Chocolate Tofino Love Story
Naturally, romance flourishes here year round, but every February in celebration of that Saint named Valentine, there's a heightened sense of that lovin' feeling. So we couldn't let the month go by without telling you about Chocolate Tofino, a chocolate-lover's happy place named "The best handmade chocolates and gelato on Vancouver Island" by Frommer's Travel Guides.
That’s so impressive, but what else is making chocolate worshipers and aficionados do a standing ovation?
Chocolate has been declared a health food.
Specifically dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa which is rich in antioxidants, just like red wine. Which means green light on this deliciously romantic pairing!
In fact, chocolate stimulates serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical that puts everybody in the mood for love. If you’ve seen the movie Chocolat starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, you know what we’re talking about (wink…we’ve got it in the Resort DVD library for your next visit).
Since Valentine’s Day 2003, this cute little wooden, red-doored shop has been churning out handcrafted goodness, using top-quality chocolate from Central America and organic, local ingredients like lavender and wildflower honey. Surf-enthusiasts and owners Kim and Cam Shaw from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan fell in love with Tofino and the concept of gourmet chocolate, buying the shop in 2010.
When asked what she loves about making chocolate, Kim said, “There’s a science in chocolate, like what it takes to make perfect ganache and have it set up just right. Chocolate is great on its own but the artistry of combining flavours and making it pretty is fun. And the best part is, it makes people happy! Customer responses fuel us and when they leave smiling, we’re smiling.”
From Hazelnut Rainforest Crispy Logs and Wild Blackberry Buttercream (using blackberries that Kim and Cam pick every fall), to Strawberry Cream Starfish (with fresh strawberry filling), there's a chocolate map of eye-rolling options you’ve got to see. The newly introduced La Maya Truffle is something to behold. Right out of the Ancient Mayans where spiced chocolate originated, each truffle is a blend of three types of dark chocolate plus chipotle, vanilla, cinnamon and fresh arbol chilis that the Shaws grow in their garden.
And then there’s the signature Hot Chocolate Elixir, bubbling away in a little crock-pot and served with a ladle because it’s that thick. Described by test-drivers as “heaven as in a cup,” one sip will forever change the way you look at hot chocolate. No more pouring hot water onto powder out of a packet, that’s for sure.
But wait…there’s more…homemade Gelato, as in “Italian for ice cream” in all its creamy wonderfulness. Choose from flavours like Vanilla Bean, White Chocolate Raspberry and Tofino Espresso (made from Tofino Coffee Co.’s finest). Not only do they juice the raspberries for the delectable flavour above, gelato is served in fresh baked waffle cones.
They’ve even had an engagement happen in the shop with a couple of customers surrounded by red roses, an abundance of chocolates, and a handwritten proposal – in chocolate. Obviously, she said yes.
Speaking of which, are we expecting you soon for our Romance Package? It includes a selection of Chocolate Tofino’s treasures, but if you can’t wait, preview the scrumptiousness and order online from their website.
All we know is if you have a sweet tooth, Chocolate Tofino is a must-experience on your next visit.
Also Kim and Cam, if you need tasters for “quality control” – sign us up.
Photo: Chris Pouget
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