My recent trip to Montreal for a conference was also a good excuse for a guided tour of the city’s best chocolate shops, and one of the first stops of the day was to Suite 88 Chocolatier. The shop is just lovely, almost like a jewellers with its glass cabinets holding samples of their gorgeous chocolates. It is almost like they know that by putting everything out of reach makes it even more desirable, and it was hard to settle on just one thing to buy – I was trying to pace myself because it was the start of the say – but I decided on a set of their artisan truffles.
The truffles fall into the “small, but perfectly formed” category, plus the eight varieties really appealed to me for their flavours. And it turned out to be a good choice. Here’s the breakdown.
Praline – the texture of the praline itself is more crumbly than I’m used to, but not in a bad way. It still has a lovely smoothness and strong nutty flavour, plus the little bits of caramelized hazelnuts and sugar on the outside gives it all a nice crunch.
Grand Marnier – it’s hard to believe that such a healthy kick of Grand Marnier could be hidden within such a tiny little chocolate. And even more impressive is the way that it slowly creeps up on you, letting the sweetness of the chocolate take the initial spotlight. Subtle and lovely.
Miel – or honey, for the Anglophones out there. The milk chocolate and honey together gets pretty close to being just a little too sweet, especially with the way that the honey sticks around on the palate for far too long afterwards. Not my favourite.
Thé Vert – a surprisingly refreshing green tea truffle that was a lovely green colour all the way through. Exactly what the name says and not much more.
Caramel – in theory, the dark chocolate and caramel should be a match made in heaven but the chocolate completely dominates, leaving the caramel to lurk in the background. Plus there is none of the now expected salt to provide a contrast to the caramel’s sweetness, making this the other disappointment.
Crêpes Pralinées – it turns out that the crêpes are on the outside, or at least little crispy bits of them, with more of their wonderful praline inside. I must admit that I liked the straight-forward Praline better though.
Chili Cayenne – I was warned by the person in the shop that this was a little on the hot side and she wasn’t joking. This is the hottest chilli chocolate I’ve ever had, yet it wasn’t unpleasant. It starts off with a slow building chilli and by the time the cayenne pepper races in, your entire mouth is dancing. Not for the faint-hearted.
Menthe – it was suggested that this follows the Chili Cayenne because it would help to cool things off. But it deserves more of a mention than that, because the almost chewy dark mint ganache melts away with no effort at all. Very refreshing.
If everything else they have lives up to these standards, I will have to leave them until later in the next tour because there’s a good chance I would spend the entire day there.