Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New Toronto-based subscription service is serving up sweet delights


Cacao Avenue is Toronto's newest monthly chocolate subscription and gift box service. Once subscribed, you receive a five-piece package of artisanal chocolate from the Toronto area. They send you or your gifted friend, business associate or loved one, a lovely package of fine chocolates that fit into a variety of chocolate taste categories.


The overall presentation is gorgeous. Beautiful, actually. Based on my experience with the subscription box I received last month, I think it is a really lovely gift to send to anyone, with a nice array of products.

Cacao Avenue's mission is to help people "reimagine" the way they eat and purchase artisan chocolate. "With every box, we want to share the finest chocolate creations made by chocolatiers who push the boundaries of their craft." They are creating monthly chocolate collections intended to delight and surprise chocolate lovers.

The monthly subscription costs $48 per box which is reduced to $45 and $43 if you pre-pay for three- or six-month subscription packages.

So what was inside? Here is the overview of my box sent at the end of last month:

Soul Chocolate
I've written about Soul Chocolate on this blog before, as one of Canada's newest chocolate makers. They make single origin chocolate in three flavours (currently), Venezuela, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. In the Cacao Avenue box was a favourite of mine: the Madagascar bar. It is dark roasted and lightly fruity in flavour, with a citrus and berry taste that is common to cocoa beans from Madagascar.  Learn more on the Cacao Avenue website at: https://www.cacaoavenue.ca/pages/featuring.


CHOCOLATES x Brandon Olsen
Brandon Olsen uses bright colours and artistic flair to create truffles that truly surprise even the seasoned chocolate lover.  I was surprised by just how bright and colourful they were, even though the included card gave a hint of the brilliant colours to be found inside. These were the chocolate truffles featured:

Raspberry, Rose & Fennel - very delicious, a little bit sweet and some savoury with the rose and fennel.

Yuzu, Sake - the texturing on this chocolate is quite interesting - it is almost fury and very fun to look at. The flavours are subtle and meets a pure chocolate truffle standard.

Sherry, Milk Chocolate - the Sherry was also subtle, but a hint of alcohol still lingered in this delicious milk chocolate truffle.


Mary's Brigadeiro
Brigadeiros are Brazilian-style truffles, and I was quite impressed with the clean edges and attractiveness of these little balls of sweetness. The first one that I tasted was a dark chocolate - the 'Noir' - and it was like a big ball of fudge and sweet in an icing sugar way. The outer crispy layer of tiny rock-like candy was nice, texturally.  The other chocolate also had the appearance of a dark chocolate, and was rolled in longer chocolate candies.  But upon first taste, there was a milky creaminess that indicated milk chocolate (Mary's used 33% Belgium milk chocolate for this).  Again, it was very fudge-like.  When I was a child, I LOVED fudge, especially this kind of sweet fudge with crispy outer edges. And I think many adults would love this sweet and fudgy style of 'truffle' now (I am into less sweet things these days, but I certainly didn't mind eating these!). 

The caramel and vanilla bean were equally delicious. Read more about Mary's at: https://www.cacaoavenue.ca/pages/previous-features.


ChocoSol
A stone-ground bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Toronto, this chocolate is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free, and is slightly gritty in texture, highlighting just the flavour of the cacao bean in its more natural form. The ChocoSol bar in my Cacao Avenue package featured vanilla and sea salt combined with 65% cacao, making for a sweet and delectable combination. The balance of vanilla was perfect, not too much flavour, but also not too little. A very good example of stone-ground chocolate. You can learn more about this chocolate maker on Cacao Avenue's website at: https://www.cacaoavenue.ca/pages/previous-features.

The Golden Apple Confectionary Inc.
The Crème Brûlée white chocolate bar featured by Cacao Avenue was similar to the Soma roasted bunny that I've mentioned on this blog before. The top layer of the white chocolate is toasted by torch and has the wonderful taste of roasted marshmallows, or like that top caramelized sugar layer on Crème Brulee. It is a wonderful white chocolate experience that everyone should taste! Learn more about Stephanie Cart, the chocolatier on Cacao Avenue's website: https://www.cacaoavenue.ca/pages/featuring.

Cocoa Beans: Where it all begins
Since the cocoa bean is the main component of fine chocolate, Cacao Avenue has included a small packet of cocoa beans, so you can smell, taste and experience them, and appreciate all the steps that turn those bitter beans into wonderful chocolate.

To learn more about Cacao Avenue, or sign up for a monthly subscription, visit the website at: www.cacaoavenue.ca.

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