I’m always a little nervous when someone says they have some chocolate for me because my expectations aren’t always in line with other people’s. But when I was given a little bag on my birthday that someone picked up at our local farmers market, I was pleasantly surprised. They were made by Choco Cocagne which is, not surprisingly, located in Cocagne in Eastern New Brunswick and just a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to meet the talented chocolatier behind them, Ginette Ahier. I also left with another bag of her creations.
The most immediately impressive thing about Choco Cocagne’s chocolates is how pretty they are. Ahier has gone with a uniform square shape, each decorated with a colourful transfer making them very reminiscent of Montreal’s Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois’ Les Classiques in both size and shape. She also has a wealth of different varieties too – more than twenty are listed on the little leaflet that accompanied the bag of six I tasted. They were all dark chocolate – not sure what percentage but I’m guessing it was around 60% – but the real star of the each and every one was the centres. Here’s a rundown of what I had:
Kashmir – a subtle Chai tea centre with lots of spices lurking in the background. Nothing really takes the lead, so it needs the robustness of the chocolate to hold it all together. The filling was a little on the grainy side, probably because of the spices but smoother would have been better.
Le Feulleté – a lovely rich hazelnut praline, with just the right amount of crunch thrown in for good measure. There’s absolutely no mistaking which nut this is made with. Apparently this is supposed to emulate a filled crêpe, but all I got was deliciousness.
Le Passionné – The token fruity chocolate in the bag. This one is all about the passion fruit centre which is handled without much subtlety, but then again, passion fruit doesn’t lend itself to subtlety. Not my favourite because it was a bit one dimensional.
Le Sucré-Salé – ah, the ubiquitous salted caramel. This is a pretty good one – not too sweet but I’d like just a touch more salt. I really liked the fact that the caramel wasn’t too runny so it was possible to eat it in a couple of unmessy bites.
Le Digestif – I’ll happily eat any minty chocolate so this was always going to be a winning combination in my eyes. This is one of those minty truffles that has the taste of fresh mint, and it is quite lovely. Not too strong – just the right amount of mint. Yum.
Tonka – Some rich chocolate ganache which is flavoured with the still fashionable Tonka bean. The fruitiness of the chocolate centre is slowly replaced by the vanilla notes that come from the Tonka as it all melts away. Nicely balanced, with little bits of the beans to chew on.
So at last I can say that New Brunswick has a very talented chocolatier making chocolates which are well worth seeking out. I’m looking forward to working my way through the others I haven’t had yet and also picking up some more of those wonderful Le Feulletés.