To cap off an excellent lunch at Mashawee Lebanese Grill Craig and I waddled next door to award-winning Swiss chocolatier Chez Christophe holding our distended bellies and promising each other only a wafer-thin sliver of dessert that hopefully wouldn’t make us explode a la Monty Python’s gluttonous Mr. Creosote.
We were greeted inside by two lovely ladies who assisted us in biting off more than we could chew in the dessert department. Some of the faves Craig raves about (this was a repeat visit for him) were sold out as we had arrived late in the day. Word is that the regulars come before two PM and snatch up the high-demand goodies so it pays to be an early bird at Chez Christophe.
Christophe’s famed Swiss-style chocolates were abundant, however, and with flavours like Pineapple Avocado and Bergamot Pear, these small bites would have been a wise choice for our current state of bursting at the seams. Thankfully no one has ever accused me and Craig of being wise, so…
…Sorry to be a tease with the chocolate porn, but rest assured we have some decadent delights lined up for your viewing pleasure. While you’re whetting your appetite and drooling all over yourself in anticipation be sure to take a peep at the jams, meringues, granola, chocolate bars and so much more random goodness on the shopping shelves from the creative mind of Christophe and his award-winning team.
I cannot resist anything yuzu-related so I scored big with this Tart au Citron ($6.95). I knew I’d made a wise choice when one of the many friendly local regulars that make Chez Christophe such a pleasant gem of a place approached our table to tell us this was his and his wife’s absolute favourite amongst faves, an “11 out of 10” in his books. Truer words have not been spoken, despite the iffy math. Apparently the rounded cheesecake version they seldom make is even better (a 12 out of 10?)
The lemon curd was expectedly tart yet sweet, and the crumbly cookie-like pastry beneath with lemon yuzu ganache sandwiched between was even sweeter. The creamy/crunchy texture combo had me spellbound but the last bite with the “wafer-thin” chocolate put me over the edge. I’m pretty sure I was moaning and groaning loud enough at this point for the table next to us to shoot some sidelong glances but I smacked my lips, satiated, and calmed my raging palate with a sip of…
Passionate Pear Green Tea ($2.65). Which of course caused some more involuntary “mmm”s and “ahhh”s to escape my lips, but this was the cozy cuddle aftermath: calm, warm, and subtly sweet. Tealeaves started out right here in Vancouver and have since been adopted worldwide by Michelin chefs and 5-star hotels alike. Their all-natural teas are clearly high quality and a perfect match for Christophe’s luxury confections and concoctions.
I had my eyes on this guy as well but my stomach stopped me, however Craig was brave enough to tackle this quite hefty Fresh Fruit Financier ($6.95). It comes in various seasonal styles, today’s being a black and blue berry buffet. Speaking of Buffetts, I had just assumed a financier was named as such due to the rich nature of the cake, but get this: the 17th-century nuns who created this delicacy shaped it using rectangular molds, and when it became more widely admired in the 19th century it was seen to resemble a bar of gold and “financier” stuck. The more you know…
Anyways it was good. I pecked at the berries like a hungry crow revealing the maple mascarpone Chantilly cream beneath (yup Chez Christophe is fancier than Iggy Azalea’s gold-plated trigger) and contemplating whether the mad genius of Christophe had found a way to pump the blackberries full of steroids.
Last (and sadly also least) I took home a Crème Salee ($4.25) to tempt my date with that evening. Since we didn’t get to it til rather late the brioche was perhaps a tad stale, but we both enjoyed the caramelized cream center. Vaguely reminiscent of something you might find in a Filipino bakery, it was actually a fitting dessert since we had eaten at Grandt Kitchen that evening. A dish best served fresh though methinks.
That concludes my virgin experience at Chez Christophe, but Craig has insisted I absolutely MUST try Head Pastry Chef Sunny Park’s Cube Croissant creation so we will most definitely be returning to add another notch on our belts and inch on our waistlines. Oh and be sure to check the garden they share with Mashawee, I’ve already posted a photo of it previously so check out our Mashawee restaurant review, it’s the perfect setting to grab a tea and get your sip on!
CHEZ CHRISTOPHE UPDATE:
Kreezus and I returned later in the summer to pick up some gifts along with a few morsels for ourselves and got to sample an array of Chez Christophe’s Swiss chocolates.
Everything was absolutely divine and the quality of the chocolate itself was top-notch; rich, dark, mysterious. Our giftees were overjoyed and we got to peck at some of their goodies, like the Blueberry Dragée which had freeze-dried blueberries textured with a blue-hued coating, the more traditional Almond version with an Earl Grey shell that didn’t much taste like Earl Grey to us but was still incredible, and tantalizing chocolate varieties such as the kalamansi framboise and Kreezus’ favourite, cafe au lait.
Chez Christophe had also added some seating overlooking the garden out back and we relished the romantic setting to indulge in Christophe’s confections. Let us know which chocolates are your favourites in the comments section so we know what to try next round!