Say you were building a new kitchen in your home in the middle of the woods in Chelsea, Quebec. And say you loved making chocolate truffles. Don’t you think you’d make all of your countertops marble, including a huge slab of it for a centre island, ideal for tempering chocolate? That’s exactly what “Mompreneur” Leeorah Pearce did. The Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef and Belgian chocolatier realized she was going to have lots of time on her hands when her son started Grade One. She began whipping up batches of truffles and dropped off samples at some of her favourite food shops around town. She launched her company, Chelsea Truffles, in November 2009 and a month later she had already sold 4,000 truffles.
Flash forward one year and Pearce is preparing to bring more high-quality fresh Belgian chocolate into our lives. From that same kitchen comes a line of hand-made chocolate bars that will rival the ever-expanding selection of artisan chocolate bars made locally or imported from around the world.
The first thing I noticed about Pearce’s products is the beautiful, feminine, feel-good sage and brown packaging: she knows her target customer. Nothing fussy or frou-frou, but a cross between easygoing and elegant. The second thing that stands out when you pull out the chocolate from its cellophane wrapper is the lovely tactile nature of the raised, curvy embossed logo right on the chocolate itself. This isn’t one of those fragile, thin, wafer-like bars. It’s a big, thick, satisfying slab of chocolate — the equivalent of one of those marble kitchen counters, but this one fits in your purse. The squares break off with a satisfying snap — the same feeling you get between your teeth. And that’s all before the first taste!
And let me be the first to tell you — these bars taste incredible. There is something for everyone: from an intense fruity dark 75 percent cocoa bar, to a super creamy, melt-in-the-mouth milk chocolate bar with a rustic smattering of crushed roasted almonds and dried cranberries. There’s even a white chocolate bar with crushed homemade lemon drop candies. I wished it had a more lemony zing, perhaps incorporating some lemon zest — but I still find myself going back for more nibbles long after the sampling is complete.
I am astounded that the price for each bar is only $4.99. What a treat! But don’t take my word for it, head down to La Bottega (64 George St.,) on Sat., Oct. 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the launch. Meet the chocolatier in person and sample Chelsea Truffles’ new chocolate bars for yourself. Visit the Chelsea Truffles website for other retail locations: www.chelseatruffles.com