The cleverly-named ChocolaTas is the company belonging to Wim Tas. He learned his craft in Belgium before emigrating to Canada back in 2002, setting up his workshop in Abbotsford, BC although these days they also have a store in Vancouver.
The selection they sent is one of those boxes that almost looks too good to eat. Almost. The chocolates are incredibly pretty and it is clear that these handmade chocolate are put together with a great deal of care and love. They use fresh, natural ingredients – nothing artificial at all – and the box comes with a recommendation to eat it within 7 days. Not an issue.
The chocolates are rather small, not quite making it to the point of being two bites although it makes for a nice healthy mouthful. And despite their compact size, there is a lot packed into these little squares so it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just an observation.
The top five from the selection I was sent were:
Ceylon – I love dark chocolate and cinnamon and this really doesn’t disappoint. The cinnamon builds up slowly into a lovely, gorgeous, spicy blend. I could seriously eat a whole lot of these.
Romana – the pink heart is made of lovely sweet raspberry chocolate, hiding the inevitable dark ganache within. A refreshing change from the typical raspberry truffle by putting the fruit flavour on the outside and then letting it slowly fade into the darkness.
Irish Coffee – strong coffee, then the warmth of the alcohol before the unexpected crunch of a coffee bean hidden in the middle, giving a final burst of flavour that lingers for a while. Really, really good.
Pepe Rosa – considering there it a trio of peppers (pink, black and Szechuan) in the dark chocolate centre, it is surprising that the fieriness doesn’t appear until the very end. Nice to see pepper handled with kid gloves for a change.
Passion – The passion fruit works incredibly well with the dark chocolate and makes for a sharp, refreshing burst of flavour. Very yummy.
And the rest…
Mint – I am a big fan of mint chocolates, but this one was a bit more unusual because the mint flavour comes from fresh leaves. It has a wonderfully fragrant aspect that is almost like a cup of peppermint tea. It sits very well with the smooth ganache.
Java – just what you’d expect. The robust taste of strong coffee sits very well with the dark ganache. Remarkably well-balanced.
Earl Grey – one of their four tea-infused truffles. The delicate Earl Grey battles with the stronger dark chocolate and doesn’t quite come out on top though.
Zenzero – some nice ginger here, but mixed rather surprisingly with milk chocolate. It works better than I suspected it would with the ginger staying restrained. The only thing missing are a few little pieces of sweet ginger to chew on at the end.
Lavender – I didn’t really get a whole lot of lavender here at all. A bit disappointing.
Berry Berry – a subtle take on a fruit truffle that is a little too subtle for its own good. It really doesn’t live up to its double-barrelled name.
Mont-Blanc – a very cute chocolate thanks to the ladybug sitting on top of it, but the hazelnut praline doesn’t stand much of a chance next to the sweetness of the white chocolate.
Valentino – the hazelnut praline is much more happy with a milky chocolate shell that compliments rather than overwhelms like the white chocolate one.
Amandine – a nice looking chocolate with its tiger stripes and almonds. Tastes good, but a little one-dimensional, especially compared to the hazelnut pralines.
4-spices – lots going on here, with a milky hazelnut praline that has notes of cinnamon, pepper, ginger and nutmeg lurking underneath. Almost a little too much, or else it needs to be consumed in much larger quantities in order to really get it. I’d go for the latter.
All in all, a very impressive collection although some of the flavours were just a bit too subtle for me because it appears that sometimes I’d rather be slapped across the face with flavour rather than gently hugged. But when everything comes together, as it does most of the time, the results are just quite wonderful. There’s nothing too startling or new here, but the good ones are so well executed that I’ll probably be crossing paths again with ChocolaTas sooner rather than later.