Saturday, April 02, 2011

Mink Chocolate Cafe (Downtown)


I met up with Py after work for an afternoon snack at Mink, a chocolate cafe in downtown near the waterfront. Mink is one of my favourite places for a Belgian waffle coupled with a chocolate chai fog, both of which are difficult to come by in Vancouver. This time I decided to try the s'mores fondue ($9.95) which comes with a pot of milk/dark ganache chocolate, marshmallows and graham wafers. I chose dark chocolate (70%) since I figured milk (38%) might be too sweet. The food arrived on a silver tray complete with fondue forks and a mini hibachi for toasting the marshmallows. I was wondering why it took so long to prepare until I saw the graham wafers arranged in alternating patterns with the marshmallows. Love the detail!


Roasting the marshmallows on the hibachi turned out to be quite tricky. On my first few attempts, my marshmallows caught on fire and I had to blow out the flames quickly. Py had a good laugh until she tried roasting her own. Marshmallows catch on fire so easily! After many tries, I was finally able to produce the perfectly roasted golden-brown marshmallow with a soft and gooey centre. This is the final result!


It was very messy to eat as we were given 10 each of marshmallows and graham wafers, so we didn't have enough wafers to sandwich the marshmallows. Oh well, open-faced s'mores are just as good! The chocolate was really rich with a full flavour and not bitter at all despite having 70% cacao. I was worried the s'mores would be too sweet, but this was not the case at all. The smooth and creamy chocolate added depth to the taste without adding too much sweetness.

Chocolate Bars

Mink's specialty is their hand-crafted chocolate bars packaged in different colours depending on flavour. They come in 50 g boxes and cost $6.25 each. I've always wanted to try them, but was discouraged by the price. I finally bought my first package today and I'm already hooked! In the coming days, I plan to review all the flavours I'm going to try.

Flavour: No Grumpy (fresh ground organic espresso)


The dark chocolate bar is considerably more bitter than the dark chocolate fondue. Actually I'm not sure if bitter is the right word. When I bite into the chocolate, the "bitterness" spreads across my tongue in a satisfying way much like a rich and full-bodied coffee. As I start chewing, I notice there are crunchy ground espresso bits in the bar that add to the fullness of flavour. I can't help grinning as the last bit of chocolaty goodness disappears into my stomach while the taste lingers in my mouth. This bar is aptly named as I feel pleasantly cheerful whenever I eat it. I plan to keep a package at work just in case!

Flavour: Fountain of Youth (blueberries and goji berries)


This bar contains blueberries and goji berries, both a rich source of antioxidants, which explains why it's named Fountain of Youth. It's not a typical fruit bar with dried fruits scattered here and there in an uneven distribution. Half of the small blocks along one side of the bar each contain one goji berry, and the other half is blueberry. Again, love the detail! The chocolate is a bit sweeter than the Go Grumpy bar, probably due to the lack of espresso. The fruits inside add to the sweetness as well, making this bar lighter and more suitable as a dessert.

Flavour: Navel Gazing (candied zest of orange)


This orange-flavoured bar is a bit sweeter than No Grumpy because of the fruit content, just like the Fountain of Youth. When I had my first bite, I was reminded of Terry's Chocolate Orange because of the strong orange flavour. The difference is this is not artificial flavouring but bits of candied orange zest embedded in the chocolate. There is a freshness to natural ingredients that artificial flavours can't simulate. Although this bar is quite good, I still prefer the blueberry and goji berry flavour because I think those fruits go better with chocolate.

Flavour: Flat Pack Easter Egg (traditional yellow creme centre)


This is the first Mink chocolate bar I've tried with a creme filling. I had expected the creme to be soft and smooth like the icing on cupcakes, but it turned out to be very watery and tasteless. I checked the ingredients list and mango was listed as an ingredient, though there was not the slightest hint of mango in the filling. The creme was quite sweet and as a result, the dark chocolate lost its richness and strength when combined with the liquid sugary centre.

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2 comments:

Jade on April 05, 2011 4:04 am said...

heh.
I love this place too!

Thanks for introducing me to Mink. Their chocolate isn't overly sweet, but is definitely satisfying.

krispymilk on April 05, 2011 11:38 am said...

Ahhh you must try the No Grumpy bar! It wakes you up and makes you cheerful when you're feeling the blues :P

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