Chocolatier is a word that entered the Vancouver foodie lexicon about ten years ago; that it is now a commonplace description of the city's top chocolate makers shows just how booming a business gourmet chocolates have become in the city.
Vancouver gourmet chocolates make perfect gifts for Valentine's Day or you can just indulge yourself!
One of the best Vancouver Chocolatiers can be found in the Granville Island Market: ChocolaTas. Locally-owned by a Belgian-trained Master Chocolate Maker who, with his wife/partner, immigrated to Canada in 2002, ChocolaTas is well-loved for its preservative-free chocolates, which include a wide range of chocolate ganaches and vegan chocolates
One of the most popular Vancouver chocolate boutiques can be found in the heart of Yaletown: XOXOLAT (at 1271 Homer St.). XOXOLAT isn't about local ingredients; its raison d'être is bringing an international world of chocolate to Vancouver, including Canada’s largest selection of single origin chocolate bars and an extensive line of organic, Fair Trade chocolate. They're also famous for their trademark chocolate shoes!
Locally-owned Gem Chocolates (2029 West 41st Ave, in Kerrisdale Village) has a big following in Metro Vancouver, which they've earned with their famously "shiny", gluten-free chocolates. They make vegan-friendly chocolate bars, too.
Gem Chocolates' "BC blueberry infusion in milk ganache" won the Canadian Silver Medal at the 2012 International Chocolate Awards.
CocoaNymph, locally-owned and based in Point Grey (at 3739 W 10th Ave), is a Vancouver chocolatier that routinely combines unusual flavours in new and delicious ways. Owner Rachel Sawatzky offers a wide range of products: truffles and chocolates, chocolate bars, and confections like English Toffee and Sesamo Bianco.
The poshest Vancouver chocolatier is Pastry Chef Thierry Busset, considered one of the best dessert chefs in the world. His eponymous Chocolaterie & Patisserie in downtown Vancouver (at 1059 Alberni St.) is arguably best known for its macarons, but it does have an incredible selection of Thierry Signature Chocolates, too.
Located in West Vancouver, Chocolat Naturel's chocolatier Pierre Gruget uses organic natural products to make delicious confections that are also nut free, soy free, GMO-free, gluten-free, and contain no soy lecithin or refined sugar. Instead, Gruget adds sweetness to his chocolates with maple syrup, honey, coconut sap, dried dates, or the exotic Monk fruit.
Since its located on Bowen Island, adding Cocoa West to a list of best Vancouver chocolatiers is a bit of a cheat, but I had to include it because, like Chocolate Arts (above), it does such an exceptional job at combining organic chocolate with locally-sourced ingredients to make truly unique West Coast fare. Also, you can buy Cocoa West chocolates in Vancouver at Urban Fare and Edible Canada.
Located just off W 4th Ave in Kitsilano (at 1620 W 3rd Avenue), Chocolate Arts demonstrates how the best Vancouver chocolatiers can combine the old world (raw chocolate from Belgium and France) with the new (locally-sourced, organic ingredients). More than any other chocolate boutique on this list, Chocolate Arts makes chocolates with a distinct Vancouver / Pacific Northwest flavour.