Thursday, April 23, 2015

This small chocolate business in British Columbia has a big selection

Take a Fancy, a Burnaby-based chocolate brand, has been making chocolate in small batches, from bean to bar, for the last few years and selling it at Farmer's Markets in British Columbia. As one of Canada's newest chocolate makers, I was anxious to try Take a Fancy's products. The ingredients are natural and organic, and made from cocoa beans from Peru. What's more, the owner, Becks D'Angelo, is on a bean-hunting trip in Costa Rica, and says there may be exciting new single origin chocolate from Take A Fancy soon.

I ordered online and was pleasantly surprised by the selection. I purchased six different chocolate bars with a variety of cacao percentages, including two that were sweetened with maple sugar instead of cane sugar. When it arrived, I was also pleased with the chocolate.

The milk chocolates surprised me the most. Not many of Canada's craft chocolate makers make milk chocolate, so I was pleased to see that a such small business, like Take a Fancy, offered both a 42% bar and a 50% dark-milk chocolate. The 42% milk chocolate was not super sweet, but still very much designed for die-hard milk chocolate lovers.  It had a lovely milk chocolate colour and rich taste like a delicious milky hot chocolate.

Sittin' on the Fence is a 50% Dark-Milk Chocolate with a intense cocoa experience, but also with that familiar milk chocolate taste. Any kind of chocolate lover, whether an advocate of dark chocolate or an I-won't-let-go-of-my-milk-chocolate-addiction kinda person, could fall in love with this bar.

The 85% Dark Chocolate bar was enjoyable, with a creamy mouthfeel. Made with Peruvian cocoa beans, it had a nice earthy and cocoa flavour. I tried this up against a Lindt 85% and Take a Fancy's won out.  It was creamier and a little easier on the palate. And there was no vanilla to overwhelm the flavour, so the chocolate taste could shine through.

In fact, all of the bars were very creamy; I could definitely taste the added cocoa butter. The Maple 72% dark bar was quite enjoyable, albeit slightly more bitter tasting than the 72% Dark Chocolate made with cane sugar, but rather good (and rather Canadian too!). The regular 72% chocolate had a slightly fruity taste, with a real chocolaty base flavour. It was quite delicious.


Also, two caramels were included in my shipment. With that rich milk chocolate made by Take a Fancy and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth caramel centre, the experience was divine (and that coming from a girl who has never been into caramels!).

Ms. D'Angelo, has been selling only at Farmer's Markets. She says that she loves farmer's markets, "It's fantastic to connect the community with where chocolate comes from," which is really the heart and soul of the bean-to-bar craft chocolate movement. However, plans are in the works to branch out beyond farmer's markets in the Fall. So keep an eye on this brand, as we may see more of it in the future!

Currently, the chocolate bars are sold in two sizes, and all of Take a Fancy's chocolate is made with minimal ingredients (only 3 for the plain chocolate bars) with no added vanilla and no soy lecithin.  This is the natural stuff!

You can find the list of Farmer's Markets here. Also, follow the Take a Fancy blog now to learn how the cocoa bean-hunting trip in Costa Rica is going.  To order online (after Ms. D'Angelo arrives back from Costa Rica in a few weeks), visit: www.takeafancy.ca.

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