Thomas Haas (Kitsilano)

February 03, 2012
After hearing about the Hot Chocolate Festival, I met up with Janice (Good Eat) and Kirby (Eating with Kirby) for an afternoon of cocoa-sipping at Thomas Haas.

I was surprised that the store was so packed on a Thursday afternoon. I managed to take pictures of the display counters before another crowd of customers swarmed in. The colourful treats were arranged behind the glass in neat rows, and everything just looked so appealing!

There were chocolate truffles...

sandwiches, pastries and croissants...

cakes and tarts...

and macarons! (These turned out to be a disappointment, but more on that later.)

We mulled over the hot chocolate menu for a minute and decided that we would each try one of the three flavours. They cost $5.95 each which we thought was really expensive, but I suppose that's not unreasonable considering the high quality of chocolate used. And Thomas Haas will be donating 5% of sales from the Hot Chocolate Festival to charity.

Kirby's choice: extra dark hot chocolate with fresh vanilla (served with vanilla marshmallows)
Surprisingly the extra dark chocolate didn't taste too bitter. It definitely had the rich flavour profile of dark chocolate, but it had a muted sweetness that balanced out the bitter notes. Compared to the other drinks, I enjoyed this the least because I found it too heavy and filling. It would be great for tasting purposes, but I think it would be difficult to finish the whole thing. And the sugar-crusted shortbread that came with the drink wasn't that great.

Janice's choice: classic hot chocolate with soft caramel and fleur de sel (served with warm sparkle cookies)
There was way more salt in this drink than what was visible. Every sip was a combination of silky smooth chocolate and deep saltiness. This was the easiest to drink because the salt really helped with toning down the richness and creaminess. I'd go for this drink if I came here again, as it was the lightest and most enjoyable if I had to drink the whole thing. I've tried the famous chocolate sparkle cookie before when I had afternoon tea at The Urban Tea Merchant, but for some reason it wasn't as delicious as I remembered it.

my choice: hazelnut hot chocolate (served with crispy hazelnut wafers)
The hazelnut hot chocolate tasted just like Purdy's hedgehog truffles turned into a creamy liquid. It wasn't made with artificial hazelnut syrup, but with real hazelnut flavour. I found it rather heavy as well, albeit not as bad as the extra dark chocolate. The crispy hazelnut wafers that came with the drink were the best though.

The double baked almond croissant ($4.45) looked really good with the thick layer of roasted almond chips and icing sugar on top. It actually tasted more like a pastry than a bread because the texture was very crispy and crusty. There was a light marzipan inside with a subtle sweetness that complemented the buttery croissant.

Kirby wanted to try the crispy chocolate raspberry ($5.50). I could tell from the appearance that it would be very very rich, and I was right about that. The crispy chocolate wafer bottom was topped with an extremely creamy raspberry dark chocolate mousse. Although it tasted great, I couldn't imagine finishing the whole cake by myself.

We were really impressed with the drinks and pastries, so we had high hopes for the macarons ($1.75 each), especially since we've heard a lot of raves about them. But I have never had such horrible macarons in my life. They were so soggy that I could pull them apart easily with my fingers without any crumbs falling off. There was no crispy shell and no chewy centre. The whole thing was just soft, damp and soggy. The chestnut and mocha flavours tasted alright, but the pistachio was very artificial. The macarons were so bad that after we each had a taste of the different flavours, nobody wanted the leftovers and we had to throw them out.

I think the appeal of the store lies in the beautiful displays and the high quality chocolates. The double baked almond croissant is also a must-try signature item. Prices are up there, but Thomas Haas is a boutique chocolate shop and a lot of work goes into the creation of each and every item.

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie on Urbanspoon


  1. I think if I were to get one of the hot chocolates again, I'd pick Janice's (salted caramel hot chocolate) too because the salt really balanced out the sweetness of the chocolate. I wish I had gotten that one instead of mine because mine was sooo rich!!

  2. @Kirby: I know me too. I noticed that Janice finished her drink the fastest. I had to force down the last few gulps, and you had half a cup left! Lol...

  3. Ever since the menus for the HC Fest came out, Thomas Haas was the one I wanted go to go the most but the only one I haven't been to!
    The Hazlenut & salted caramel HC look and sound so good >__<"
    The Hot Chocolates over at Thierry are around $9.50 but delicious. It's drinking chocolate so it does takes a while to finish.

  4. @Gloria: You still have more than a week left! I would definitely go for the salted caramel one. The hazelnut is good, but it becomes a lot less enjoyable halfway through.

    And what?! $9.50 for a cup of hot chocolate at Theirry? And I thought $5.95 was bad...


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