Were you aware that Wild Sweets is one of the "24 best chocolatiers in the world" according to Chocolate - The Reference Standard. Moreover, it can be found right here in Richmond? Proprietors Dominique and Cindy Duby are also winners of the 4 consecutive 'Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America Awards from the International Chocolate Salon. So it was a real "treat" (sorry for the pun) that I was invited, along with others, to a tasting at their lab and retail store out on Hammersmith Way, South of the Coppersmith Shopping Centre.
If you were expecting just chocolates here, you might be surprised to see that they offer an array of desserts including Tartes containing housemade cookie, cream and fruit. The first one was the Lemon Custard Cream & white chocolate Chantilly. Nicely creamy and rich, the custard had a balanced amount of tang and sweetness. I found the Chantilly to be light and not as sweet as expected (which was a good thing). Next was something similar in the Raspberry Custard Cream with white chocolate Chantilly. Naturally, not as tart, but also still balanced, the raspberry was rather refreshing.
We had 2 more tartes including the Banana Custard Cream and Chocolate Cream, both with white chocolate Chantilly on top. Okay, I need to reiterate my bias against banana anything other than eating an actual banana (not too ripe) and the occassional banana bread. So this was a bit too pungent for me but I'm sure some will like it. As for the chocolate, well that was another story. It was rich and silky while purposefully sweet with a mild bitter finish. I rather enjoyed the sable cookie underneath as it fluffy while having an appealing sandiness to it.
From tartes, I moved onto the Mousse with crunchy rice topping, fruit and parfait. I absolutely loved the Milk Chocolate Mousse & Passionfruit Creme Brulee Cream. I thought this had really nice balance with the initial hit of tartness then giving way to the sweet chocolate and ending off on an appealing bitter note. Not pictured was the Raspberry Fruit Creme, but it was very similar to the passionfruit except not as tart. The Dark Chocolate Mousse was more focused, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing because it was silky, smooth and slightly sweet. There was a certain smoky finish the exuded depth. As much as the chocolate crisps on top were not house-made, they were certainly a nice textural contrast.
The last set of treats consisted of Ice Cream including the Pistachio Strawberry. This was a combination of strawberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream & pistachio butter parfait. I found the pistachio to be aromatic with a faint hint of saltiness giving way to the sweet and tart strawberries. The 2 other flavours were Hazelnut Passionfruit (passionfruit and apricot sorbet, chocolate ice cream & hazelnut butter parfait) and Peanut Butter (banana ice cream, chocolate ice cream and peanut butter parfait). Of the 2, I was surprised to have liked the peanut butter more, even though I prefer passionfruit. Something about the creaminess and although I'm not a huge fan of banana anything, the ice cream was subtle enough to blend in (not pictured though).
After these Prêt-á-Manger desserts, we were given a rundown of their chocolate creations in their retail store. There were so many items we tried that it would require another post! So I'll keep it short and sweet (pun intended). Some of the highlights were the Butter Toffee (think Almond Roca but better) and Dark Chocolate Bark. I really enjoyed the Fruit Macaron (pictured) since it wasn't overly sweet while the texture was on point. We were given some chocolate to take away as well and the Vanilla Bean Caramel, coffee & walnut dark chocolate. Hidden within the silky and bitter chocolate was little crunchy bits and a subtle hint of coffee. Loved how it wasn't sweet at all. Wild Sweets really surprised me as I plead ignorance before this particular tasting. Only wished it wasn't so far from me!
*All items were complimentary*
- Carefully crafted products
- Purposefully sweet
- Diverse selection
- For those who don't live in Richmond, location is a bit out there (although things can be shipped too)