Le Maitre Chocolatier
I really like this chocolatier's products (super-fresh chocolates using Michel Cluizel chocolate) and thought that they deserve their own thread. Also, I would like to alert visitors that they do not accept credit cards. They accept only cash or debit cards.
Their address is:
1612, Sherbrooke West , Montreal. Tel:(514)544-9475.
My wife and I dropped in at Le Maitre Chocolatier today; seemed like a good way to spend some time while this summer was doing its rain thing.
We got there at about 2:30, a bit late for brunch, but the owner said he could serve us croissants and pain au chocolat if we were prepared to wait 20 minutes for it to be baked. It was a no-brainer; we waited. While waiting we had some coffee (Lavazza) - a nice, non-bitter cup (well, a few cups), and some mignardises. The mignardises consisted of small squares of orange cake (very nice orange flavour), macaroons (not macarons - nice chewy texture), and some chocolate brownies (loved the chocolatey flavour - reminded me of the chocolate madeleines I make).
The croissants and pain au chocolat were really flaky and had substance - not the dry pastry you so often get.
The owner then brought out a couple of tiny pistachio cakes; they were out of the oven and allowed to cool down before being served. They were moist and pistachio-y....really delicious. We spent quite a bit of time talking to the owner as they were not too many people there on that rainy afternoon. He knows I only like dark chocolate, but wanted me to taste a milk chocolate he loves. It was nice, but milk chocolate is not my thing. He included a small bar of dark in our package of chocolate. It was a great little dessert after a lacklustre dinner at a nondescript Greek place on the plateau.
The owner's wife (the chef) came out for a brief chat. She obviously loves what she does.
A bonus was the music played while we were there (I'm a keen music lover too) - tango and Brazilian female vocals (Rosa Passos).
We left there with big smiles on our faces. Hope I can sleep after all that coffee !
We dropped by at LMC last Saturday at 1:30, hoping to sample their brunch, but found out that brunch is by reservation only as it is made to order. So instead we had what I think is their high tea. Here's what we had:
- Mini-sandwiches (crusts removed). Had a second plate too as I was hungry.
- pear and blue cheese. Really wonderful. The blue was (appropriately) mild
- cucumber and cream cheese. Love cucumber sandwiches
- smoked salmon. Very nice
- pate de foie gras. Was okay; the pate was coarse, not the fine that I like.
- Plain and blueberry scones. We asked for blueberry, but were given both as the owner wanted us to taste the plain as well. We preferred the plain (drier texture).
- A plate of "mignardises", the same as what I described before.
Just when we thought we were done, the owner told us that his wife just made something she wanted us to try. It turned out to be cappuccino ice cream. The first spoon tasted just cold, and then when it warmed up in the mouth the coffee flavour really hit you. Definitely for the true cappuccino lover. I enjoyed it, though coffee flavour in desserts is something I do not go for.
As we were leaving, the chef went by with a box of macarons, so we ordered some to pick up the next day. The choice is very limited - chocolate, lemon, and pistachio. Through some miscommunication we got lemon and pistachio instead of chocolate and pistachio. My standard for macarons is those sold by Europea Espace Boutique. These were much more dellicate (as in fragile), they tasted fresher, and had more pronounced flavours; definitely better that Europea's. They were kinda like the opposite of those I have had from Esprithe, where the flavours do not seem to hit you, but they do grow on you (I like them too).
I stopped in at LMC today, and while talking to Nada, the chocolatier, mentioned to her carswell's comment that he found her almond/pistachio chocolate too grainy/ She told me that she was aware of it - she tried a more expensive type of almond, thinking it might be better, but it was not. When ground it was grainer than what she normally uses, so she has stopped making the chocolate until she gets a supply of her usual almonds. She asked me to post this here as she has no time to get on chowhound. Please note that I am in no way connected with them; I just like their products.
I think I may have a new favourite there - the Gianduja. I need to do a comparison between it and the praline.
She gave my wife the caramel/fleur de sel to try. She enjoyed it.
She gave me the white chocolate/lemon to try. It was nice, but I found it a bit too sweet for my taste.
Last weekend my wife picked up a couple of slices of the orange cake that I mentioned before that we had had as mignardises. While the tiny mignardises had just flirted with my tastebuds, these slices (about 1" x 4") had an all-out affair with my tastebuds. I thought they were really wonderful, and it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to cakes. They were definitely butter cakes, more dense than genoise, and very moist and tasty. If I could only get my hands on the recipe......
Initially I brought my mom and 2 friends for High Tea. All were thoroughly impressed with service and quality of eats. I returned with mom again this Friday and again had a fulfilling and gratifying experience. It was nice that is was not identical to our first experience. We find the owner very personable on both occasions. If they'd accept credit cards it would further heighten my already more than satisfying experience at Le Maitre Chocolatier.
There was an amazing deal on LivingSocial a few weeks ago offering vouchers for high teat at LMC discounted over 50%... I grabbed two (for less than the cost of one visit) and posted the details here, but the mods deleted the thread for some reason. It's not cheap, but for what you get I think it's a great value and one of my fave places.. The pots are unlimited btw, so you can spend an entire afternoon if you wanted.
I went recently as well and was pretty disappointed by everything. The atmosphere/ambiance was always sort of pretentious - big empty room, dead silent, stiff service, stuffy surroundings... but this time the accompanying food and sandwiches were just bad. The homemade scones and creams/jams were delicious but everything else was terrible and I felt it a huge ripoff. I doubt I'd go back even with the LivingSocial deals. $40 for scones and tea is just silly imo. I feel like this place has lost it's charm. If the sandwiches, pastries and chocolates were up to par, I'd reconsider... but it's just way overpriced and too fussy for my taste. I've changed my mind about LMC based on my last visit.
I have no idea... I took my mom for her birthday after a brunch in Old Montreal thinking it would be nice, and instead it was just tedious and no fun. The food was incredibly bland... the finger sandwiches were served on whole weat bread straight out of a plastic bag and while the tea was good enough, I could see no reason or merit for the $40 p/p price. They try way too hard imo, and take the English high tea thing way too seriously. It's the antithesis of all that's right about Montreal's food scene. The servers tip toe around daintily and the room itself is void of all atmosphere. It's quiet and empty - all the time. It's just too expensive for forgettable finger foods that you can serve up better with any leftover ingredients in your own fridge and pantry. The only saving grace are the excellent scones and preserves, but I would not return to LMC just for that. The selection of teas is decent, though nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps if you were with a few couples who went for that, and had an entire afternoon to kill by sitting around and drinking tea, chatting, it might be of better value. I still doubt that's how anybody would want to spend there time. We spent 30 mins and were all too eager to split for somewhere else. My younger sister joined us; she hadn't eaten with us earlier and left starving so we passed by Il Cortile up the street for post-brunch-lunch and desserts. Again, maybe on a cold wintery afternoon with a new romance, it might be a bit more "interesting", but for everyone else... we just felt like awkward guests sitting in someone's puffed-up drawing room and the whole schtick seemed overambitious and stuffy. The food was bad and we got bored fast. We found ourselves whispering conversation so that the kitchen staff wouldn't be eavesdropping; that's how dead it was. I used to enjoy LMC as you can see from earlier posts above, but that's because the food itself was of much higher quality. I would have still only really gone as a couple, because I would have found the room extremely awkward in just about any other circumstance, yet even then prices were outrageous, though perhaps justified as an exception and occassional visit. Now I feel it's just a rip off.
You make some valid points, especially with the bread. Even when they had the delicious white bread we thought that they could improve the sandwiches by varying the types of bread used. But if the quality goes down, the prices have to go down too, otherwise, this part of their operation will have to go.
Were the desserts ok? By the way, did you know that you can get the little petits fours they serve at cool and simple?
I didn't know that. The desserts were just finger sweets and not very good imo. The scones were really the only thing worthwhile of the whole experience. We didn't actually receive any of the pastries or pâtisseries they offer (ie. pistachio & chocolate cakes, orange and raspberry cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc) as it's not included in the service. The "desserts" are nothing more than bite-sized macaroons and other very bland and tasteless overly-sweet finger items that one might find as complimentary tray items elsewhere, yet would never touch in any other circumstance. In other words, it was all very middle-of-the-road with a very haughty air. They did offer free chocolate samples on the way out (we received two bite sized squares, although there were three of us) and I couldn't comment on these as I didn't get to taste them.
I actually went there yesterday, also with the voucher. Regularly its a little over $30 per person, but I paid that much for two with a discount voucher. I'd say with the voucher it is fun an worth it for the ambiance tea and snacks. Especially if you've never been before, it's worth at least going once. But at $30 per person, I don't think it is worth it.
Although the guy was nice, the service was not great! It was slow, and all tables were served before mine, including 2 tables which got there after us! At the end, when I had already been ready to leave for 5-10 minutes but was politely waiting or the server to come to us, the server then disappeared for 15 mins. Everyone was turning their heads trying to find him. It was really exaggerated. I couldn't wait any longer and got up to leave and figured I would him on my way out.
In the end, it cost $13 on on top of the voucher, for tax and an included gratuity fee. I was antsy to get out and somehow rationalized the amount hurriedly thinking the tax was on $60. Had I been in my right mind I would have objected to this amount due to the service.
All in all I had a fun experience with my companion, but I wouldn't go back for these points.
I've had high tea at the Palm Court in the Langham, the MO and Lanesborough in Hyde Park, Claridge's, The Dorchester, The Ritz, the Winter Garden at The Landmark, the Espelette at The Connaught, Brown's, The Athenaeum, the Goring Terrace, Park Lane, Milestone, and more while in London, and historic castles and inns all across Great Britain, covering extravagant and exorbitant tabs along the way... all of which, I felt, was value for money. Le Maitre is simply a ripoff, from the stale atmosphere and ambiance to the fussy service and worst of all, the quality of servings. They used to do a lot better (despite the high cost) but I felt at one time that it was worth indulging a couple of times a year as an occassional Sunday splurge. I'll never return after my last experience; it's not only a complete waste of money but an overlong waste of time as well. The food is terrible and they try way too hard to breed class and distinction.. it's all quite gracefully inept.
Picked up a selection of chocolates here ('mosaics', small bars - praline and fleur de sel, and some dome shaped ones as well) a couple of days ago. Before I say anything else I'll say that I am picky as hell about two things - chocolate and ice cream. I found the chocolates here acceptable. Which sounds like an insult but isn't. The praline choc. bar was my favourite and the fleur de sel was my least favourite - it tasted like it has just stepped over the edge into too-salty territory (for me).
The best thing, however, and something of a revelation, were the brownies. I'm not sure they called them brownies - we got 2 and one of them, which was an odd kind of 'brownie sandwich' with a caramel filling, was the best brownie I've had in Montreal, including those from Olive et Gourmando. I will go back to this place for more of these brownie caramel sammidge things alone. Very, very rich and indulgent, if that's your thing. It's mine.
Olive et Gourmando
351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA
My favourite chocolates are Bernard Callebaut. Not the baking stuff you can get here in huge chunks, but the individual chocolates they sell out of their retail stores out west (I dont think they go east of Alberta?). Also, I prefer milk to dark chocolate so I was judging mostly on that - the milks.
The fillings in the BC chocs are great - they do a strawberry cream that is my favourite fruit-filled chocolate ever, and at Xmas they do chocolate covered cherries that everyone back home loves and waits for all year. I order them online here but unfortunately they will only ship standard mixes, they don't let you pick what specific types you want. Boo.
And speaking of western Canadian chocolates, Purdy's sucks, imo. Everyone at home seems to think it's the best.
I have bad news for you: Bernard Callebaut went bankrupt a while ago.
I too liked their cherries, and particularly liked their Champagne truffles; I also liked their marzipan chocolates and cookies, but that was about it. Towards the end I found that the quality had gone down - it was difficult to get them really fresh perhaps because they were a franchise.
They used to have a store in Ottawa that closed about 25 years ago. I think I was at almost every store they had (B.C., Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Oakville).
I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, so we are not comparing the same things. I find LMC's chocolates more refined, and always fresh.
Didn't they/he just get bought out? I remember reading about this in the papers, it seemed to be a big soap opera in Calgary. The website stayed up and the new owners said the recipes etc. would stay the same. I've ordered from them since then and it seemed basically the same to me. I was also on a mailing list for the new venture of the guy (Bernard himself, I think?) who got bought out - Mr. Chocolate (that's wrong, it was something like that, tho)? I wonder if he ever got his new business up? I should do some Googling.
Beside OliverB and others, has anyone else used the Living Social voucher?
More importantly, has anyone who got the deal received anything approaching what souschef got for "high tea":
>> souschef Aug 25, 2009 03:29AM
>> - Mini-sandwiches (crusts removed)
>> - pear and blue cheese
>> - cucumber and cream cheese
>> - smoked salmon
>> - pate de foie gras
>> - Plain and blueberry scones
>> - A plate of "mignardises"
I have the LS deal for $29, but based on comments so far, I am going the "eat" the voucher - seems a bigger waste of time - than an actual deal
I got something approximating that last summer... I posted a photo on the forums before; sort of gives you an idea:
This was last summer however, so I apologize to anyone who might've bought a voucher based on my recommendation. The bottom row there is smoked salmon, pear and blue cheese, cucumber and boursin, etc. We never saw any foie gras (perhaps ordered separately?) and we had regular, blueberry, and I think raspberry scones as well. Don't expect any of this if you go back with Living Social. You'll get a few crappy sandwiches on whole wheat bread; they're the size of fresser's party sandwiches and taste like garbage. and you'll get some plain scones and jams/creams which happen to be delicious, although quality has still gone downhill since last summer. If you have the voucher, you might as well use it since you already bought it and are only paying tax/tip extra. None of the pastries seen on the top platter are available anymore btw... instead we got some shitty macaroons and bite sized finger confectionery crap, nothing bigger than a jujube.
We tried Juliette et Chocolat this weekend - LMC chocs are better, imo. I had one of their 'drinkable' chocolates and it was very odd - when it was hot/very warm, it was good. But I let it get cold and it took on this gelatinous texture that felt weird in the mouth. I couldn't finish it at that gooey point. What are those things made out of to cause that?
Also tried their brownies, alright but not as good as LMC. Maybe when I've explored further chocolatiers in Montreal I will find I *do* like LMC the best? :)
I decided not to waste my time visiting Le Maitre Chocolatier (LMC) in my recent visit to Montreal to redeem my "High tea for 2" voucher:
- voucher of 29,00 $ for two seems to be worth 14,50 $ per person, if that
- fixed tip of 9,00$ (15% on 60$) is not legal - I don't mine fixed tips of 15% for groups of 8 or more
- food sounds sub-par
- service sounds sub-par
- environment sounds un-enspriring
- staff sounds un-enthused
- voucher from Jul 2011 expires in Jan 2012 (I will bring this issue up with Liviing Social)
- LMC claims they have only ONE complaint so far - yeah right
- LMC offers yet another 1/2 price voucher offer (Sep/Oct 2011) - even when they obviously can't seem to get things right or should NOT be offering a similar offer
Ok, I looked at my voucher and this is what it says under instructions:
1) Call 514-544-9475 to make your
2) Be sure to mention your LivingSocial deal
and voucher number
3) Print out voucher and bring to
establishment or display iPhone/Android
4) Present prior to ordering your meal
5) Tax and gratuity are not included; don't
forget to tip on the pre-discounted amount
So, the voucher that the customer brings to the restaurent says that the tip is calculated on the pre-discounted amount. If you have an issue with that, you should take it up with LivingSocial.
On the other hand, if you have an issue with what percentage of tip to add on top of the pre-discounted amount, that is another story. Has anyone ever tried to get maitre chocolatier to reduce the tip amount and were they successful?
I went to Maitre chocolatier using a LivingSocial deal long before you guys went and had issues. For me, we had sandwiches with 3 different fillings, 2 of their amazing as usual scones each, and a number of homemade mignardises (which I love) and a small piece of chocolate each. We were unable to finish everything that we were served even though we had both skipped lunch.
Yes, there were red flags at that point: They had the new servers who won't even smile at you when they greet you and their bread, which for me was always their achilles heal, was worse than usual, but other than that, it was not as horrible as what you guys describe.
I was in Montreal on Saturday and dropped in at LMC for chocolates after a disappointing afternoon tea at Birks Cafe (I didn't do tea at LMC as you have to reserve ahead there, and I did not think about it in time).
I went upstairs to use the bathroom, and noted that it was busy and there was live music. I overheard one lady say "That was excellent" as she left the tearoom with a bunch of friends, and no, I don't know what they had.
I don't mind the price if it's good. But the high tea at Renoir is a bargain at $20 with an amazing pastry chef and unlimited pastries for that price. LMC sounds snooty according to some of the posts. I had a hard time understanding their website. Is there an English section of the website?
Finally used the Living social coupon I purchased several months ago. Based on this thread I was somewhat hesitant and regretted purchasing the coupon to begin with.
The bottom line: If I had paid full price I would have been thoroughly pissed off.
We were served (per person)
- The equivalent of 1 slice of bread (2 cucumber triangles, 1 egg sandwich).
- A small cracker with foie gras and fig jam.
- A polenta square with goat cheese mouse.
- A cracker with smoked duck.
- 2 cranberry scones (dry and cold) with apricot jam and vanilla cream.
- 1 square of Venezuelan chocolate.
- 1 cream puff.
- Chocolate cookie with lemon cream
- mini-tart with mouse
The service was friendly and attentive. They refilled our tea regularly.
When it was time to pay, we were told the tip was at our discretion and that we would have to pay the tax which was calculated on the price of the coupon. So about 4$ for tax and then 9.50 for a 15% tip (based on the list price).
We enjoyed ourselves but both agreed we could never justify paying 40$ (reg price with tax and tip) for what we were served.
At the end of the day, we paid 29 (coupon) + 14 (tax and tip) = 43$
Maybe they're reading this thread because I didn't get any smoked duck, goat cheese, foie gras, cranberry scones, crackers of any sort or Venezuelan chocolate when I went with my coupons!
It was just some whole wheat party sandwiches with cucumber, apples and boursin or something like that. And then some plain scones and shitty cookies. No chocolates nor anything else. Consider yourself lucky.
Thx for followup foodie. You said:
>> The bottom line: If I had paid full price I would have been thoroughly pissed off.
>> At the end of the day, we paid 29 (coupon) + 14 (tax and tip) = 43$
Definitely sounds like it was not worth 80$ (incl tax/tip). Okay, you paid 40$+, would you pay 60$ (incl tax/tip) for what you got?
Honestly, I wouldn't. But again, I don't think "high tea" is really something I would enjoy to do more than once every few years. Just not my thing. I am just pointing out that the 32$/person price tag (pre-tax, pre-tip) is quite steep for what you get (some of the offerings were good, and others just ok). The scones were quite disappointing (I had an amazing scone at Lawrence yesterday and the LMC scone pales in comparison).
So perhaps someone else would see it being worth 60. It may be worth it if you plan to spend a couple of hours sipping tea and catching up with an old friend. We were in a bit of a rush and were done within 50 minutes.
As I said in my previous post I was hesitant to go and even considered gifting the coupon or just writing it off based on some comments above. But I was pleasantly surprised when I was told the tip was at my discretion and that the tax charged was on the 29$ amount paid for the voucher. I also found the service to be very pleasant and efficient.