It is rare that I crave chocolate, but that was before I tried the Chocolophilia Pumpkin Pie from Kerstin’s Chocolates. it is the perfect mixture of milk chocolate with a crunchy pumpkin taste which is quite subtle. I had heard rumblings about a gourmet chocolate outfit amongst the independant groups in Edmonton. It wasn’t until I visited their lovely little boutique that I fell head over heals for their packaging and started to discover all their assorted treats. I’m embarassed to admit that on more than one occasion I have had to replenish the gift boxes for friends, family and clients.
I had a chance to chat with Kerstin herself and she gave a great interview below. If you’re in town and looking for the perfect gift or to tame your own sweet tooth you can’t miss visiting the Cocoa Room.
10139 112th St. | Edmonton
How did you come up with the name?
We had a long list of names after a year of brainstorming. It took another six months to pick “The Cocoa Room”. We picked it because it sounded warm and cozy, which is the true atmosphere of the store.
Has Edmonton embraced you yet?
We hear from many Edmontonians that they consider us the home team. Perhaps it is because all of our packaging has the words “Handmade in Edmonton” on it! A lot of locals take our chocolate on trips outside of Alberta or Canada, and they come back with stories of how their friends could not believe that Edmonton had any good chocolate. Unfortunately we don’t export our chocolate yet!
The most asked questions by your customers?
“Is your chocolate fair trade?” Answer: no it is not Fair Trade Certified, but we sell chocolate made by companies that deal with farmers and plantation owners directly. They often buy their cocoa beans for 3 to 4 times the commodity market value because they care so much about quality”. The second most asked question: “What’s your favorite?” From our Chocophilia line, it’s the Cocoa Bean bar and the Spicy Drinking Chocolate. I also love the Pralus Indonesia and Amedei’s “Chuao”.
If you weren’t in this industry what would you be doing?
I’d probably be doing something in the healing arts, something like Acupuncture or herbal medicine.
You’re stranded on a desert island and you’re only allowed to have one of your chocolate bars?
Definitely the Fleur de Sel. Something about the mix of the sweet and the salty. It the most satisfying combination of flavors!
If you were going to send one product to each of these people –
Our Chocophilia Spicy Drinking Chocolate: When President Obama needs to kick it up a notch, this complex drink will melt away all of his cool demeanor!
Your secret crush
Our Cru Sauvage Truffles: They are made from wild cacao beans, and have a beautiful flavor that is unique and intoxicating.
Our Lemon Dream bar: It is comforting in the way that only white chocolate and organic candied lemons can be!
Or one of our Meltaways: No need to chew! They just melt in your mouth instantly!
To get your boss’ attention, give your boss the Hot Chocolate
What type of luxuries does your business offer you?
Everything that we develop in our kitchen is luxurious because we use some of the best Swiss chocolate in the world to make it, and combine it with only the best ingredients. Because we make our Drinking Chocolate with couverture (the finest chocolate normally used for making confections), it has a silky texture that is outrageously smooth and a flavor that is extremely deep. We also make intense unique truffles and other confections with fresh marshmallows that are hard to find and extremely decadent. This easter, we are filling enormous chocolate eggs with chocolate dipped dried fruit, as well as doing many other specials.
How long did it take you to come up with your current offerings of chocolates? Do you rely on family, friends, interviewers(haha) to help you test?
Yes indeed! It took about 2 years to develop our first batch of flavors for our Chocophilia line of chocolate bars.
Have your past travels influenced your chocolates?
They have tremendously. I lived in Japan for five years, and I developed a great respect for the Japanese palate: less sweet, more simple direct flavors. I have been to cocoa plantations in the Dominican Republic, Belize and Hawaii. The tropical foods that I ate there have helped me think of new flavors for my creations. I have also been to Belgium, France, Spain and Germany recently, and I am always inspired by the chocolate that I taste there.
Who are are your influences?
I would have to say my first influence was my mom, who was a great cook and inspired me to make great food. I also to classes from Ewald Notter, a world-renowed chocolatier and pastry chef, and learned much from him. I am inspired any and all food artisans who take chances and experiment with food.