celebrating Chocolate Mint Day with Mordens’ Chocolate

I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and like pretty much everyone in Manitoba, ate my share of Mordens’ Russian Mints whenever it was time for special chocolate.

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Mordens’ of Winnipeg are the creators of the Russian Mints that combine the flavours of chocolate and mint in a creamy meltaway milk chocolate. What a great way to celebrate Chocolate Mint Day every February 19th!

These milk chocolate rectangles are enhanced with mint oil for that perfect chocolate/mint experience. I would love to see them made just a bit smaller, as at their current size, they are a tad too big to put in my mouth at once, and as you want to let it melt slowly in your mouth, what do you do with the other half? (My husband happily took the other half of my Russian Mint off my hands so that I didn’t have to worry about that.)

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Fred Morden stands by one of the copper kettles used to make Mordens’ confections.

Mordens’ of Winnipeg was opened in 1959 by Fred’s father Blake Morden, the same year that present-day CEO Fred Morden (Junior) was born. Fred is named after his grandfather, Fred Morden (Senior), and spent many years working alongside his father and grandfather in the family business. “When my Dad started this business, peanut brittle was our major product,” says Fred Jr.

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Peanut Brittle is still a favourite product of many customers at Mordens’ of Winnipeg, a chocolatier and custom nut roasting shop run by Fred Morden and his sister Cara Parry.

“I was the kid who bent the hard candy to make candy canes,” said Fred, reflecting back on his early years of helping out in the family business after school and on weekends.

mordens chocolate celebrates 58 years of serving winnipeg

Today, the company has 25 staff, and is making a wide range of chocolates, confections, and roasted nuts that are available at Sobey’s stores throughout Manitoba and other select locations including the Winnipeg International Airport.

But despite the fact that Mordens’ products are available at a large number of retailers around the province, the bulk of the company’s sales are made from their factory location at 674 Sargent Avenue in the West End of Winnipeg. “Seventy-five percent of our total sales are made right here at our Sargent Avenue location,” says Fred. “And of that, the Russian Mints are our biggest seller, representing about sixty percent of the company’s total sales.” Peanut brittle and toasted coconut marshmallows are other long-time favourites of Mordens’ customers.

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Aren’t these cute? And they taste as good as they look. Mordens’ Bear Claws are among my favourite made-in-Manitoba confections.

But that doesn’t stop Mordens’ from coming up with new creations to entice their customers. I fell in love with the “Bear Claws,” a disc of soft caramel topped with a thin layer of hardened vanilla ganache, and adorned with salted roasted cashews to signify the bear’s claws.

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Mordens’ of Winnipeg loves to decorate their shop for every seasonal event. The chocolate bunnies are already starting to multiply in anticipation of Easter!

I think many Manitobans are like me, and have driven by the Sargent Avenue location of Mordens’ Chocolate in Winnipeg many times, but have never taken the time to stop in. But now that I’ve been, and have taken the time to taste my way through the offerings, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and the experience of once again feeling like a kid in a candy store! I encourage you to do the same, the next time you find yourself in the West End of Winnipeg.

And if you live in Manitoba’s Interlake region, please join us on May 12th for a Chocolatour to Winnipeg that will include a visit to Mordens’ and the chance to meet Fred for yourself.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

63 Responses

  1. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love Morden’s Russian mints. I haven’t tried the bear claws. I will have to. They look like they could become a new favourite.

  2. Susan Cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    What a cool looking place. I agree those chocolate bear claws are really cute.

    Mint with chocolate is always a winner in my mind.

  3. Laverne says:

    Love the Russian mints from Morden’s! Always so creamy and delicious!

  4. Beverly says:

    I, too, have loved Morden’s Russian mints for many years. These mints truly melt in your mouth and are a great gift to take to people who do not live in Winnipeg. They are one of my favourite chocolates. My mother loved the coconut covered marshmallow, so your blog post has taken me on a trip down memory lane as well. Thanks for including the photo of their shop. It certainly looks inviting and I plan to stop in there when I am in Winnipeg.

  5. Catarina says:

    Fantastic pictures that makes me crave chocolate. Morden’s mints sound divine.

  6. Wendy Peck says:

    I didn’t grow up in Manitoba, so my first taste of the Russian Mints was just last week. It would be criminal to do anything but let them melt on your tongue. Won’t be my last.

  7. TammyJo Eckhart
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love celebrating “Fun Food Holidays”! Thanks for this one.

  8. TammyJo Eckhart
    Twitter:
    says:

    Every month on my blog I try to put out a ‘Chocolate Calendar” for folks.

  9. How lovely that you have this special place! I grew up with “Peppermint Patties” and they are still around. Quite often, they are at the check-out counter in a store, and you pay for each little patty, by donation, with the minimum (suggested) price being 50c each. The money then goes to a local charity–so it’s a win for everyone. A little taste of mint chocolate for me, and some money for charity.
    In the early 90s Girl Guides of Canada started selling a mint chocolate cookie, but they are usually only available around Christmas. I wish they’d sell them all year. I like them much better than the regular GG cookies. I’ll have to look around and see if I can find something similar to Morden’s here. All of those treats look wonderful!

  10. Margaret Anne Fehr says:

    Moved to Milton, Ontario from Winnipeg almost five years ago and when I think of things I miss most about Manitoba, Morden’s Russian Mints quickly comes to mind. So elegant and smooth with an unforgettable flavor. YUM! I’m still surprised that they are not to be found beyond the border and still remain one of Manitoba’s best kept secrets! Doreen, in your research, did you uncover why they are called Russian mints? Must be a story behind that!

    • Hi Margaret and thx for your comment. Fred Morden has made it clear that he is content focusing on chocolate and candy/nut lovers of Manitoba, but believes that it is likely that the next generation of Morden leaders will take it to the next level and increase distribution. Good Q about the source of the Russian Mints name. I will seek out the A and advise.

  11. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    The peanut brittle looks tasty. I have such a sweet tooth.
    Gees – confectionery business owners go to town to mark the various events throughout the year. Marketing certainly comes into play.

    • Hi Phoenicia and thanks for your comment. Yes, marketing does indeed come into play when you have any business, but I suppose it is critical for consumable products, where people tend to be more finicky. I definitely commend a business like Mordens’ that has withstood the test of time.

  12. Linda Strange says:

    Mmmemories of Mordens.
    Both my Grandmother’s and my Mom-in-Law’s favourite were the toasted coconut marshmallows.
    My personal favourite is dark chocolate-covered ginger.Each are supreme tests of my will-power. Can I stop at 2??

  13. Mina Joshi
    Twitter:
    says:

    I like chocolates with mint so would love Morden’s mints. It’s lovely to read about the family and how they started. There aren’t so many family confectioners left any more.

  14. Suzanne Boles
    Twitter:
    says:

    Never tried them but chocolate with mint is my favourite! Yum. 🙂

  15. Maryanne says:

    Russian Mints….wonder how they got their name…always a seasonal ‘go to’. Also luv the coconut toasted mushmallows….mmmmm

  16. Cathy Smolinski says:

    My Aunt & Uncle introduced me to the Russian Mints a few years back. They are the perfect blend of chocolate and mint flavour! Now, maybe selfish, a box at Christmas from them is expected! Like most people on this post, I have never stopped in nor tried their vast array of goodies. Sounds like a great place to stop in when I have out of town guests that always want a “Winnipeg” experience

  17. Laurel Sarginson says:

    Received some for Christmas! Like old friends..

  18. Pat says:

    Always enjoyed them when I lived in Winnipeg. Was lucky on my last trip to have purchased a few boxes at the airport. Made me a big hit at the office. Bearclaws will be on the list when I come back to visit

  19. Marlene Van Helden says:

    Nice to read about Morden’s in Winnipeg. I used to visit the store regularly to buy the Russian Mints as gifts, especially for my mother. I do like their new box and really like the size of these mints because I can take 3 delicious bites and the enjoyment is that much longer. Good for Mordens that the family business is still operating and continues to offer past and new favorites – thank you!!

  20. Sandy
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow! I had never heard of Morden’s of Winnipeg! I have cousins from Winnipeg so will have to share this with them. I’m sure they must have eaten plenty of Morden’s treats over the years. Those Russian Mints look delicious…and those bear paws – adorable! Looks like some Morden’s treats are a must-try next time I’m in Winnipeg!

  21. Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oooh, I lived in Belgium for 11 years so I’m pretty obsessed with chocolate. These look amazing and I’m adding them to my to-do list 🙂

  22. OMG those bear claws look amazing!! Def shouldn’t have read this at 37 weeks pregnant lol — craving ALL the chocolate

  23. Arienne
    Twitter:
    says:

    You had me at chocolate 😀 Add this to my list of reasons to visit Winnipeg!! And toasted coconut marshmallows?? Wow! Sweet-tooth heaven!

  24. Sushmita
    Twitter:
    says:

    Sound delicious like always 😀
    Would love to try all of them one day.

  25. I love the idea of popping right into the factory to buy these chocolates–ah, to the freshness of them…melting in our mouths. Yum! The bear claws are way too cute.

  26. Jen Monks
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh my goodness! Chocolate and mint is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. I think trying Mordens’ Russian Mints need to be on my list of things to do in Winnipeg. I would love to try the marshmallows and peanut brittle too. Thanks for the exposure to such wonderful delights.

  27. You know, as I was reading about Morden’s and enjoying your beautiful photos it occurred to me that aside from the obvious art and craftsmanship of this business, they bring such joy to the world. What a lovely way to make a living, always knowing that you bring smiles to the people you serve. 🙂

  28. Between Morden’s Russian mints and the bear claws, I may have to rethink curbing my sweet tooth Doreen.

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  30. Erica says:

    I’ve never heard of Morden’s chocolate mints before. But they sound yummy. I remember getting chocolate mint candies in restaurants as a kid. There would often be a bowl of them on the way out. I forgot how good those are. I imagine Morden’s candies are even better.

  31. Tami
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve never heard of Mordens or the Russian mints, but I know I’d love them because that’s my favorite flavor combination. The bear claws are a unique combination too, and they seem very appropriate coming from Manitoba! I love that your entire blog is devoted to chocolate. I just learned there’s a relatively new chocolatier near our home with weekly tours, so I’m planning to check it out!

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