The "S" Page
Last updated: 2000.6.12
The Silver Spoon Fine Chocolates & Cafe
2 King Street North (at Erb), Waterloo. 884-7979
Visited: Friday, November 12, 1999, 7-9:40pm.
The club stretched the rules for this one a bit. While
you can get something to drink and nibble on (seating
for 10-12 people), this really a chocolate shop.
The shop is located under the Waterloo Hotel, with an
entrance off of Erb Street.
Seven members of the club attended a free chocolate tasting event. The Silver Spoon puts on these events about once a month (usually by request).
We got to taste 6 types of dark chocolate and then 6 types of milk chocolate. You start tasting with the plate holding the chocolate with the highest cocoa content, and work your way down to the plate holding the sludge (sorry, chocolate with the lowest content). With breaks between each taste to clear the palate.
My favourites in the dark chocolate were Valrhona, from France, and Callebaut, from Belgium. These were the top 2 in cocoa content of those tested. In the milk chocolate category, the one with the second highest cocoa content, the Callebaut from Belgium gained my approval. The rest just couldn't compare.
Except for some Valrhona chocolate bars, I believe everything else is created by the owners of the shop. They some very nice creations in the truffle section (90 cents each; $1 if boxed). They will also create special order works in chocolate upon request.
As well as the tasting, we were treated to a history of chocolate. Quite interesting.
If you like good chocolate, and have money to spend, the Silver Spoon is well worth the visit.
Silver Spoon is a little out of order, but we thought we'd do
something out of the ordinary this time around. They offer a free
chocolate tasting in the evenings or on weekends, with appointment. Now,
I'm something of a chocoholic, so this is right up my alley. I contacted
Anne-Marie (one of the owners), and set up a Friday night appointment.
Upon arrival we found that Anne-Marie had set out a series of trays, each of which contained samples of chocolate, dark on one counter, and milk chocolate on another. The trays were arranged in order from the finest French and Belgian chocolate down to domestic sludge. Water was provided to cleanse the palate between chocolate tastings. (Anne-Marie had earlier suggested bringing champagne to quaff with the chocolate. I, alas, am not a champagne drinker, and I don't know what beer goes best with chocolate, so I stuck with water).
I have long been a convert to fine dark chocolate, the darker (and more bitter), the better. However even I was taken aback by the range in taste from Valrhona (French) and Callebaut (Belgian) to Hershey's and some cheap abomination whose name I have blissfully forgotten. You have not tasted chocolate until you've tried some of these better brands. Even the sound chocolate makes when you break it into pieces tells you the difference. Fine chocolate has a nice 'snap' to it, while inferior chocolate simply crumbles from shame.
Enough about chocolate itself -- back to the Silver Spoon. Anne-Marie is enthusiastic about chocolate, and it shows. She openly hoped to convert some of us to the dark side (of chocolate, that is). Not that there's anything wrong with milk chocolate, of course, but once you've had black, you never go back. Darlene claims to have been turned (congratulations, Darlene!), so Anne-Marie's evangelism had some effect.
After the tasting, Anne-Marie spent some time talking about chocolate, its manufacture and its history. I learned that, besides being a avaricious, genocidal, megalomaniacal, arrogant, adulterous scum, Hernan Cortes, conqueror of Mexico, also spread the cultivation of cocoa throughout the Spanish empire. (Way to go, Cortes, you otherwise nasty piece of work). The rest of the history was just as fascinating, and Anne-Marie proved to be very knowledgeable about chocolate, answering almost all of our questions with ease.
I highly recommend the Silver Spoon just for its chocolate. If you're looking for an interesting and different way to spend an evening, get a group of friends together and go chocolate tasting. It's a delicious evening!