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Chocophiles...are happy in Edmonton

Just thought I'd let the chocophiles out there know that Kerstin Roos has now officially opened her store, The Cocoa Room by Kerstin's Chocolates. (She's the chocolatier behind the made-in-Edmonton Chocophilia line of really incredible chocolate bars sold in Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Edmonton.) My current fave is the "Hot Chocolate" bar made with 72% dark with chili, and the dark chocolate with Maldon Fleur de Sel. I am also fascinated by the "Lemon Dream" a white chocolate with candied lemon and lemon oil. And frankly, I detest white chocolate, but this stuff blows my mind.

Anyway, the store is small but great. She's got a corner for the very serious home chocolatier so you can get professional quality chocolate, sugar, etc and make your own creations; there's a little book shelf with some great books on chocolate; Kerstin's own line of bars and a half-dozen incredible imported bars (Slitti, Cluizel, Bonnat, etc.) There's even hot chocolate to-go made from melted chocolate and steamed milk.

The store is located at 10139-112 Street (just across the street from Stantec) in the main floor of a condo building. Just in time for Valentines Day. Of course, you can still order her chocolates off the website www.kerstinschocolates.com or get them at the retail locations across the west. I think there's a list of the current retailers on the site.

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  1. Love dark chocolate. Cannot get enough of it! Thank you for letting us know!

    1. Got my wife a selection from Kerstin's for Valentines.
      My wife was very, very impressed. Reccomend the "Hot Chocolate" as well as the one with orange and pistachio
      Kerstin herself was very helpful and took a great deal of time to explain stuff to myself, a chocolate neophyte.
      Happy to plug a very professional local business

      1. I went in to buy a birthday present and maybe a couple of goodies for myself to try and ended up walking out with $50 worth of chocolate. lol

        Ditto on the orange and pistachio one; am trying to stretch them out so havent' tried the rest yet.

        4 Replies
        1. re: anonymoose

          I don't know that I can cheat on Bernard, I have been faithful to him for so long, and he has treated me sooooo well ;)

          1. re: cleopatra999

            How do these chocolates compare to ones from Chocolate Exquisite? I far prefer them to anything from Callebaut.

            1. re: Dan G

              I can only compare them to Callebaut as I haven't yet tried Chocolate Exquisite (it's on my to do list!).

              Callebaut is more about richer and creamier chocolates, especially with the enrobed chocolates and truffles.

              Kerstin's hand made stuff is more about dark, milk and white bar chocolate with interesting flavours. When I was there I also bought some origin chocolate from a French company (whose name escapes me at the moment), and some of Kerstin's chocolate cavier (cocoa nibs dipped in dark chocolate and then rolled in cocoa powder). She wasn't selling any traditional truffles or enrobed chocolate that I could see.

              1. re: Dan G

                Chocolate Exquisiste does a vairety of bonbons and he does make some small bars. He has switched couveratures and plans on using Michel Cluizel exclusively.

          2. I'm going to a chocolate tasting at the Cocoa Room on Friday. I think there are still tickets if people are interested. http://www.kerstinschocolates.com/tas...

            3 Replies
            1. re: anonymoose

              I think you got the last ones anonymoose. The website says the March 7th tasting is now sold out. Be sure to report back so those of us who'll miss out can live vicariously hehe. The next tasting is Friday March 29th.

              1. re: maplesugar

                So, I compared it to Bernard,(blind folded) and I like Bernard's better.

                The finish is just smoother. I compared there 60% dark choco bar to Kerstin's 65% with choco nibs. Yes the nibs made it crunchie, which I liked, but, the overall, euphoric experience of eating the chocolate went to Bernard.

                Oh and afterwards I chucked in a piece of purdy's 70%, yeah, just not great when you eat it all side these two :) (I already knew Bernard's was better than Purdy's but, it was fun to taste test it again)

                ETA - Shoot, I wanted this to be under my other one but screwed up where I posted it. I wish there was a delete, not just an edit

                1. re: livetocook

                  livetocook, I'm guessing it might be better to compare Kerstin's Venezuela Milk 49% which tastes like a dark chocolate but is very smooth with the milk. It would probably be a closer comparison than the cocoa nibs or the 65% one.

            2. I stopped in today and picked up some bars. I got to try the Hot chocolate (free taster) and its heat was at end of tasting it. It was pretty spicy. I bought that, the one with the cocoa nibs in it and the orange one.

              I'm not too sure if I like her stuff better than Bernard's but, I can totally do a direct comparison tomorrow as I have both here and that's my cheat day :). I'll let you know what I think.

              1. I picked up a handful at the Italian Centre this morning (actually went to the Cocoa Room but it wasn't open - why would anyone not be open at 10:30 am on a Saturday! I hit the Strathcona Market at 8...Planet Organic at 9:15...thought I could go there on my way home)

                Anyway, Italian Centre had a limited selection: Fleur de Sel, Venezualen 49%, 65% and 72%, sugarless milk, and pumpkin pie (which my wife wanted). We tried a sampling of the FdS, 49, 65 and sugarless for dessert tonightI only eat chocolate with wine or scotch, and these seemed like the best paired with the Australian cab/merlot (51/49) I was drinking. Very good. Nice and smooth, creamy, flavourful. The 65 didn't have too much of that dark chocolate dryness that higher concentration of cocoa has. The 49 was my favorite, a nice line between dark and milk. The FdS was also very nice, with a bit of salty sweetness to it. I didn't have the sugarless, but my wife reported it to be very good also.

                Not sure what to do with the pumpkin pie. Might work with a good peaty single malt, or a viognier. Maybe a riesling. The 72% is just begging for a cab...whereas when i finally get a bar of the chili chocolate, I'll be breaking out a good hefty shiraz.

                Compared to Chocolate Exquisite...can't really be done because he has a much greater variety. Callebaut, I just find too sweet.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Dan G

                  Dan, Exquisite plans to switch to Cluizel, which, as far as the bigger manufacturers go, is the new industry standard. Now, having said that, and being a chocolatier, Exquisite is using a whole range of the single origin that is manufactured by Barry-Callebaut. Barry-Callebaut has a huge line of single origin chocolate. They have at least 8 or more that they produce. Even the Callebaut line has a very large range of percentages. The most common couverature being used by medium and low range chocolatiers is the 811 which is about 54% cocoa paste and 45% sugar. That is why it is referred to as semi sweet. Superstore carries that particular Callebaut chocolate in the bulk bins. The superstore 811 is a grade lower than what a chocolatier would use in that it is lower in cocoa butter content.

                  1. re: Dan G

                    I brought in the Hot chocolate for co-workers to try and my one friend and I discussed it at length after a few tastes. I didn't tell her I liked the Bernard better until she mentioned it, herself. We both love dark chocolate and found the first bite of the Hot chocolate to be waxy. The heat was a great kick but, the waxy part was a deal breaker with me.

                    1. re: livetocook

                      these chocolates were at the rocky mountain food & wine fest either last year or the year b4. I was not overly happy. but I did not get to try all the flavors. I am, however, a plain dark chocolate kind of person. I don't like it messed around with, and the darker the better. My favorite of late is the green & blacks %85 dark. It is so rich & creamy & bitter....mmmmm, no waxyness to be found.

                        1. re: livetocook

                          They sell Green and Blacks at Community Natural Foods. Not sure where else they carry them, but i've seen them there.

                          1. re: yen

                            Around Christmas London Drugs was carrying G&B. Otherwise Planet Organic regularly carries G&B bars - mini and full size and cocoa powder (and probably other products but those are the two I remember seeing on Sunday). Planet Organic also carries Cocoa Camino products(as does Community Natural Foods), their mayan chocolate bar is decadent ...camino also does these 1/2 oz size squares (sold at the checkout at Planet Organic) that are nice for getting your chocolate fix without overindulging.

                            1. re: maplesugar

                              yup, planet organic is where i get mine. the 85% only comes in the large bars. also try their mint & the cherry (whole dried dark cherries inside with dark chocolate).

                  2. Okay I finally have a second of free time, so here's a short description of what happened at the tasting.

                    We started off with a shot of the hot chocolate and then proceeded to learn about things like bloom, tempering, flavour, and the processing of cacao beans. We also talked about how chocolate from different regions and beans will take on different flavours, as well as some discussion about criollo, forastero and trinitario beans.

                    For the tasting part of it, we originally were supposed to blind test nine different chocolates but we actually ended up tasting 12 different chocolates as well as some unaltered nibs. Chocolates tasted included milk, dark, white and bean blends. Brands tasted included Bonnat, Slitti, Pralus, Valrhona, Domori, Venchi, and a couple of Kerstin's own chocolates, with Lindt and Cadbury Neilson tossed in for comparison.

                    By the way, Kerstin also mentioned that they will be selling their own truffles soon.

                    It was an interesting evening, and there was a nice bonus of a discount for anything we bought that night. I liked that the evening was focused on chocolate from around the world, and not specifically on the chocolates that they make.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: anonymoose

                      Thanks for the update anonymoose that sounds fantastic! Now if we could only get Kerstin's to do a tasting in Calgary(say at Cookbook Co.?)... or convince DH that we h-a-v-e to pack up the family and head up there heh. :)

                      1. re: anonymoose

                        I''d love to try her truffles. Me likey truffles :)