It feels like the holidays just ended, and yet here comes another one: the infamous Valentine’s Day. If you’ve come up dry for ideas on how to spend some time with your special someone, then have no fear―here are two chocolate shops, Fous Desserts and Suite 88, where you can take your sweet-toothed sweetheart and that won’t disappoint.
A quaint and snug store, Fous Desserts has walls full of tea and counters full of chocolate. It’s definitely the kind of place to go for a laid-back but romantic date.
The top chocolate pick of the cheerful staff is the praline noisette, and indeed, it definitely deserves to be first on the list. While extremely sweet in its creamy nougat-style flavour, the sugariness is subtly undercut by a crisp wafer bottom.
There are also quite a few close contenders for first place that are certainly worthy of mention as well. One is the classic cocoa truffle, which has a surprisingly aromatic flavour and a creamy inside. A win as far as truffles go.
Then there is the caramel a la fleur de sel, which is at once creamy, salty and sweet, transitioning smoothly through the taste sensations for mouthwatering results.
Not to be forgotten is the imaginative praline banane, a different yet delectable chocolate that proves banana really is the ultimate fruit that can make anything delicious even better.
Finally, there is the wonderful collection of tea-flavoured chocolate. There’s the Jasmine (fragrant and subtle), the Earl Grey (bested in its spot-on flavour only by the tea itself), and the surprising Green Tea truffle (authentic in taste and very good). If your special someone is a tea fanatic, well, let’s just say you probably won’t find a better gift than a box of these babies.
In all it’s a wonderful little shop. “Homey, nice and cozy,” said satisfied first-time customer Francis McNamee, who favoured the praline noisette and caramel a la fleur de sel best.
Next up is Suite 88. Styled with high-end modern decor, it might not represent your typical idea of cozy, but this chic chocolatier boasts some fairly incomparable truffles.
The extremely friendly and helpful staff all wholeheartedly recommended the tried and true favourites. “The praline croquante and the crêpe pralinée are definitely the most popular,” said the waitress with a smile.
While both were fantastic, the former a smooth delight rolled in a nut coating and the latter being wafery and light, there were some others that certainly gave these truffles a run for their money.
The newest addition to the chocolate collection is the explosion de cacao―rich, nutty and extremely tasty; a must-buy for any lover in love with chocolate.
After that ranks a tie between the nature, the original truffle, and the menthe. There is a lot to be said for the nature―it is pleasant and creamy, a classic in every way. As for the menthe, it is simultaneously rich, fresh, cool and soothing (good to end a box of chocolates on). Best of all, the mint doesn’t taste remotely like the artificial flavouring put into your average cheap chocolate; as with everything at Suite 88, it is crafted to gastronomical perfection.
The best, however, has to be the Grand Mariner, melting and velvety from the first bite. An absolutely exquisite taste experience, it gives the kick you want from the orange without the overwhelming burn of the alcohol. A whole box of these wouldn’t be enough.
So if what you’re looking for is a teashop that’s lovely and warm instead of bright and modern, then Fous Desserts is where you’ll likely want to be leading your lovers. But between the two shops, Suite 88 is without a doubt the one that will have your taste buds head over heels in love.
Surprisingly, and despite the posh set-up that might have a student wallet’s nerves a-trembling, Suite 88 is also half the price of Fous Desserts, where it’s $1 per chocolate instead of over $2 with taxes. On top of that, it’s only a hop-skip-and-a-block from the SGW campus, making it the perfect destination for some after-class romancing.
And so, without hesitation, I declare Suite 88 the sweetest treat.
Fous Desserts is located at 809 Laurier Ave. E. and Suite 88 at 3957 St-Denis St.