Allowing the Easter holiday in April to come and go with nary a visit to Burnaby’s sweetest storefront would be a serious seasonal misstep. A trip to Chez Christophe is both a feast for the eyes and the stomach.
Upon being greeted by an elaborate Seussian chocolate sculpture, you may also notice rows of holiday characters, lovingly wrapped and ready for the eating. The classic seasonal forms of bunnies and eggs abound, but in Christophe Bonzon’s hands, everything is elevated: intricate, modern, and a pleasure to admire—qualities MONTECRISTO was able to appreciate firsthand during an evening of egg-making at his chocolate factory.
Bonzon’s Lattice Egg sits on a base of sweet, dark, 60 per cent Carma chocolate, formed by piping precisely heated chocolate into a round mould atop a textured sheet. Bonzon is the only confectioner in Canada using this particular cocoa blend, which is imported from his home country of Switzerland. The base cannot be too thick, or it will lose its shine. As it cools, the outer egg is created. Half-shell casings are drizzled with 65 per cent dark chocolate to form a modern weave.
As the base and shell cool, four gem-like treats (also Carma chocolate) are chosen for the egg’s centre. Bonzon recommends the cinnamon and sugar Cannelle Noisette, the Noix de Coco et Passion, and the Gianduja Milk. The bronzed Mango is a favourite as well, and for good reason. The bite-size marvel took home the gold prize for Canada in the 2013 International Chocolate Awards competition, which was judged in Vancouver.
With small paper piping bags, the selects are fixed to the interior of a bijou Carma diamond-shelled egg sprayed with gold leaf; the interior edges of its halves lightly circled on the back of a warm baking sheet before being pressed together to seal the centerpiece. The interior element is then carefully sat on a dime size chocolate mound on one half of the woven shell and quickly set with a special cooling spray to ensure it stays upright.
Once again, one half of the shell—this time the outer one—is warmed and pressed to its partner before being mounted on its crystalized base. The finishing touch is added with a Chez Christophe emblem, the first of many stunning elements consumed by its recipient.
The Chez Christophe Easter collection is available at the Burnaby storefront now.
Chocolate factory photos by Kimberly Budziak.