The man walking towards the door is Thomas Haas, he’s coming out to lock the doors…not to shoo me away either, but to invite me in!
Restaurant: Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie
Last visited: December 22, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC (Kitsilano)
Address: 2539 West Broadway Avenue
Price range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Owner/chocolatier: Thomas Haas from Germany
- Independently owned, 2 locations in Vancouver
- Original location in North Vancouver
- Staff of 22 all chocolatiers/pastry chefs
- Smells like chocolate, literally melts in your mouth
- Handcrafted chocolates and pastries
- Prepared in small batches
- No preservatives/artificial flavours/organic
- Local produce when possible, imported high quality ingredients as well
- Infuse fresh teas/coffees imported from Alsace and Black Forest
- Freshly ground spices in chocolate
- Fresh fruits from Okanagan in chocolate
- Whole cakes available
- Cappuccino bar
- Coporate gifts/Gifts/Take-home goods available
- Eat in/Take-out
- Tues-Sat. 8am-5:30pm
- Closed Sunday and Monday
- Thoma Haas – pastry post
I will stress that it is CLOSED Sunday AND Monday and only open until 5:30pm. I have made 3 attempts to Thomas Haas and it’s been a miserable fail every time. 2 out of the 3 times he was just leaving the store when it was supposed to be closed… truly dedicated to his chocolate shop. I can barely call it a “chocolate shop” because it’s so much more deserving than that. Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie really shows off Thomas Haas, a true chocolatier, and his wife’s intense passion for good quality chocolate and artistry.
This post is only based on Thomas Haas chocolates. I have tried other things, but this is the only time I’ve actually had something at the location, everything else was tried/eaten off site.
The chocolates I am about to review are actually a gift from Thomas Haas himself. It was at my 1st attempt visiting. It was 9pm and he was still at the store even though it closes at 5:30pm. He was still there making chocolates and preparing for the next day! The fact that I’ve seen him twice leaving the store even when it’s closed; it just really shows his dedication and passion to creating the finest chocolates. He actually saw me taking photos outside and invited me inside to take some more even after it was closed. He felt so bad that I had trekked out so far and gave me 6 chocolates to take home.
I could smell the chocolate as soon as I opened the bag. I could smell the freshness and the cocoa and you just know it’s made with high quality ingredients. Chocolate is best eaten at room temperature and Thomas Haas chocolates are really soft, creamy and flavorful this way. There’s no waxiness and it has this velvety texture that speaks quality. The edges are clean and the size is perfect. You literally don’t have to chew them (unless there’s a nut, or espresso bean) because they melt instantly as soon as they hit your mouth.
I can’t rate anything lower than a 3, because it was all good. It’s just others were better. I rated them not against other chocolates I’ve had, but just against each other.
On the table
“French Blue” Earl Gray Tea – 3.5/6
- Dark chocolate ganache infused with Earl Grey Tea, blue cornflowers and the zest of fresh oranges. 67%
- This is a very intense, thick, rich and creamy chocolate. It’s almost pure ganache and it was the boldest and richest out of the 6. It melts beautifully in your mouth.
- I could taste the orange, but I couldn’t see it. I think they just infused the flavour from the rind, but not the actual rind itself.
- It could use a stronger Earl Gray flavour because it was more chocolate orange to me. I don’t think another percentage of cocoa would have helped, but I think the orange was overpowering.
- The finish is a bit thick and lingers a slight bitter after taste. I think the orange even enhances the bitterness of the dark chocolate. I couldn’t taste the Earl Gray, but this would have given it that bitter bite as well.
Noisette – 6/6
- A combination of caramelized hazelnuts, crispy cocoa bean nibs and caramel ganache. Milk 40% cocoa
- Longer shelf-life – 6 weeks
- This one will appeal to anyone. The flavour is not acquired and it’s absolutely delicious. It has the most memorable texture of the 6, but you have to let it melt in your mouth to truly enjoy the textures.
- It was the only milk chocolate one, so it was also the sweetest. It’s not too sweet though, because it’s also nutty.
- It’s sweet and creamy and not as thick as the chocolate ganache filling. It’s creamier and I found the caramel ganache to be more like a caramel truffle. There were little crumbs of soft praline hazelnuts beautifully incorporated into the caramel ganache.
- It was nutty and delicate, and you could taste the slight crunchiness of caramelized hazelnut praline (soft crunch) with the crispiness of finely grounded cocoa bean nibs. The two have different type of crunchiness, textures and flavours, both are so distinct yet used so delicately combines in the Noisette.
- It melts in your mouth like liquid caramel.
Salted Caramel Pecan Square – 5/6
- Dark chocolate ganache with toasted pecans, chewy caramel, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with a touch of Fleur de Sel from Brittany.
- Longer shelf-life – 6 weeks
- I couldn’t taste the chewy caramel, but I could see a small layer of it sitting underneath the Pecan. It was overpowered by the layer of dark chocolate ganache. I really didn’t know there was caramel in it. The flavour is a bit smoky and the flavour is quite bold.
- I loved the Fleur de Sel! The salt really brought out the chocolate flavour and he had the perfect amount on there. The saltiness is the first flavour I’m hit with and then it’s the sweetest of the chocolate.
- The Pecan was just toasted, but not caramelized or salted. The chocolate and pecan had a soft texture except for the fleur de sel. I might have liked the pecan better in crumbs. I didn’t know whether to chew it or let it melt. If I let it melt I ended up chewing the Pecan alone and I wanted the Pecan to be part of the experience. Yet if I chewed it then the salt wouldn’t have melted as nicely with the chocolate. You had to let the salt slowly melt to enjoy this chocolate.
Cassis – 3/6
- Silky dark chocolate ganache paired with a thin layer of cassis, topped with a hand painted chocolate plaquette. 75% cocoa
- Longer shelf-life – 6 weeks
- This is one of his real fruit-flavoured chocolates. I’m usually not a fan of fruit flavoured chocolates, but he does them quite well here so I enjoyed them.
- I highly recommend to eat these fruit jellied ones at room temperature, or even slightly warmer than room temperature. If you don’t the jellied fruit really stand out and doesn’t melt into the chocolate. I tried it both way and I enjoyed it much more after warming it up next to the computer.
- It’s quite fruity, and slightly tart. It almost tastes like dark red cherries, but it’s actually sweet black currants. Cassis is sweet black currant liquor. I couldn’t taste any liquor though, but they might use a little in the reduction of the fruit jelly. This one didn’t really impress me and the flavour isn’t memorable.
- The fruit was a jam like layer. If it’s not at room temperature or slightly warmer it will just separate from the chocolate in your mouth. I didn’t like that. It has a very short finish and doesn’t linger long which is weird because it’s 75% cocoa.
Lime-Cachaca – 3.5/6
- Silky dark chocolate ganache paired with a thin layer of fresh lime and a hint of Cachaca from Brazil, topped with a hand painted chocolate plaquette. 75% cocoa
- The fruit jelly is on the bottom layer and there’s not much, but it sure packs in the flavour and a punch. I’m really surprised how much it stood out against the dark chocolate. I tasted it first.
- This one is definitely tart and the jelly is also sweet, so if you like tart and sweet combination then you’ll like this.
- It’s carries a very strong lime flavour and you can tell they use the zest. It’s a very sharp and distinct lime flavour. It almost reminds me of a lime margarita.
- Cachaca is Brazilian liquor made from sugarcane, and it’s in this chocolate but I couldn’t taste any alcohol flavour which is good. I think it just added another level of sweetness which could be why it reminded me of a margarita.
- It’s very different and it’s almost salty, but it’s not a bad salty. Just before it disappears in your mouth you really get that salty taste and your saliva glands start going. I think it’s from the lime and the tartness it brings.
- I definitely appreciate the unique quality this has, I haven’t had anything like this before…it grew on me because I liked the last bite better than the first.
- The fruit jelly is almost like jello but with more gelatin. The chocolate melts faster than the jelly though so again eat it slightly warmer than room temperature.
Chocolate of the Moment – 6/6
- A seasonal creation from our chocolate kitchen.
- I’m not sure what this was exactly, but it almost like a milk chocolate truffle or ganache that was dipped in dark chocolate and in the middle was a roasted espresso bean.
- I loved this one! The inside was a creamy soft (maybe 40% cocoa) nougat with a roasted espresso bean in the middle. It was so fresh and delicate it was almost in flaky layers when you bit into it. Each layer of the bean was crispy it was so intense in flavour. The espresso really brought out the taste of the chocolate.
- It was nutty, slightly bitter like burnt bread from the espresso, aromatic, and still sweet like chocolate is.
- The finish is good and it’s lingers like you had a freshly roasted dark ground coffee.