celebrating Decadence Chocolates of Winnipeg

When you live in or near a small city with only one artisan chocolate shop, there is reason to celebrate when a new kid comes to town. Welcome Helen Staines, who opened her chocolate shop at 70 Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg in March, and celebrated the Grand Opening of Decadence Chocolates on April 9, 2016.

Helen Staines of Decadence Chocolates in Winnipeg

Helen Staines of Decadence Chocolates in Winnipeg

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Helen has lived in Winnipeg since 2001, accumulating a variety of experiences in the food industry that encouraged her to try her hand at making her own chocolate. With the flavour being excellent, but the presentation not being up to the standard she wished to present to customers, Helen took training via Ecole Chocolat, the Callebaut Institute, and one-on-one training with Jean-Marie Auboine of Las Vegas to up her game. The result is the marriage of passion and (near) perfection, and a truly delectable line of affordable chocolate products.

I had the great pleasure of first meeting Helen on April 8, 2016, and experienced a tasting of her creative confections, decadent brownies, chocolate bonbons and bars. I didn’t taste anything I didn’t like, but I did taste a few things I absolutely loved–most notably the Turtles on the Half Shell–a Helen Staines original creation that takes the chocolate turtle to a whole new level of chocolate perfection.

chocolate-turtles

The “Turtles on the Half Shell” (also called Lonely Turtles) of Decadence Chocolates are a fabulous variation of the original turtle chocolates made by Nestle.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile will likely recall my declaration of love for the dark chocolate turtles made by Christopher Elbow of Missouri and the milk chocolate macadamia turtle-type creations made by Big Island Candies of Hawaii.

Decadence Chocolates does something really cool in their turtles (also called “Lonely Turtles” in the shop) by using both milk and dark chocolate in these decadent creations. The shape and appearance is reminiscent of a devilled egg, or oysters on the half shell. The outer shell is made of thin milk chocolate shell that acts as a cradle for the inner sanctum of the turtle–a dark chocolate ganache nesting atop the delicious buttercream caramel (that doesn’t stick to your teeth) topped with two candied pecans. I actually ate three of these masterpieces in one sitting, which tells you just how good they are.

decadence-chocolates

A selection of Decadence Chocolates includes the ‘Turtle on the half shell’ on the right, the passion fruit chocolates (dark and milk) on the upper left, blue sea salt caramel, and Banoffee on its right.

I also have a passion for passion fruit truffles, and the ones I tasted at Decadence Chocolates were excellent, although I much preferred the dark chocolate with passion fruit jelly to the milk chocolate version with a passion fruit cream. I also loved the Banoffee truffles that Helen says are patterned after Banoffee, a classic English dessert pie made from bananas, cream, and dulce de leche. Decadence has a variety of chocolate bars done in different styles. I loved the dark chocolate Decadent Element Almond Bar featuring rice krispies and marshmallow cream. These bars are thick and substantial and downright delicious.

celebrating Decadence Chocolates of Winnipeg

Another thing I love about Decadence Chocolates is the open kitchen concept. I’ve seen this in many locations around the world and love the opportunity to watch the chocolate artisans at work. Alongside the kitchen is a glass wall with several small tables at which you can enjoy a decadent hot chocolate and a cookie, brownie, or chocolate treat.

Helen Staines making up some delicious candy in her kitchen at Decadence Chocolates.

Helen Staines making up some delicious candy in her kitchen at Decadence Chocolates. Helen’s warm smile and open kitchen concept are two of the reasons her shop stands out as a great place to shop for chocolate in Winnipeg.

Helen launched her bean-to-bar chocolates bars later in 2016. At this point in time, Helen is using exclusively cocoa beans from Venezuela to make her pure handcrafted single origin chocolate bars. But she does have plans to include additional origins as she forges relationships with cacao growers in other regions.

The 70% Venezuelan bar is made from Trinitario cacao beans that have been conched for 45 hours to get the texture ultra smooth. Three percent cocoa butter is infused to add even more creaminess to the texture and mouth feel of the chocolate.

Decadence Chocolate also offers four flavours of made-onsite ice cream including a passion fruit flavour during the summer, with a smaller selection available year-round. You’ll find a great selection of seasonal chocolate specialties year-round at Decadence Chocolates to help you celebrate whatever or whoever you love.

The chocolate scene in in Winnipeg is definitely expanding. In addition to Decadence Chocolates and Constance Popp Chocolatier offering up great artisanal chocolate, Aschenti Chocolate International has begun selling its bean-to-bar chocolate at various events and is another welcome addition to the local chocolate scene, with a shop soon to open. Stay tuned for a post about them in addition to Winnipeg’s original chocolate company, Mordens’ of Winnipeg, in the next few months.

 

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.

66 Responses

  1. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    This is great. I will check out Decadence Chocolates when I return to Winnipeg from my current travels.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Life in a Park ModelMy Profile

  2. lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, those turtles on the half-shell look wonderful and I like the fact that the caramel part doesn’t stick to your teeth.
    Thanks for sharing this – I wish Helen and Decadence Chocolates much success.

  3. Catarina says:

    Those pieces of chocolate look absolutely delicioius. Love the name Decadence Chocolates.
    Catarina recently posted…The best way to predict the future is to invent it!My Profile

  4. Thank you for letting us know about Decadence Chocolates, Doreen.
    Those chocolates look too beautiful to eat! Nice touch – tables where customers can sit, relax and enjoy a chocolate treat.
    Wishing Helen great success with her new venture!
    Margaret Ullrich recently posted…Anna Sultana’s Puffy Brunch Omelet with Berry Compote and Other FillingsMy Profile

  5. Sabrina Q.
    Twitter:
    says:

    The chocolate turtles look delicious. I’m a big fan of chocolate turtles and these look especially good. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Luc
    Twitter:
    says:

    Turtles on the half shell, sigh! sounds wonderful. Wish I lived closer . . . . .

  7. Wendy Peck says:

    Wonderful news, Doreen. Competition is a good thing in a city this size. I’ll look forward to doing some gift shopping there.

  8. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    Those chocolates look delicious! If I were there, I would over eat – no stopping at tasting one or two!

    I gravitate to interesting looking chocolates. In fact I am like a child when looking down on a whole box of “nice” chocolates. The excitement of discovering a new flavour.

    I am yet to visit a chocolate factory. It would make an ideal day out for chocolate lovers.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Where does your passion lay?My Profile

  9. A great post about a great new shop.
    I wish them luck, any small business has trouble establishing themselves and getting a clientele.
    thanks for sharing this with us.
    William Rusho recently posted…“Legend of the Mystic Knights”, is it the end of the saga?My Profile

  10. Arnette RTW
    Twitter:
    says:

    Yum!! Those look so delicious!!

  11. Those images are pretty tempting Doreen! I’m a long-time fan of Big Island Candies and it’s always a must stop whenever I’m over there. In fact, many of my clients have a standing order whenever I visit! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
    Marquita Herald recently posted…To Beat Stress Master Your TriggersMy Profile

  12. Erica says:

    Congrats to Helen on her new store. That is quite an undertaking. And those chocolate turtles look absolutely delicious. I’ve never been to Winnipeg, but if I’m ever in her part of the world, I will definitely check out this exciting, new store!
    Erica recently posted…The Real Way to Get Swimsuit Ready For SummerMy Profile

  13. Beverly says:

    Wow! I can’t wait to sit at one of those tables you described and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

  14. Amanda Le Rougetel
    Twitter:
    says:

    It’s a lovely shop, indeed. And a welcome addition to my near-neighbourhood. Just as well I can walk there, as I’ll need every step to walk off the delicious calories I will no doubt ingest from Helen’s kitchen!

  15. I love chocolate. This may actually give me a reason to visit Winnipeg!

  16. Kathy Andrew
    Twitter:
    says:

    Her chocolates sound fantastic. Hopefully her bars will be out in the US as well as Canada. Sadly we lost our chocolate shop last year so it’s down to san Francisco or find bits & bobs in specialty stores. I think I’ll survive with those:-)

  17. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    That open kitchen/window concept is wonderful!

    I remember one of my favourite childhood experiences was being able to watch the whole donut production line, so this brings back good memories 🙂

  18. Ah to the tastes you show us and tell us about! Looks like a wonderful shop to visit and hang out in for a bit. I’m going to have to check around Pittsburgh–other than Sarris’ Chocolates and Betsey Anne’s, I’m not sure we have actual Artisan shops here.
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Charleston, South Carolina – a Wonderful, Walkable CityMy Profile

  19. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hello Doreen, Those turtles look, and sound, divine! Wonder if she’ll have website for online ordering and shipping. That’d be SWEET! 🙂
    Susan cooper recently posted…Meyer Lemon Meringues: #RecipeMy Profile

    • Hi Susan: I imagine that down the road, Helen will begin shipping chocolate. But right now, I think you have to be nearby to get in on the action. Perhaps you’d like to come up and see me in Manitoba some time? I know we would have truly tasty adventures! 🙂

  20. Erin
    Twitter:
    says:

    Love this Doreen! Now all I can think about are those turtles! I am usually a milk chocolate kinda gal but combining the two sounds out of this world! I also love the fact that Helen is so passionate about what she does. It’s really incredible to see someone doing what they love and being so successful! Thanks for sharing this!

  21. Wowzer, what an awesome place to be! Back in the day, we used to call Turtles “conversation stoppers” because you just can’t talk when you’re eating them. It’s nice to know that in addition to being delicious, these turtles don’t stick to your teeth!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…How I got in touch with my inner motorcycle mavenMy Profile

  22. Mar Pages
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m reading this while eating a chocolate biscuit. Wish I had a dark chocolate passionfruit truffle in hand! I love the tang against the rich bitterness. Can’t wait for them to start shipping, sadly I’m quite a distance away.
    Mar Pages recently posted…6 travel clubs for exclusive hotels at over 30% offMy Profile

  23. Doreen — they all look delicious! I love chocolate but I have a friend who doesn’t. She must be the only person in the world. I always tell her it’s un-American not to love chocolate!

    • Hi Jeannette. There is the “odd” (occasional) person who doesn’t like chocolate. But I keep telling those people to explore and try different kinds of chocolate, as maybe it was the excess sugar or carnauba wax they didn’t like in cheap commercial chocolate. Or maybe it was the bitterness of inexpensive dark chocolate. But there are now SO many options that there really is some type of chocolate creation for everyone.

  24. Doreen, your posts always have a way of making me hungry… Those turtles look incredible and the open kitchen concept is very cool indeed! Wish I could give these treats a try.. maybe a visit to Winnipeg is in order haha 🙂
    Christina Guan recently posted…Stockholm in March: Photo DiaryMy Profile

  25. Ramona McKean
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen, if I was anywhere near Winnipeg, I’d sure try out some of these beautiful chocolates you’ve written about and shown in photos. Yum! 🙂
    Ramona McKean recently posted…Deja-Vus are Glitches in TimeMy Profile

    • Hi Ramona. I’d love to return to Victoria and explore the chocolate there! I recently sent 6 weeks in Lantzville, and we visited Nanaimo and many parts of the island. But somehow … on this most recent trip, I didn’t make it to Victoria. Hopefully, the opportunity will arise.

  26. Jerny
    Twitter:
    says:

    Uh, chocolates! Is this the only chocolate shop in town? I’ll have to visit this when I get there, but most likely, some shops would pop up by then. Will be there hopefully next year to explore!

  27. Im a huge fun of chocolate turtles. This one seems to be really delicious.

  28. Andy says:

    In the “A selection of Decadence Chocolates” image, at about 1 o’clock, there’s a small square of white chocolate with a chili pepper decoration on top, which reminds me…When I lived in New Orleans, I visited an ice cream parlor called “The Creole Creamery” (http://www.creolecreamery.com/) from time to time. The Creole Creamery semi-regularly makes a cayenne-laced Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream – just the sort of thing Helen should add to her menu, eh?

  29. Sanket D.
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but your posts always tempt me. The blue sea-salt one looks particularly interesting!
    Sanket D. recently posted…Digital Nomad Lessons: What I Learned from One Year on The RoadMy Profile

    • Hello Sanket. You will be sure to find the kind of chocolate you like if you try a wide variety of options. That is what I try to do on this site. In addition to the chocolate travel temptations and advice, I try to make people aware of the wide variety of chocolate artisans who are each creating unique chocolate products.

  30. I like you can watch them make them! And they look like they are having such a good time- and why wouldn’t you really if that was your job!
    Elizabeth recently posted…15 Terrific Gift Ideas for Travelers that Love FoodMy Profile

  31. The chocolates looks sooo delicious. I believe they taste so yummy too. I wonder if how does it feel to have a chocolate factory on your neighborhood, can you smell the sweet aroma of it? That could be so awesome!

  32. Jessica
    Twitter:
    says:

    Another great story of bean-to-bar initiator! I will be looking forward to her ‘bittersweet’ chocolate journey. Looks cool to grew up in a town with single artisan chocolate – you can easily be one-of-a-kind chocolatier/maker. Hehe
    Jessica recently posted…10 Backpacking Tips in Israel for FilipinosMy Profile

  33. Joe Ankenbauer
    Twitter:
    says:

    Yummm! The Turtles in a half shell look amazing! I love chocolate! It’s awesome to see places like this that pride themselves in creating the best! You’re very lucky to have this nearby Doreen!
    Joe Ankenbauer recently posted…Chasing Poppies: California Poppy FestivalMy Profile

  34. Open kitchen for chocolates? That’s something really interesting and I never heard about this before! Thanks for sharing another chocolate adventure!

  35. Absolutely, Trisha! Open concept kitchens are becoming more popular, as people really DO want to see how their favourite products are made, and that is no different with respect to chocolate. Plus … the smell factor really enhances your enjoyment!

  36. Psychic Nest says:

    Hi Doreen,

    When I saw the photo, my first thought was “Those chocolate creations are so cute!” then the second thought was “If only I was there to try them all!”. I can’t pick only one, they all look fantastic and I bet they taste even better! Thank you for sharing this yummy experience with us!

    Zaria
    Psychic Nest recently posted…Reincarnation and the AfterlifeMy Profile

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