I was invited to a media event hosted by the lovely writer behind “Pork Ninjas”, food blogger and Instagram food personality. She had arranged a meet and greet between a few local bloggers and food photographers with the owners of “Wild Sweets”: Dominique and Cindy, highly acclaimed and well awarded chocolatiers.
“Wild Sweets” are already well known for their artisan chocolate bars, and they just expanded to desserts in a jars last year. And today, this year, they are bringing their own line of cakes to the dessert and entertaining market. We would soon get to try this entire collection, all within their newly expanded store and back of house operations. This is where their chocolates go from bean to bar, and where we would be learning about that very process.
As a disclaimer, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue. No one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.
Their commercial store was what you walked in to. Shelves lined the room, well stocked with their offerings and chocolates on every single one. Chocolate popcorn, chocolate marshmallows; and chocolate, candy, and fruit spreads. Chocolate truffles, chocolate coating various nuts. Boxes of chocolates themed and packaged in gift boxes.
They also offered and highlighted their cookbooks beside their refrigerator full of cakes in jars. Chocolate mousses, fruit tarts, and ice cream verrine. Each with three different flavours to pick through. Shame I wasn’t planning on heading home after, and they wouldn’t keep riding around in my car.
We followed the stencils of coffee beans that line the walk ways and creeped up the walls, to their backroom. There we meant the owners and were given a tour of the place. They wanted a room that would allow them to entertain and welcome guests like us in. For those they entertained to be able to taste the chocolate and appreciate it in its entirety.
This new space allowed them to do just that, while showcasing their work. Additional empty walls allowed them to collage their achievements and put it on display. There was an impressive amount of awards and glowing articles that they had accumulated. It had me feeling bad that I didn’t know who they were before this point.
Below their wall of fame were large white bins of coco beans. They were separated by origin with a place card and some information on its flavour notes. Beans from Peru, Mexico, and Venezuela. In a dish were the actual beans that you are encourage to smell and touch. There was a strong and diverse scent coming each, and you could tell the difference between them, if not where each one originated from.
Around the corner was their bean grinding operation. This is exactly where the bean to bar process came full circle. However we would not be able to see this process in action. But at least we could read about and imagine it with their numbered diagram. Sorting, roasting, winnowing, shearing, conching, aging, tempering, wounding, packaging, researching, testing. There were 11 steps in the process, 7 more than I believed there to be.
They had set up two tables and presented all the competed and photogenic cakes we would be tasting on it. I am not going to lie, I wish they did an introduction and then brought the cakes out after. As a foodie, you immediately swarm and want to take the best photo of each one, and often that is multiple clicks of your camera, from multiple angles. He encouraged us to take photos as he spoke, and it distracted me from taking the most out of our chocolate tour, especially given our host’s notoriety. But we were later able to taste the quality and care ourselves within each piece of cake and torte we had.
Admittedly I am not a fan of chocolate, so considering that my preference in desserts is without it, I may not be the best judge for this event. And even though we tasted each one of their cakes I don’t have a good recall of them all. One after another, and a few bites of each while standing, you truly don’t get to appreciate each cake in its entire beauty. That is why I will only offer flavours and photos, but won’t be able to go into as much detail as I normally do. Though I wish the toppings and the way the cake was decorated was more related to their ingredients. It would make ordering and the writing of this easier.
Our sampling began with the warm up of some chocolate flavoured tea. This would soon be a new feature and a new way to enjoy their chocolates. They used coco nibs and the husks for the brewing of the tea. And the one we had was furthered flavoured with lemon grass and lemon zest.
We started into the cakes with the “Cherry dark chocolate creme burlee gateau”. I found its cross section especially striking with its glittery pink layer, but you didn’t get much cherry from it. Instead it was very chocolatey with a bitter after note, and I personally wanted it sweeter.
The “Apricot with milk chocolate creme burlee gateau” was a chewy cake with a creamy topping and a crispy base. You got some caramel from the shell, but not much of the apricot.
The “Raspberry dark chocolate creme brûlée sabayon” had lots going on. It had a few crispy and creamy layers that got tart towards the bottom. But it was the top white, jelly-like layer that was my favourite for its texture.
The “Passion fruit milk chocolate creme burlee sabayon” was so tart that it over powered, even with all the varying layers. Otherwise it was similar to the above texturally.
“Apricot milk chocolate creme burlee Chantilly”. I liked the cake portion, but could have done with less cream. The flavour of the fruit was mild.
“Cherry dark chocolate creme burlee Chantilly”. Similar story as its sister cake above, but denser and less sweet with the dark chocolate used.
The “Venezuela Ocumare Intensely chocolate terrine” was the most stunning, and the most chocolatey.
Chocolate tarte macaron banana macadamia.
Chocolate tarte macaron chestnut pear.
Dark chocolate and passion cream cake.
Dark chocolate and raspberry cream cake.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
It is a little out of the way, but for chocolate lovers looking for something a little special, they are a great destination to trek to. I myself would like to try their desserts in jar, especially the ones featuring ice cream. Don’t deny your cravings.