UPDATED, Sept 9th, 2015
CHOCOLATAS OWNER WIM TAS NAMED TOP ARTISANAL CHOCOLATIER
Master Chocolatier Wim Tas, with his wife and business partner Veve, are positively beaming GOLD. Named Top Artisanal Chocolatier and Most Gifted Chocolatierat the recent International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco, Wim joins a prestigious group of Master Chocolatiers named by one of the most recognized chocolate award salons in the world.
Always humble, Wim comments on this honour, “ChocolaTas has been a dream come true for our family, and we are very much a team. I am so happy that our staff are recognized for the dedication, hard work and love they put into everything we do here, from our individual bonbons to our customized products – this is very sweet!”
ChocolaTas took home over 14 awards, with THREE GOLD awards; Top Artisanal Chocolatier and Best Bridal Gift Set for their ChocolaTas 4 Piece Wedding Tin with 2 monogrammed bonbons and one GOLD for their newly designed Elegance Box of Salted Caramel. And the awards don’t stop there; the Green Tea bonbon also garnered 4 different awards in the Best White Chocolate Award category. So let the bells ring; ChocolaTas has defined themselves as THEgo-to gift for brides, receptions, party “flavours” and so much more.
I got a big kick out of meeting Wim and Veve Tas the other day. They’re the fun couple behind Abbotsford’s ChocolaTas. And they held an informal wine and chocolate pairing the other night at their store in GranvilleIsland Market. (Oh, and there was Whisky too … I’ll get to that!)
Wim and Veve moved to Canada from Belgium in 2002. They wound up in Abbotsford (not necessarily a bad thing) because of the high cost of real estate.
Over the last 12 years they’ve been making their chocolates—which sport some truly unique flavours—with increasing success. Initially they ran the business out of their home, often making chocolates (and more) for other companies. These days they work out of a 5,000 sq. ft. dedicated facility (with store) in Abbotsford, as well as a full-on shop in Granville Island Public Market. Now they’re very much focusing on their own brand of hand-made chocolates.
Interestingly enough, it was ChocolaTas who made the chocolate bar which won “Best Chocolate Bar in the World” for Vancouver’s Mink Chocolate Café. I love Mink. It’s a great stop for good coffee after tastings at next door Terminal City Club. Plus, they always give you a complimentary chocolate with your coffee. But I never knew the connection until now.
ChocolaTas’ new Elegance line focuses very much on local ingredients, such as lavender and mint from their own garden, organic hazelnuts from Agassiz, raspberries and cranberries from the Lower Mainland, as well as peaches and pears from the Okanagan.
Many of these flavours show up as infusions paired with ChocolaTas superb, hallmark Belgian chocolate. Also, the decoration on every morsel as well as the packaging is as extraordinary as the flavours within.
A couple of ChocolaTas pairings caught my attention…
I’m wary of many (no, make that ‘most’) wine and chocolate match-ups, especially with reds, where the tannin often fights with the chocolate. The golden rule of sweets and wine pairing applies: that the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert. However, Veve marries up a yoghurt ganache and cranberry combination perfectly with Domaine des Escaravailles Rasteau Vin Doux 2009 (Liberty Wines). This unusual, fortified Rhone wine is a sweet Grenache (with Syrah and Carignan)—and it’s a slam dunk: perfect, says Veve, as an after dinner treat—or even in lieu of dessert. The wine’s soft tannins and plummy notes pick up very nicely on the cranberry. Plus there’s a silky smoothness that plays well with the sexy texture of the ganache.
And the Whisky …
The other match up that really caught my fancy is another irresistible combo, of Macallan 12 Year Old Single Malt, with an infusion of fresh orange ganache. It’s smooth and mellow (as is the Macallan) and quite remarkable. Be warned: highly addictive!
I’d be happy to find any—or all—of these in my stocking!
Some of those unique ChocolaTas flavours range from cinnamon and apple or Pina Colada to more unusual combos. They include basil tomato, pepper and mango, and pepper and mango.
Oh, and if you’re reading this before December 18th, you might just want to put in an order for some Royal Belgian fresh cream bonbons … only available in limited quantities until they’re all gone, which will be well before Christmas. Just sayin’.
Find the chocolates at ChocolaTas (Granville Island Market, (604-488-1226 or Abbotsford, 604-504-5957), the Macallan 12 Year Old single malt at your favourite purveyor, and the Vin Doux at Liberty Wines. Or, online, at www.chocolatas.com