and the chocolate/fruits crepe is stellar, especially given its reasonable price (I remember paying 7-8 dollars).

                                  1. re: spider_pig

                                    Ah...you've brought back memories....I used to go cross country skiing in Bromont and then visit the Musee du Chocolat to warm up and drink hot chocolate (the only place at that time doing milk, semi and dark versions). The "musee" part is small but I recommend the place highly. As soon as the cc ski trails are ready I'm going...and following up with the crepe you described (will have earned the calories!)

                            2. I used to like Chocolat Andrée on Parc. Is it still there?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sinjawns

                                I think it's still there(it's still listed in the Canada 411 phone directory). I haven't been there in ages(at least 10 years).

                                1. re: sinjawns

                                  Not sure if it is still there..visited LONG time ago...But, I since I got hooked on Juliette & Chocolat....and never went back to Andre. Would be worth a visit, now..given also tat holiays are close

                                2. Rejoice! Chloe is open again!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: riboflavinjoe

                                    Does Chloe still use Valrhona Manjari as the base chocolate ? She did when I tried it, and I did not like the spicy aftertaste of every chocolate. I much prefer Grandbois.

                                    1. re: souschef

                                      I've been looking for another chocolate thread where I had mentioned trying
                                      Le Maitre Chocolatier , almost southwest corner of Guy and Sherbrooke, newly opened; I went back yesterday for a few gifts and loved his new version of caramel,
                                      they are 2.25 a piece, everything is made by him; he also started making macarons, they were also very good, I bought 6.
                                      the owner and his wife are from france. There is also a "salon de thé" upstairs, will go and try it soon.

                                      1. re: superbossmom

                                        I've also tried Le Maitre Chocolatier and was a bit disappointed... the truffles were ridiculously small (and overpriced for their size)... the other chocolates were just ok... good quality but classic flavors...

                                  2. Hello chocolate fiends!!

                                    Chowhound Seth Chadwick just pointed out this event (Thanks Seth!)

                                    http://www.salonpassionchocolat.com/

                                    Sounds really great! May have to check it out, and spend the weekend in sugar coma.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: moh

                                      Me too!

                                      1. re: moh

                                        I will be there on Sunday the 9th, and think it would be a great opportunity to meet other Chowhounders. In particular, I do want to meet the legendary moh ! Perhaps we can all do dinner after. Ideally I would like to try Le P'tit Plateau for the sweetbreads, but if that is too far of a trek, we could always go to Beijing, and after dinner moh can stop for a snack at Kam Fung :)

                                        Even if we do not do dinner, can we at least meet ?

                                        Should we start a new thread on this, CH Team?

                                        1. re: souschef

                                          Souschef, I believe P'tit plateau is closed Sundays and Mondays, so the sweetbread meal is not to be on the 9th.

                                          My weekend plans are up in the air at this time. I do plan to try to go to the chocolate salon at some time, but I will have to decide on a time closer to the weekend. Feel free to email, the 9th may work out!

                                          1. re: moh

                                            okay, moh, I'll email you closer to the day. Any other Chowhounds interested in meeting? I will be there Sunday afternoon, and will be wearing a "pin" for easy identification - check the attached picture :)

                                             
                                            1. re: souschef

                                              Depending on how things work out, you may have a Phoenix Chowhound and a Southern California Chowhound there on Sunday. We are still shoring up our final plans and since it is our honeymoon, we might be... um... busy. :o)

                                              Then again, we are talking chocolate, so who knows.

                                              1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                Well, I finally met the legendary moh (and hubby) at the chocolate show. I was expecting to meet someone, well......larger. moh is anything but large, despite her frequent references to being on a diet....diet, schmiet !!!

                                                It was fascinating to tour the place with moh. I was indeed humbled in her presence. While I was, Neanderthal-like, sampling chocolate and thinking, "Chocolate good. Need More". moh was speaking in terms of floral after-tastes, etc. In general we liked and disliked similar things. We did diverge, however, when it came to very sweet stuff like caramel; moh has a very sweet tooth, whereas I do not. I think I finally figured out where "moh" comes from - it's an acronym for "Miss Oh Henry" :)

                                                Perhaps the most interesting thing at the show was the CacaoBerry/Callebaut display, which had chocolate callets you could taste free of charge, from various regions and of various percentages.

                                                There were lots of macarons. most of which were not too interesting. I hope moh submits a report as she obviously (from her postings) has a better memory than I do.

                                                I left there with one hell of a sugar buzz. Later in the evening I had to abort a multi-course dinner part way through as I was way too full.

                                                I thought the show was definitely worth visiting.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  There was a lot of very nice stuff at the Salon Passion Chocolat! Very dangerous place, both for waistline and wallet. I was sad to hear you had to abort the tasting menu though - but not entirely surprised :) We did eat quite a lot of stuff...

                                                  My personal favorites were: 1. The Cacao Barry-Callebaut display, because it was so much fun to try all the different chocolates side by side.
                                                  2. The truffles/chocolates from Marius et Fanny and Christophe Morel, which I found combined interesting, well-executed flavours with very artistic presentation.

                                                  Of course, Genevieve Grandbois was excellent as always, but as I know their products already, it wasn't as exciting in the context of the salon. A close runner up is Boutique Corfias, who had some very interesting ganaches, but execution wasn't always as reliable as the other two producers I listed initially. But I was pretty impressed by Corfias's mojito chocolate! You could taste the lime and mint well.

                                                  Macaron report will be placed on the Macaron thread.

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    A few additional tasting notes:

                                                    Marius et Fanny: I had the Caramel au fleur de sel chocolate, soft caramel in a milk chocolate coating. The texture of the caramel was velvety, and the caramel had an excellent balance of sweet and salty. I also had the Cranberge (Cranberry), which is a beautiful dark chocolate square embossed with gold and red designs. I bought it because it was beautiful, but it tasted great too, nice dark chocolate ganache studded with small bites of dried cranberry. Very well done! i had a third, but for the life of me, I can't remember the flavour. It was yummy, but obviously not so memorable... I think their chocolates are much better than the macarons.

                                                    Christophe Morel: We are systematically going through a small selection of the chocolates, and fortunately, I have a paper telling me what each chocolate is! So this is easier. Here are notes on the first 3:
                                                    - Earl Grey ganache: Classic chocolate. Dark chocolate ganache nicely-flavoured with Earl Grey tea. Good texture, flavour of the tea is prominent but not overwhelming. Delicious.
                                                    - Retour d'Asie: good idea, but less impressive than it should be. Thin layer of mango jelly on a layer of ganache with Sichaun peppercorn. The mango flavour is much too subtle, and even the taste of the ganache is excessively subtle. The peppercorn gives a nice haunting spiciness at the end, which I think would be lost if the other flavours were too strong. There is a slightly granular texture which I didn't like as well. I wanted to love this, but I only liked it.
                                                    - Framboisier: big winner! Thin layer of raspberry jelly on dark chocolate ganache. Big bold raspberry flavour, deep rich chocolate flavour, marriage made in heaven. This is a perfect chocolate.

                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                    Addendum: we determined, to our amusement, that the centre of the chocolate universe is Boucherville, Quebec. It was amazing how many companies operate out of Boucherville.

                                        2. Maison Cacao
                                          E. Laurier and Fabre
                                          Wonderful.

                                          1. I went back to Esprithé on 112 Laurier West Avenue to taste their tea chocolates collection made with the famous Chocolate Master Christophe Morel, and I've been completely impressive by the high quality of their “ganache” inside each chocolate. (I already tasted their marvellous tea macarons and in the mean time I was so happy to see that my favourite spot for Macaron was noticed by www.zurbaines.com (Esprithé received the Silver Fork Award). So, they presented to me the new collections of the chocolate "gourmandises" from Christophe Morel, with chocolate spices cookie (Spéculos), chocolate orange peels, chocolate almond tile, chocolate mashmallow cube, cashew and pecan brittle (Yummy !!!). They have some very beautiful gift holidays boxes…

                                            1. In the last few months I tried a few chocolates:

                                              Genevieve Grandbois:

                                              I tried a box of 9. Their classical collection. Man these chocolates are tiny. I was pretty underwhelmed considering how expensive they were. One thing also ruined the chocolate was that I was instructed to keep them in the fridge. I put them in my wine fridge, which is relatively warmer, but when I took the box out to enjoy, the chocolates were too hardened to eat. I do not like the texture of the refrigerated chocolate, so next time (if there is ever a next time) I am going to just put them on a cupboard and risk spoilage. The fridge spoiled them for me anyway.

                                              So half of the chocolates I tried were (even after waiting for 10 minutes for them to warm up) too cold for me to enjoy. The second (after learning my lesson and keeping them out of the fridge) half weren't all that either. I think one reason is that they have a very thin outer shell (combining them with refrigeration even makes the situation more fatal). I understand that fillings are important, but I am not buying these chocolates just for the filling. I don't want my couverture to snap like a delicate wine glass in my mouth and break into shards. Especially when they are too cold, the texture of their thin couverture is borderline unpleasant, akin to licking steel. You almost feel uncomfortable when you are eating these. This was especially detrimental to their otherwise picture perfect caramel. The excellent caramel melted in my mouth while the couverture just broke into ridiculously thin pieces and ... just sat there.

                                              Overall, I must say I was impressed by the taste (very very good couverture, excellent ganaches, I really liked the olive oil one which was the only one that I vividly remember), but texture and structure-wise the chocolates didn't do it for me. They weren't horrible (Ok, licking steel is an exaggeration) but I didn't enjoy the experience as much as I expected. Considering the price, I won't be buying them for myself. However I have a few friends that really enjoy GG chocolates, so I will perhaps keep dropping my money for them.

                                              Esprithe:

                                              Another box of 9, the tea collection. This time slightly bigger chocolates. As far as I remember, the box price was the same as GG, but I think the price per gram might be more reasonable. Not sure though, all blurry.

                                              I thought I wasn't impressed that much after my initial experience, but days later the flavors still linger in my mouth. I think they have done an excellent job in creating bold but balanced flavors. The taste of the couverture wasn't as striking as the ones at GG, but the overall structure of the chocolates were much better. The flavors were also unusual, like orchid, or oolong tea; but none felt gimmicky or too precious. I think I will buy them for myself, and perhaps for my friends depending on how adventurous they are.

                                              I also tried their macarons. I really liked them, but my biggest peeve was that they didn't have a "manual" in their box. I still have no idea what some of the flavors were. OK, I do have an idea of course, but it would have helped if they put a cheat sheet to check my answers.

                                              Marius & Fanny:

                                              We stopped there on a cold day after being ignored by the employees at Festin de Babette for about 20 minutes. They were too many innocent but loud babies accompanied by their hip but attention starved mamas. When did this place became the hot spot for moms-who-lunch that treat the place like it is their own living room (ie: parking their hummer-like strollers everywhere) and treating employees as their personal servants? I love that place, but they sometimes hire clueless girls who care nil about the work they do. I very much prefer to go there when it is empty and I can get some attention without having to act like a beyotch.

                                              Anyhoo, digressed too much... So it was cold and snowy, and we wanted hot chocolate. So we decided to stop by a place that we've never tried. The hot chocolate was not good at all. It tasted like Nesquik, a diluted one may I add. We also tried some of the macarons. They weren't bad but I didn't eat all because I was in the mood for chocolate. But boyfriend said some of them were turning dry and stale albeit hinting that they were pretty decent when they were fresh (standard issue problem with Montreal macarons).

                                              The chocolates turned out better than I expected. I tried three (salted caramel, cherry+kirsch and lavender). I especially liked the lavender. They were able to extract the full flavor of the bud without making the ganache bitter. The salted caramel was also nice and I might actually buy their jarred version. These are not extremely special chocolates, but they are well made and they deliver well. I might get a few piecesif I am in the hood, but I'll skip hot chocolate and coffee. I might also prefer other places if I need to give some chocolates as gifts to impress.

                                              Chloe:
                                              Since I used to live a block from her place, I had a bad habit of stopping by during mid day to get myself a treat. Chloe's chocolates grew on me. I still find some of her creations too sweet and milky (ironically, a Swiss friend who got them as a gift from me thought they were too dark). I really like their marshmallows covered in dark chocolate. I also find the structure and balance of their chocolates far superior to more modern-artistically inclined bonbons in town. I think squares with ridiculously sharp edges are a bad form for bonbons (I am telling you GG!). Whomever started this undeservingly popular trend should be punished by being forced to lick razor blades for 10 consecutive days.

                                              Chloe's chocolates are also shaped in squares (mostly), but they have soft curves that are more ergonomically fitting in your mouth. The overall experience is better. More importantly, their chocolates feel very "Montreal" to me, and these are the chocolates of choice when I am buying a gift for people that are out of town.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                Interesting that you feel that GG's shells were too thin. I really value thin shells with good "snap", which indicates good tempering. I always leave chocolate out of the fridge for at least an hour as you really can't taste chocolate when it is cold.

                                                One thing that bugs me about GG's chocolates is that tin that you pay for. Give me a cellophane bag and charge me less. But, I will take GG's chocolates over Chloe's any day.

                                                I like Esprithe's macarons too.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  I wouldn't disagree that thin shells are indicative of good craftsmanship, but for me the structure doesn't feel all right in my mouth. For me this is akin to listening to a book perfect musical performance where the performer hits all the right notes but fails to create some sort of emotional expression. The experience doesn't resonate with me. In fact I started to think that I don't like molded chocolates that much. I think I prefer that kind of snap in a bar or a tablet, but not on a multilayered product such as bonbons. They just feel too brittle to me.

                                                  But hey, it is chocolate! I don't think I'd resist any of these if they were put in front of me. However, I won't pay 20 bucks for a little box if the money is going out of my pocket..

                                                  1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                    Now you have woken up the classical music lover in me. I think a more appropriate analogy is that in a concerto performance you want to hear more of the orchestra whereas I want to hear more of the soloist.

                                                    It's unfortunate that Bernard Callebaut (Calgary-based) does not have any stores East of Toronto. His Champagne Truffles are something else ! I am still lamenting the closure of the store in Ottawa more than a decade ago.

                                              2. In my experience, La Pâtisserie de Nancy at 5655 Monkland, is by far the best chocolate in Montreal.