Four years ago, I went to check out the much-touted Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie CafÃ© in North Vancouver. Not only did the wares and shop live up to the hype, I had the good fortune to meet Thomas himself. He had come out of the back of the shop to help out at the busy counter and ended up making my mocha himself. As anyone who has seen Thomas in person or on television would attest, Thomas is a warm and funny person. He kindly invited me to place my infant (in her car carrier) on the counter (as opposed to the floor) and proceeded to teasingly flirt with my daughter and me, grinding fresh cocoa in the shape of a heart on top of my mocha. I was sold.
Just this week, I had the delight of visiting Thomas’ new location on Broadway in Kitsilano. I obviously wasn’t the only one eager for his shop to open. It was an early weekday afternoon and the place was packed. All 8 tables were filled with customers happily drinking espresso and noshing on pastries, sandwiches, and chocolates, and there was a constant (but quick-moving) line to the door.
We were lucky to get a table, but slightly unlucky for it to be the last table next to the chocolate display, as we were somewhat in the way of the line of customers mulling over their fine chocolate purchasing decisions. The staff were helpful and knowledgeable, explaining and recommending pastries and chocolates (my personal favourite is the â€˜French Blue’ Earl Grey Tea). Orders are ingeniously written on wipe-off laminated sheets to facilitate the excellent service and attention to detail. The barista made a special-order cold chocolate milk for my daughter, who breezed through her delicious raspberry and chocolate macaroons. My fresh fruit danish was all sweetness and light. Absolutely perfect. A gentleman sitting next to us commented that the pastry was too pretty to eat and I almost agreed! We brought home pre-baked Chocolate Sparkle cookies and they were as fresh and exquisite as buying the frozen package and baking them at home, which we’d previously done. For Seinfeld fans, think of the episode in which Elaine admits â€˜faking it’ and George’s date thoroughly enjoys her risotto. Chocolate Sparkles are that good.
The shop is decorated as richly as the chocolate tastes. Marble counters compliment the chocolate brown tables and wall shelving, which houses Thomas’ signature hot chocolate powders, confection line, chocolate bars, and boxed chocolates. Most interesting is the ceiling, which looks like a mirrored honeycomb but I suspect is meant to represent a chocolate molecule, a symbol appearing even on the door handle and certain packaging.
Located at 2539 West Broadway, the shop is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to 5:30pm. On the shop hours sign, a sad face rests beside Sunday and Monday. Sad indeed! I didn’t get to encounter Thomas this time around but I should have numerous opportunities on future visits!
Last modified: November 15, 2009