Since I started working downtown, I’ve been wanting to try Mink Chocolates but was never able to find a good time to drop by (they close too early on weekdays to make it happen). During the Hot Chocolate Festival earlier this month, I finally made the effort to swing by. It was the only chocolate shop I visited during the festival.
Of the two offerings, I opted for The Sheba – ganache hot chocolate with pistachio. There’s an option of milk or dark chocolate, and I chose milk.
I had to order it to-go. However, I took a sip almost immediately after I received it, to make sure I was trying it at its best form. It was rich and creamy, like drinking a bar of melted milk chocolate, with some additional boiled milk. I wasn’t sure if I could taste any pistachio, though. It may be very subtle, too subtle for me to tell apart. I don’t think the pistachio flavour was prominent enough to call it The Sheba. And it’s certainly not a cheap cup of hot chocolate, and I would prefer it to be slightly hotter. The accompanying 72% dark chocolate wafer demonstrated to me that Mink has some good quality chocolate, which brings us to the 2nd reason why I went to Mink.
My visit was two-fold. I recently purchased a couple of the Sheba Dark Chocolate Bars via a daily deal site. It’s part of its test kitchen product so they were selling them at a discount ($2 instead of $6.25). I used that as an opportunity to try out Mink’s chocolate bars. This also explained why I ordered my hot chocolate milk instead of dark. I would’ve preferred dark but since I was trying the same flavour of chocolate bar in dark, I changed it up so the hot chocolate was milk. Because it’s a R&D product, it didn’t have the pretty, artistic packaging that all of its chocolate bars have. It’s just wrapped in tinfoil and a plastic bag with a Mink sticker.
The verdict? I had the same confused feeling about the chocolate bar like I did with the hot chocolate. The chocolate was good, but once again I couldn’t taste the pistachio. I would like to think that pistachio has a distinctive, nutty flavour; and I would like to think that I have some sensitive palate to tell it apart. I think it might have to do with the fact that the pistachio pate was not evenly distributed at the bottom of the bar. Some pieces were filled with pistachio, but some barely had any.
In the end, what I could conclude is that Mink has good quality chocolate, but the flavouring might be too subtle for my liking. I might try some more flavours before I form a concrete opinion about them. Having said that, while I appreciate artisan chocolate, I think Mink’s products are a bit too expensive to make it regular treat for myself.
Mink Chocolates (Downtown)
863 West Hastings Street, Vancouver