So much food. So little time. At least when it comes to the places on my “to try” list, anyway.
I was able to strike one off the list last weekend, when Mack and I made a concerted effort to ruin our dinner with gelato (though I’m sure there are worse ways in which dinner can be ruined). After an “independent panel” declared the gelato from Chocolate Exquisite to be the best in the city, I was eager to give their dessert a spin.
Chocolate Exquisite interior
Located in the semi-sprawled Oliver Square complex, Chocolate Exquisite has been producing their own line of chocolates for several years. Owner Dennis Yurkiwsky sampled over 70 varieties of cocoa beans sourced from all over the world, and from that number, picked 18 to make bars of single-origin chocolate. They are all beautifully wrapped, with small squares priced at just 90 cents, meaning a gift box containing some variety could be relatively inexpensive. Yurkiwsky was extremely generous in providing me with samples of the types I expressed an interest in (with many bite-size samples ready to be doled out, the “try before you buy” policy is their common practice). I also tried the 99% cocoa mass, which is described to be for a “connoisseur’s palate”. It wasn’t for me. Yurkiwsky made clear, however, that the value of variety was being able to offer a specific product that would appeal to individuals as opposed to a crowd.
It’s worth noting that Chocolate Exquisite runs tasting workshops for $35, which includes samples of all 18 single-origin varieties, as well as dessert wines and port (the shop is equipped with a few small tables and chairs). It would make a fantastic girls night out. The next one is scheduled for October 20; call for more information.
By the time we worked our way toward the gelato cooler, it was clear that Yurkiwsky prides himself in producing a consistent, high quality product. As expected, Mack and I both tried samples of the gelato of our choice before we were permitted to graduate to a full serving ($3.50/small, $5.50/large). Yurkiwsky described the gelato-making process that he uses, and suffice to say, he has undertaken great expense and pains to ensure his gelato is as authentic as possible.
And the result? The scoop of hazelnut I enjoyed thoroughly brought me back to my time in Italy. Velvety smooth, the balance between the nutty flavour and sweetness was just perfect. Mack’s strawberry gelato was light and fruity, and disappeared immediately under his spoon.
Hazelnut and Strawberry gelati
As Yurkiwsky himself indicated, Chocolate Exquisite is a destination. However, now that I’ve been oriented to their products, I will be sure to keep it in mind for any future gift needs, as well as a place to satiate my gelato cravings.
11238 104 Avenue
Monday-Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 12-8pm