Montréal women and chocolate: a true love affair
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.
A small family-run business, Chocolats Andrée is an institution in Montréal. Founded during the Second World War by Madeleine Daigneault and her sister Juliette Farand, the Mile End shop has always prided itself in using high quality chocolate and ingredients, even when those were scarce during the war. Madeleine;s daughter Nicole, inherited her passion and the business for a few years before passing it along to her daughter Stéphanie Saint-Denis, who is the current owner. Chocolats Andrée is the story of a three-quarter of a century-old shop that still hand dips its chocolates but it’s also the story of three generations of women with a handed-down passion for chocolate.
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.
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.