This past weekend saw the finale of EAT! Vancouver, an annual food-centric celebration of Canadian chefs and cuisines. New to EAT! Vancouver for 2017 was EAT! Pastry, which is where I found myself last Saturday. With 18 participating patisseries and chocolatiers on-board, how many decadent desserts did it take to induce a sugar coma?
Walking into a large ballroom at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, I was greeted with a menu for the day and tables to walk up to and mingle with the chefs. The desserts were as follows:
- Thomas Haas - Pur Noir
- Nadège Patisserie - Assortment of Gourmandises
- Chez Christophe - Assorted Petits Fours
- Valhrona Chocolates - Bahibe Pecan Praline Truffle
- Patrice Patissier - Maple Sugar and Buckwheat Financier
- BETA5 - Douglas Fir Cream Puffs
- Cadeaux Bakery - Pistachio & Raspberry Opera Cake
- Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel - Cranberry Sacher Torte
- Beaucoup Bakery - Petit Chocolate Orange Double Bake and Chocolate Tart
- Temper Pastry - Matcha Yuzu Cake
- CinCin - Ducey and Duck Fat Caramel Bonbon
- thierry - Opera Cake and Coconut Chocolate Truffles
- Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts - Chocolate Mousse/Chocolate Cookie
- 49th Parallel/Lucky's - Chocolate Sourdough Doughnuts
- Gem Chocolates - Ganache-filled Chocolates
- Karat Chocolate - Chocolate-filled Bonbons
- Chocolate Arts - Chocolate Bonbons
- Miku - Green Tea Opera Cake with Salted Matcha
Thomas Haas himself was at this event serving up some pur noirs soon to be found instores. This was a decadent treat featuring smooth layers of chocolate atop a crunchy sweet biscuit.
Thomas Haas - Pur Noir
Nadège Patisserie (from Toronto) was on-board with a ton of different treats. By the time I got around, the best-looking ones were these financiers with smooth cream and a gold-flecked raspberry on top. Kudos to these folks for piping out hundreds of consistent financiers.
Nadège Patisserie - Financiers
From Chez Christophe were the petits fours, 4 desserts at one booth! The chocolate tart here (pictured: bottom-right) was the most unique with its smooth cocoa bulb enclosed by a perfectly rounded shell.
Chez Christophe - Petits Fours
Valhrona Chocolates was serving up their bahibe pecan praline truffles. Man the presentation here was gorgeous with every tart in uniform. Chocolate decadence at its finest.
Valhrona Chocolates - Bahibe Pecan Praline Truffles
Patrice Patissier (from Montreal) came up with his Maple Sugar and Buckwheat Financier. These were moist and had a sweet jelly finish on top.
Patrice Patissier - Maple Sugar and Buckwheat Financier
BETA5 were on with their classic cream puffs – this time in a douglas fir flavour. Presentation was on point with the chocolate stumps and the taste very balanced with the chocolate sticks and fluffy cake bit on the whipped cream.
BETA5 - Douglas Fir Cream Puffs
From Cadeaux Bakery was their Pistachio & Raspberry Opera Cake. Layers for days! This had a great blend of flavours but I think some folks would have preferred the cake layers to be more moist as the flavour profile was quite heavy with the pistachio.
Cadeaux Bakery - Pistachio Raspberry Opera Cake
Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel was the host venue of EAT! Pastry so it's appropriate they got their own booth serving up their Cranberry Sacher Tortes. I'm not sure if because their kitchen was closer than any of the other shops, but this tasted really good. The moist cake was finished off with poise from the candied ginger stalk.
Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel - Cranberry Sacher Tortes
Beaucoup Bakery was a double contender with their Petit Chocolate Orange Double Bake and Chocolate Tart. The double bakes looked glorious with the dusting of autumn colours and the chocolate tarts elegantly poised on a stand.
Petit Chocolate Orange Double Bake
Temper Pastry (from West Vancouver) had their matcha yuzu cake on hand. I'd actually tasted the full size cake in one of my previous visits. No change in opinion here. I thought it looked pretty but personally would have preferred more matcha dusting on top.
Temper Pastry - Matcha Yuzu Cake
Hailing as one of Vancouver's fanciest eateries, CinCin was also at EAT! Pastry featuring their Ducey and Duck Fat Caramel Bonbon. I'm not too crazy about bonbons but inserting duck fat into a bonbon and still having it taste good is worthy of chocolatiering respect.
CinCin - Ducey and Duck Fat Caramel Bonbon
From thierry came an Opera Cake and Coconut Chocolate Truffles. A second opera cake! Unlike the others, this was enclosed in a chocolate shell. If you can imagine a Snickers bar done by a professional chocolatier and pastry chef, this opera cake would be the product.
thierry - Opera Cake
thierry - Coconut Chocolate Truffles
From the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts was a hybrid Chocolate Mousse/Chocolate Cookie. This was one of my favourites of the day as the creamy swirl and textured body demanded I take a second one. Alas, there were 17 other booths to visit.
Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts - Chocolate Mousse/Chocolate Cookie
49th Parallel's baking unit, otherwise known as Lucky's Doughnuts, served up a Chocolate Sourdough Doughnut, served in their signature boxes. This was my first time having a sourdough doughnut and it was pretty interesting! I'll have to visit their store to get a second whiff and possibly try other flavours. The doughiness of this combined with a sour zing made for an interesting doughnut dessert.
49th Parallel/Lucky's - Chocolate Sourdough Doughnut
One of Vancouver's lesser-hyped chocolatiers, Gem Chocolates was on with their own take of Ganache-filled Chocolates. Unlike cakes that are shelled with a layer of ganache, these chocolates were actually filled with the ganache. I loved the ruby red look of these jewel-like chocolates.
Gem Chocolates - Ganache-Filled Chocolates
Karat Chocolate (from Kelowna, BC) had Chocolate-filled Bonbons. These had an iridescent glow to them, further enhanced by the fact they were sitting on a real (and clean) tree trunk and the "rocks" accompanying them were edible!
Karat Chocolate - Chocolate-Filled Bonbons
Rounding out the bonbon collection of booth was Chocolate Arts. These bonbons had a unique shape like an almost casing. As each bonbon was larger than the round ones I'd seen this day, I'd be curious to try out their other creations. Like any sustainable chocolatier, these bonbons were served on real boards of chocolate.
Chocolate Arts - Chocolate Bonbons
Last but not least, another fine-dining eatery showed up. Miku and their Green Tea Opera Cake with Salted Matcha made the rounds. In the restaurant this is actually served with a side of matcha ice cream. I guess keeping ice cream cold in the middle of a ballroom is a tall task, so the ice cream was omitted from these cakes. For the matcha lovers out there, this was the dessert to have, even if the cake was a little saggy compared to the other opera cakes.
Miku - Green Tea Opera Cake with Salted Matcha
Taking place inside the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, EAT! Pastry was an event to take in slowly. With 18 booths, I could already feel myself slowing down after sampling 10 of them. I loved that guests were able to try as many desserts as they liked and converse with the chefs behind the treats. Tea and water stations were on-hand to take care of guests' appetites.
It was however, a little hard to stomach everything this event had to offer, and my sugar coma began as soon as I left the venue. Unlike savoury foods, I find most people have a smaller dessert capacity (hard to believe, I know). If there was some way of organizing takeout boxes to handle leftovers, I think this event would elevate to the next level of decadent deliciousness. This was a freeroaming event, so I think some sort of passport system would help keep portions per guest under control if they were to go that route next year.
Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel - EAT! Pastry Venue
One-liner: All of Vancouver's (and a few more outside the 604) best chocolatiers/patisseries and desserts in one room
Highlight: PICA's Chocolate Mousse/Chocolate Cookie
Worth $79? Absolutely, given how long it would take to visit each of these chocolatiers/patisseries and how much places like CinCin and Miku charge for their desserts
Would I go back? Yes, with a plan of how to eventually eat everything (EAT! Vancouver taking suggestions? Takeout boxes, please!).