Tag Archives: chocolate gift baskets

Eliminating the noise – Canadian chocolate legend Thomas Haas

17 Sep

Saul Good Christmas 2015 6569-EDIT

When we met Thomas Haas in person, he was warm and welcoming. His chocolate shop is a thoughtfully designed space where you can feel comfy and at home. When chatting with him, we discussed how important it is to be yourself and never waste time comparing yourself to other people.

 

 

Being authentic is one of Thomas’ secrets to success. It is interesting that this attitude is extended into how he works with chocolate. We are delighted to feature some of Thomas’ delicacies in our chocolate gifts and we are fascinated by how and why these chocolates are so delicious. The following is a review that dives into the details of Thomas Haas treats – thoughtfully prepared by local chef and writer Charles Macurdy.

 

Thomas Haas practices a very direct approach to chocolate.

 

Consider his dark chocolate bark. It is simply a disc of 79% cocoa dark chocolate, studded with dried fruit and a few nuts. That cocoa mass is substantial enough that you have a very rich dark chocolate, but not enough that it throws the whole thing out of balance.

Saul Good Christmas 2015 6568-EDIT

The orange rind and dried cranberries play off the bitterness in the chocolate, but also emphasize some light, fruity notes which might otherwise go unnoticed. Meanwhile, a few blanched almonds and slivered pistachios help to draw out the more earthy tones. So, at first blush, it might appear a bit simple. But it becomes a more and more elegant presentation of chocolate’s true character the more you eat it. When you have a perfectly handled piece of chocolate like this, all you need is a little something to help the chocolate speak for itself.

 

Letting chocolate speak for itself

 

His hazelnut crisp shows you another look entirely. Here, you have a small bite of exceptionally smooth milk chocolate paired with a big hazelnut flavour. Again, it is a very familiar combination. Anyone who has ever tasted Nutella will understand it immediately. Except that here, the hazelnut is in a crispy praline, so there is a delicate crunch when you bite into it.

Saul Good Christmas 2015 6660-EDIT

The creamy texture of the milk chocolate wraps around the crispy praline and the flavours of hazelnut and chocolate pair with a light caramel flavoured backdrop. Suddenly, a familiar thing has become a subtle surprise.

chocolate gift baskets

And what this all illustrates is the way that a skilled hand can manage chocolate without feeling the need to make it complicated. You can almost hear him saying “I don’t have to wow you. The chocolate will take care of that.”

 

Flavours as a counterpoint

 

His focus is on more familiar pairings, presented in with a delicate and refined touch. Of course, there are still a few surprises, like ginger, cardamom, thyme, and even matcha green tea. But they all seem to make sense.

 

Consider the chai bark. It is basically the same thing as the dark chocolate bark, except that the base is a spice infused milk chocolate. And as you eat it, within the smoothness of the chocolate, the spices of chai present themselves. So as you taste the cardamom and cinnamon, you get an almond or a cranberry and, just like with the dark bark, they round out and counterpoint the other flavours.

 

But as you taste the spices, the chocolate, the fruit, and the nuts together, you start to realize that this is not only the flavour of chai, but the whole thing together starts to take on the character of fruit cake. And once you notice it, you start to see how much sense it makes. Almost like the comparison was always obvious. Simple things, executed with restraint and skill, can make for truly novel surprises.

 

 

thumb_local bc wine.jpg

Wine Pairing Guide: Local BC Wine + Vancouver Artisan Confections

15 Nov

 

We recently caught up with Valerie Stride from The Demystified Vine and got some great advice on how to pair local BC wines with some of our favouriteVancouver artisan confections. Check out these clear, easy and helpful tips! Your indulgent epicurian moments are about to be upgraded and demystified!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valerie Stride is the creator of the The Demystified Vine (@DemystifiedVine). She is a Vancouver-based WSET Certified Wine Writer & Enthusiast. Her clear and concise blog seeks to unlock the mystery of the wine world!

 

 

 

Pairing #1: Cocolico Shortbread Caramels and Wendel’s Macadamia Shortbread (Gluten free) + Camelot 2011 Gewurztraminer (off-dry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The unsweet shortbread focuses on the flour and butter profiles. Since the 2011 Camelot Gewurz is off-dry, meaning very slightly sweet, the residual sugar in the wine enhances the experience of tasting the buttery shortbread alongside the fruit and spice in the wine.

 

 

 

Important Tip : Sweetness is the main culprit for making unappealing wine and food interactions. Therefore, always make sure that your wine is sweeter than your dessert. If your dessert is sweeter than your wine, when you take a sip of your wine it will seem overly acidic and unapproachable. The whole point of food and wine pairings is to enjoy a balance of flavour profiles!

 

 

 

Pairing #2: Cocolico Caramel Poppycock + Clos du Soleil Saturn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Clos du Soleil’s Saturn is a Sauternes-style dessert wine made from 100% Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. It is a white wine that has been slightly effected by botrytis – also known as Noble Rot – which produces orange marmalade flavours. The Cocolico popcorn by Wendy Boys, is a succulent pairing for the Saturn not only because the Saturn is sweeter than the popcorn, but because the body of the popcorn is not light and fluffy. The popcorn is heavier due to the caramel, butter, and mixed nut clusters. Therefore, the popcorn and wine balance well together because of the weightier, syrupy viscosity of the Saturn (due to it being higher in sugar) and the atypical weight of the popcorn.

 

 

 

Important Tip: Balance food flavour profiles to the elements of the varietal(s) in your wine. For example, white wines tend to be lighter in flavour and body, so match it with a food that is lighter in flavour and body.

 

 

 

Pairing #3: Beta 5 Darker Chocolate + Blasted Church “Amen” Non-Vintage Port-de-Merlot

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Merlot is a medium bodied wine to start. A port-style fortified wine will have more alcohol, and a slightly more potent form of the original varietal, but with added sweetness. Pairing a fortified wine with dark chocolate is a match made in heaven, as dark chocolates tend to be in the 75% cocoa range and are not sweet, but bitter.  The hint of sugar in the Amen Port-de-Merlot will impeccably complement the dry and bitter qualities in the chocolate, because its flavour profile blesses us with cocoa, berries, and caramel. Yum.

 

 

 

Important Tip: Match the body of your food to the body of your wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovative Vancouver Chocolate Gifts: You are what you give

11 Oct

We are excited to provide you with the opportunity to give chocolate gifts from Beta 5 (one of Vancouver’s most innovative confectionist creators). If you are feeling attached to the regular old box of chocolates routine…Let’s take a moment to compare scenarios and analyze your options.

 

Scenario #1

 

“Oh! It’s another box of chocolates.” says Sally in accounting.

 

The predictable box stares up at her with overwhelming dullness. Sally forces a smile and adjusts her jacket awkwardly as she wrestles with the idea of breaking her new diet for boring waxy chocolate.

 

Although Sally in accounting might pretend to be excited, she is stuck in a rut of receiving poor quality boxes of chocolate that leave a lasting impression of thoughtlessness and inauthenticity.

 

Scenario #2

Sally’s team receives a Saul Good confectionist gift filled with easy to share high quality artisan chocolates and confections including Beta 5 chocolates. 

These fun and simple treats are not overwhelming sweet. The Beta 5 chocolate is produced using ethically sourced estate chocolates from France’s storied chocolatier Michel Cluizel.

Sally in accounting will appreciate that her chocolate gift experience is far beyond the ordinary.

 

 

branded-organic-chocolates-1.jpg

Chocolate Logos: A Unique Corporate Gift Idea

07 Jun

 

Corporate gifts can create a fun and meaningful touch point for businesses. We love coming up with gift programs to help our clients stay top of mind with their gift recipients. Why not go beyond ordinary formalities and give a memorable experience that creates a conversation?

 

 

 

We were approached to put together a corporate gift program to launch a new brand and website. The company wanted to give a unique gift that displayed the creative pursuit of their new identity. On their behalf, we sent out branded organic chocolates to their top clients and prospects. In addition to being delicious, organic and ethical….These chocolates were a fun and compelling way to create a water cooler conversation about this innovative company.

 

 

 

 

The gifts were filled with delicious locally made branded organic chocolates, each one hand-made by a local Vancouver artisan and customized with client logos. Using only the finest fair trade organic chocolate, each box is easy to enjoy and share among co-workers.

 

 

 

 

Customized packaging and greeting cards were used to help tell the story and communicate the new brand identity. Design was done by the Vancouver based agency St Bernadine. We’re really happy with how everything turned about and hope these corporate gifts put smiles on faces throughout Vancouver, Canada and the US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thumb_local-beer.jpg

2012 Top 5 Local Gift Ideas for Guys

09 Feb

 

1. Local Artisan BEER

 

 

 

 

 

Locally made BC artisan beer is a classy way to say that you care. We are proud to feature Phillips in our beer gift basket “Hard Days Night”. These delicious hand-crafted creations carry a story of hard work and Canadian entrepreneurship. Instead of a standard gift basket, this gift is presented in a solid reusable box made from beautiful BC pine beetle wood by a Vancouver social enterprise.

 

 

 

Phillips beer was created from the vision of Matt Phillips. He began in a small dark warehouse above a metal shop where he built his own bottler and put labels on by hand. Matt eventually crafted his way to award winning mastery.

 

 

At the Saul Good Gift Co., we respect the history of Phillips beer and we appreciate the fresh crisp taste of locally made artisan goodness!

 

 

2. Herb Grower Made from an Up-Cycled Whiskey Bottle

 

 

 

 

 

This is Jack. Once upon a time, he was a regular old whiskey bottle…and then he became an awesome up-cycled, self watering vessel for growing herbs. All that you have to do is put water in the bottom…and then it waters itself!

 

 

 

In addition to reducing waste, these up-cycled bottles create job opportunities for Vancouver residents. It is awesomeness with meaning. You can find Jack hanging out in Gastown at the Old Faithful Shop (320 W Cordova St. Vancouver, BC)

 

 

3. Local Organic Chocolate (100% curly bow free!)

 

 

 

 

 

Giving chocolates to a guy requires thought: You don’t want it to be ordinary and you don’t want it to be an over-packaged curly bow disaster.

 

 

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Over the years, we’ve tasted our way through countless bars and truffles to find the very best organic fair trade chocolate B.C. has to offer. Reap the fruits of our “labour” with this delicious gift basket.

 

 

Add a meaningful story to the chocolates you give by ensuring that they’re organic, fair-trade, locally produced and packaged in forest friendly classiness. With our chocolate gift baskets, deliciousness meets responsibility in a gift that’s Saul Good.

 

 

4. Terrariums from the Olla Urban Flower Project

 

 

 

 

Terrariums are such a cool way to show your love. These glass creations are enclosed replicas of natural environments (deserts, rainforests etc.)

 

 

As you may know, Olla is a phenomenal social enterprise in Vancouver’s Downtwon East Side. Each arrangement is local, organic, environmentally responsible and socially responsible. Read more about Olla in our post, “Local Vancouver gifts as organic living art: Why we love The Olla Urban Flower Project”.

 

 

5. Tour of the Pemberton Distillery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try giving the gift of a day trip to BC’s best artisan distillery. It is a beautiful, fun and educational experience. Call the Pemberton Distillery in advance to book a guided tour. You get to learn about the magic of making handcrafted organic gin, vodka and whiskey. You might even get to meet the Willy Wonka’s of BC spirits (Tyler Schramm).

 

 

Read more about Tyler and the Pemberton Distillery in our post, “Local and Organic Alcohol Gift Ideas: The Pemberton Distillery Masters Handcrafted Spirits.”

We are Madly in Love with Cocolico Confections

14 Nov

At Saul Good Gift Co., we are spoiled by many opportunities to sample amazing local products in Vancouver and throughout BC. The complex process of selecting chocolates, toffee and confections requires thoughtful deliberation. When a product is featured in our gift baskets, it has been carefully selected as the absolute best in British Columbia. Cocolico products are delicious, locally made organic chocolates by Wendy Boys. They are a culmination of world-class chocolatier skills and a timeless award-winning passion. We originally met Wendy Boys last year and were impressed by her passion. When it comes to creating great gifts…it’s not just about skills, it’s about heart. Wendy exudes an appreciation of chocolate that you can taste in her products.

 

 

Like a true artisan, Wendy understands the importance of texture, subtle uniqueness and visual presentation. When Wendy made the switch over to using organic fair trade chocolate earlier this year, she sealed the deal on being one of our favourite suppliers for Saul Good chocolate gift baskets.  As avid Cocolico fans, we are ecstatic to be carrying some of her newest products! In addition to our vanilla salt caramels, dark chocolate sponge toffee and dark chocolate raspberry sauce, we have expanded our selection to include pretzel nut mix, classic butter salt caramels, organic milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars. All of these confections are easy to share and they are great compliments in many of our corporate gift baskets. The sweet & salty pretzel nut mix is my personal favourite. It consists of Wendy’s own Cocolico Burnt Caramel drenched over an assortment of pretzels, brazil nuts, cashews and roasted almonds.

 

 

Michelle (one of the Saul Good team members) describes Cocolico caramels as “Heaven in your mouth”. Wendy’s new chocolate bars are phenomenal and are featured in many of our holiday gift baskets. It was hard work deciding which ones to select. (Ok. We admit it…Our jobs are pretty delicious at times). Our chocolate gift baskets are now featuring the organic milk chocolate bar with salted toffee and hazelnuts. The best way to describe it is a skor bar fed to you by an angel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our gourmet gift baskets also feature the organic dark chocolate bar with blueberries and almonds, the organic dark chocolate bar with apricot and the almond and violet chocolate bar. This new take on the classic fruit and nut bar provides a unique experience to share through our corporate gifts. It will most likely start some great conversations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

denman_island_chocolates_organic_corporate_gifts_gift_baskets.jpg

Denman Island Chocolate wins organic chocolate taste test

12 Feb

Denman Island Chocolate were one of the first organic chocolate businesses in Canada and helped to lead the natural and organic food movement here in BC. Their founder Daniel is a great guy who has always been helpful to me with my business. Not only a nice guy, Daniel is a great chocolatier who makes damb tastey chocolate bars. A couple years ago I hosted an organic chocolate tasting party with a bunch of my friends and collegues who hands down chose Denman Island Chocolate as their favorite tasting chocolate bar!

Top 5 things we love about Denman Island Chocolate

  1. Namaste – their organic chocolate Buddha with hazelnut belly is rad. We like to throw those in random corporate gifts just for fun to put smiles on people’s faces
  2. Rich and smooth taste won the Saul Good chocolate taste test hands down
  3. Local ingredients – using local organic BC hazelnuts in some of their bars wins high praise with our standards
  4. Ride on! Daniel loads up his bike trailer with outgoing orders for shipping at the Denman Island post office, saweet.
  5. Roots natty roots – we totally respect how they were the first in what has become a growing and significant industry in the organic food movement.

Try out their products in some of our chocolate gift baskets and you won’t be disappointed!

cocoa_west_chocolatier_corporate_gift_baskets_organic_local.jpg

Cocoawest Chocolatier – the best organic chocolate truffles

02 Jan

We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from all our clients who give out our chocolate truffles. High quality hand made artisan organic chocolate truffles, fresh and made to order in Vancouver, BC. Joanne and Carlos are quite the working couple with Joanne’s masterful skills in the chocolate shop and Carlos’ friendly nature as the face on their deliveries to the city. Cocoawest has a really nice chocolate café and Bed & Breakfast on Bowen Island where they live and make their amazing products. Really popular this season were handmade wooden boxes, made from Mountain Pine Beetle and filled with Cocoawest truffles.

2_cocoa_west_chocolatier_corporate_gift_baskets_organic_local.jpg

Cocoawest Chocolatier – the best organic chocolate truffles

02 Jan

We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from all our clients who give out our chocolate truffles. High quality hand made artisan organic chocolate truffles, fresh and made to order in Vancouver, BC. Joanne and Carlos are quite the working couple with Joanne’s masterful skills in the chocolate shop and Carlos’ friendly nature as the face on their deliveries to the city. Cocoawest has a really nice chocolate café and Bed & Breakfast on Bowen Island where they live and make their amazing products. Really popular this season were handmade wooden boxes, made from Mountain Pine Beetle and filled with Cocoawest truffles.