Restaurant: Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie – Pastries
Last visited: July 28, 2010
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
- Staff of 22 all chocolatiers/pastry chefs
- Smells like chocolate
- Freshly baked gourmet pastries
- Cappuccino bar
- Specializes in chocolate, cakes, pastries
- Prepared in small batches
- No preservatives/artificial flavours/organic
- Local produce when possible, imported high quality ingredients as well
- Whole cakes available
- Coporate gifts/Gifts/Take-home goods available
- Eat in/Take-out
- Tues-Sat. 8am-5:30pm
- Closed Sunday and Monday
**Recommendations: Almond Croissant, Cherry Turnover, Pear tart, Double chocolate chip cookie, Chocolates
Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie is a famous Vancouver institution and must try in Vancouver, BC. It’s a small bakery with 2 locations offering the most gourmet and delectable baked goods and hand crafted chocolate. The man behind it all is owner, Thomas Haas, who is the pastry chef and chocolatier master. Along with his wife and team of 22 highly skilled chocolatiers his store has gained recognition as one of Vancouver’s best bakeries. Locals and tourists come to visit his shop and enjoy his artistic chocolate creations and creative desserts and pastries.
The small cafe offers a small selection of baked goods and desserts and it’s only open until 5:30pm. Every item he offers is prepared with care and attention to detail and you can taste the passion that goes into everything. From the quality of ingredients to the presentation, all the recipes and execution are well thought out to the point of perfection. Other bakeries that reach, or even exceed this level of sophistication for me are Bakery Nouveau in Seattle and The Loaf in Malaysia. Local bakeries in Vancouver, like Kreation Artisan and Ganache Patisserie are similar to the style of Thomas Haas, but overall I find the Thomas Haas desserts most memorable.
Besides desserts and chocolates, Thomas Haas offers a small selection of healthy gourmet sandwiches as well as some danishes and other baked goods. Everything is made fresh daily and if you want to try one of his infamous almond croissants you have to get to the bakery before 2pm as it is often sold out. It’s extremely difficult making a decision because everything looks divine. Chocolates are also a must try signature item – see my post for them here. Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie is really a beloved bakery in Vancouver and a taste of heaven. It’s the perfect answer to satisfy any chocoholic or dessert connoisseur.
On the table:
- This was the substitution for the almond croissant since they were sold out. It was a great substitution though!
- It was a sour cherry turnover that was wrapped around a croissant like pastry.
- The turnover was layers of very buttery, flaky and crunchy pastry with a beautifully caramelized exterior and it was matched with a wonderfully sour cherry filling. There was a nice crunch when you bite down and then it became all soft and chewy.
- The filling was made with whole sour cherries and the tartness was balanced with a little added sweetness and the sweetness of the pastry itself. I wish he used Amerena cherries instead though, which is an Italian sour cherry that is even more intense in flavour.
- Shortbread crust, almond cream, cassis gelee, poached pear, hint of cinnamon$5.50
- I love pear and I love almonds, so this was a natural choice for me.
- This is a very gourmet version of a French style tart. I had a simplified, yet still traditional, version of it at Salade des Fruits although this one was much better.
- French tarts are in between a cake and a tart. This one was almost cake like with a soft and very moist and buttery shortbread crust.
- The entire centre is pretty much half a poached Bartlett pear on top of almond pastry cream with a very moist cake like pastry that surrounds it.
- In between the tart and the pear was a thin layer of cassis gelee, which is a French jelly made from black currents. The cassis gelee was almost like a tart jam and it balanced out the sweetness of the pear. The aromatic and sweet almond pastry cream was still apparent apparent and it was followed by the subtle hint of cinnamon spice to tie things altogether.
Pistachio Sour Cherry Tart – 4.5/6
- Shortbread crust, pistachio cream, Cognac sour cherries, light Kirsch chantilly cream $5.50
- This was a richer dessert, but still not too much for one person. It’s not too sweet, but there’s a strong liquor taste to it and it’s very fruity and aromatic.
- The liquor tastes comes from the Kirsch (a clean fruit Brandy made from cherries) chantilly cream, it was very thick and rich whipped cream infused with Kirsch and a slight hint of vanilla. It was sweetened, but the liquor taste was still evident.
- The chantilly cream was almost like Mascarpone cheese and it was very fluffy. It added the perfect creaminess to the plump and tart cherry filling and the nutty crunch of pistachios was the perfect compliment for texture and flavour. The Cognac in the cherries was pretty much cooked out but it did intensify the flavour and added some boldness. Nothing was overpowering and it had a wonderfully soft and buttery shortbread crust to hold it altogether.
- I loved all the ingredients in this dessert and it’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart with light cream to round it all out. It’s a very aromatic creation with lots of strong and subtle flavours, however the liquor taste is quite obvious with slight bitter notes at the end, so you have to like that taste to enjoy this.
**Double Chocolate Chip Cookie – 6/6
- This could be one of the best double chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. It was delicious!
- It’s not too big, maybe about the size of a small hamburger patty. They’re individually wrapped so they’re great on the go or even as gifts.
- It’s a super soft and very chewy cookie that’s very rich and chocolaty in flavour. The qulaity of chocolate is just so high and it’s not too sweet, but the sweetness comes from the quality of the chocolate. It’s a grown up double chocolate chip cookie with bittersweet chocolate and little bits of Thomas Haas chocolates that just melt in your mouth. This pre-packaged cookie looked simple and unexciting next to everything else, but it was tres excellent!
- Besides a cappuccino bar and a selection of coffees and teas, they also offer some fruit concoctions and exotic drinks.
- Calamansi is a very popular drink in Malaysia and it’s made from the Filipino fruit, Calamansi, which is an acidic orange. It tastes like a very tangy lime juice, but it’s sweetened.
- Of course this will not compare to the Calamansi drinks in Malaysia (see here), but it was still nice and refreshing.
I guess you simply can’t time Thomas Haas correctly, eh? 🙂
I mean, last time, we got there after their closing time (but, at least, he got some goodies for you); this time, you couldn’t be there in time for their almond croissant! But, at least, what you got is good. 🙂
I didn’t know they have a location on West Broadway. Definitely going to visit one of these days. The cookies would make great wedding favors.
Janice – Great idea! Anything of his would make great wedding favours though… I’d be an excited guest! 🙂
Just wanted to let you know that I went there today around 3pm and was still able to get an almond croissant! And you are totally right…they are the best! I’ve had an almond croissant each day for the past 3 days and Thomas Haas’ was THE best of the three.
Popped by Thomas Haas the other day when I went grocery shopping. Got served by the chef himself, in a genuinely hearty manner, despite my looking like a cheap high school girl who could barely afford quarter of the fineness behind the display glass. I ordered a chocolate almond croissant and the double chocolate chip cookie. Apparently the cookies usually come in a package of 6-8 (can’t quite remember how many but the package sells for around $10), and are only individually wrapped if there are leftover. However, when I asked for them, Mr. Haas immediately took one out of the bag that was to be packaged, and it was indeed very chocolatey and fudgey. I like it a lot. The chocolate croissant, on the other hand, was a bit heavy with the almond stuffing. It was practically loaded. Flakiness was largely absent and some layers at the bottom were “fused” together. The chocolate was also a bit muted by the almond stuffing too. The exterior still carried a nice crunch and was generously topped with toasted almonds. As a whole, it was good, not overly sweet, but I prefer the pistachio croissant for the more balanced ratio between stuffing and airiness. I was in for more treat since they had some macaron sampling that day too. Despite being bite-sized, the flavours were pronounced and not artificial, and they practically melted in my mouth. So exquisite and simply heavenly!