Chocolate is chocolate, right? Not exactly.
Local chocolatiers admirably produce bite size pieces of heaven by adding their own personal flair, be it blue cheese chocolates at Koko Monk, or chai truffles at Chocolate Arts. However, it’s hard to compare these creative chocolates to a purist‘s European chocolates. While Swiss chocolate is highly esteemed and favoured by many, it’s Belgian chocolate and its unique decadence that I find irresistible.
Leonidas, a Belgian chocolate shop in Vancouver, celebrated its 2nd anniversary last week with a soiree to show appreciation for their loyal customers, to entice local foodies to explore their goods, and, of course, to wear silly birthday hats and play with spartan swords.
I’m a chocolate lover (like most women) so it’s to no surprise that I visited the shop when it first opened, to sample a Belgian liege waffle drizzled with chocolate whilst sipping on a dark chocolate mocha. (How has it already been two years?) I admitted then, and I’ll admit now, that it wasn’t as delicious as the one that I had in the heart of Bruges smothered in fresh cherries and served with a side dish rim-full of pure Belgian chocolate. Then again, it’s hardly comparable as I did pay nine euros for that waffle, which is at least twice what it costs at Leonidas. Plus, the chocolate doesn’t have to travel to another continent (they have theirs shipped over to Vancouver).
All the comparisons aside, they’re on the right track: their chocolate is made with 100% pure cocoa butter, their liege waffles are sweet and chewy, and their customer service is undeniably lovely.
Since they serve other European treats that didn’t originate in Belgium, such as crepes, macarons and gelato, they’re more of a European sweet shack that carries the “famous” Leonidas chocolates.
Tip: Skip the gelato, you can find better elsewhere in town; I recommend Gelateria Dolce Amore on Commercial Drive. Eat these though: Manon Café Fondant, Louise White, Liege Waffle with Chocolate. Have any favourites? Leave me a comment, I’d love to try it!
THEN AND NOW
Leonidas was ultimately born in 1910 when the US confectioner Leonidas Kestekides brought his chocolate making prowess to Europe. The success story unfolded as it did, with the help of some key family members and the high demand of quality chocolate across the continent, particularly in Belgium.
“Leonidas is the world’s best known Belgian chocolate maker, with over 1,400 sales outlets in over 40 countries on all 5 continents, including almost 400 in Belgium and over 350 in France.”