Montréal women and chocolate: a true love affair
This article was updated on March 5, 2019.
We don’t want to delve into an easy stereotype but we’ve noticed that the old adage of women’s love for chocolate holds very true in Montréal. Indeed, quite a few of the city’s top chocolate makers are in fact women.
Les Chocolats de Chloé
Chloé Gervais-Fredette is the driving force behind Les Chocolats de Chloé. A chocolate lover since her teens, Chloé worked in the food industry for several years but chocolate was always her passion. She finally opened her first boutique on Roy Street before moving to a larger space on Duluth, in the heart of Montréal’s Plateau neighbourhood. The boutique is built in her image, a cheery, elegant, stylish space that’s open and welcoming and just as smiley as Chloé herself. From the store, you can watch your favourite treats being made in the chocolate workshop. Chloé’s products–from bars to bonbons to spreads and other delights–wrapped in their delightfully colourful packaging are all made with love from top quality ingredients.
Passionate about chocolate since her early 20s, Geneviève Grandbois opened her now-famous store on St-Viateur Street in 2003. She has since garnered a splendid reputation as one of the best chocolate makers in Montréal. Chocolate no longer holds any secrets for Grandbois who has mastered all its minute idiosyncrasies, including the entire production chain. She purchases directly from carefully selected plantations in an effort to control the quality of her products. Her exceptional homemade 70% dark chocolate blend is the base she uses for many of her outstanding creations.
Edith Gagnon did a stage at Maison Cakao, which belonged to Geneviève Grandbois, and fell so in love with it, that she bought it and has been running it since 2000. The secret to a good chocolate maker according to Edith is passion and detail-oriented work. At her boutique you will find chocolates flavoured with seasonal ingredients such as Québec blueberries or raspberries. Her brownie has been declared one of the best in Montréal. She also caters to vegan and lactose-intolerant diets.
Juliette et Chocolat
Juliette Brun opened her first chocolate shop in Québec by the young age of 22, having already had a long-term love affair with chocolate. Wanting to share her love and passion with everyone, Juliette put all her favourite desserts on that first menu and it took off like wild fire! Today, Juliette et Chocolat is a favourite among Montrealers seeking a sweet snack and a mecca for any dessert lover. The generous portions and elaborate menus are mouth watering and the luminous restaurants and smiling staff are the reflection of Juliette’s cheery personality. And how can one not be cheery when surrounded by so much chocolate?
These must be some of the most beautiful chocolates in Montréal, each one like a unique and tiny piece of art! Chloé Migneault-Lecavalier and Loïse Desjardins-Petrone are the two young founders of this unique chocolate making enterprise that specializes in corporate gifts and custom-made creations. The stunning, hand-painted bonbons are as delicious as they are pretty. The distinctive confections have stood out rather quickly and garnered a passionate following but the incredible flavours are what keep everyone coming back for more. And now, they can head to the newly opened Pointe-Saint-Charles workshop and boutique for all their cravings.
Joane L’Heureux has 12 years of experience in the chocolate business. After having had a store at the Jean Talon Market, she is now happiest creating her delicious chocolate sin her Rosemont workshop. Her passion is clearly present in the 11 different kinds of chocolates she creates with 30 or more flavours, from the simple yet delectable maple-stuffed bonbon to the more exotic mango and passion fruit ganache.
Catherine Goulet, the founder of Avanaa chocolates is a geologist by trade. Catherine was working in Bay James in Northern Quebec when her partner and her decided to take a year off and travel the world. Catherine was already experimenting with roasting cocoa beans and making chocolate in her home for personal consumption so she decided to visit chocolate-producing countries in Asia and South America during her year of travelling to learn more about her favourite product. Upon her return to Montreal, she founded the Avanaa bean-to-bar chocolate factory where she uses only single plantation cocoa beans from fair trade farmers in Columbia, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Avanaa is one of the first and only bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Canada. Catherine produces a small collection of excellent bars in her Villeray workshop, which you can visit to learn more and to have a chat with the very passionate Catherine.
Véronique Ethier is the founder of the Plateau’s funky chocolate shop, Noir Chocolat opened in 2016. Inspired by one of her professors, her love story with chocolate started at cooking school. At Noir Chocolat, Véronique creates chocolates in bar and bonbons form but also cakes, cookies and more. Her flavours are simple yet well balanced and she aims to create an unpretentious and welcoming environment in her store and through her confections.
Qantu Cacao et Chocolat
Behind Qantu bar-to-bean chocolates is a woman… as well as a man. Elfi and Maxime met in Peru, fell in love with each other, then with Peru’s Alto El Sol cocoa beans, and the rest is history. The name Qantu is derived from the Quechua name for Peru and Bolivia’s national flower. Elfi and Maxime’s chocolate-making adventure started in 2016 in Montréal, where they began making their bean-to-bar chocolates, which have since been awarded silver and gold medals in international competitions.
État de choc
The gorgeous État de choc boutique in Montréal’s Petite-Patrie neighbourhood is a minimalist and elegant ode to chocolate where the precious products are displayed like jewels. The boutique’s owner, Maud Gaudreau, fell in love with chocolate making when she worked on a marketing mandate for a chocolate shop. Besides Maud, État de choc has a winning team of women behind it, including chocolate maker Stéphanie Bélanger and chocolate sommelier Marie Lepaux. The store highlights and sells chocolates from all of Québec’s bean-to-bar makers and works their chocolate into customized bars and bonbons. Their dark chocolate, corn and chili pepper mini bar is particularly tasty. État de choc also offers workshops where chocolate lovers can make their own bars and enjoy a chocolate tasting.
Mayssam Samaha, blogger
Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city.