Recently I was in Montreal, Quebec and had the pleasure of visiting Avanaa Chocolat there. Catherine was a pleasure to visit with and the store was very open and inviting. It had plants in the window and bags of cacao beans sitting about waiting to be made into chocolate bars.
As I tasted the various bites of bean to bar chocolate available in the shop we visited and talked about chocolate. Catherine was originally a geologist who ended up falling in love with cacao. She spent much time traveling in cacao producing countries making connections before she and her partner, a physicist, co-founded Avanna.
I picked up several bars while I was there. One of them being Crunch, a dark chocolate and cacao nibs bar. It’s a 70% bar with roasted cacao nibs sprinkled over the back of the bar. I love bars with cacao nibs because they add a pleasant crunch and a bit more darkness to the bars.
Did you know that Avanaa means coming from the North in Inuktitut?
Another bar I purchased was the limited edition micro-lot 70% Bahia Bar. These beans come from Bahai, Brazil. The back of this packaging mentions how it’s ‘No wonder we love so much to experiment and innovate.’ Their micro-lot batches are small and unique using different cacao beans. I am a bit sad I missed their 90% bar recently.
One of the bars I brought home is a Dark Chocolate and Coconut Milk. The cacao beans and shredded coconut are ground together to create this flavour. It is a 60% bar that is quite smooth in texture.
Another bar I enjoyed a few months ago, a gift from a friend, was their Latte bar, a dark chocolate and milk bar. It’s a 55% bar. I also had the luck of tasting that same friend’s 70% Tumaco bar. Gotta love friends with chocolate. Sharing chocolate is always a joy.
One of the unique things about Avanaa is that they have a roasting profile on the packaging. Five boxes with a different number filled in based on the roast. I also love their brightly coloured boxes and funky designs. The side of their building is amazing.
I hope to visit Avanaa again when I’m in Montreal, its amazing how many bean to bar makers are popping up in Montreal and the rest of Canada. Do you have any favourite Canadian chocolate makers or artisan chocolatiers?