celebrating Decadence Chocolates of Winnipeg

Helen Staines opened her chocolate shop at 70 Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg in March of 2016, and celebrated the Grand Opening of Decadence Chocolates on April 9, 2016. Since then, there have been a number of other players on the Winnipeg chocolate scene, but none with the fun-loving nature that Helen puts into her chocolate creations.

Helen Staines of Decadence Chocolates in Winnipeg

Helen Staines of Decadence Chocolates in Winnipeg truly brings joy to the chocolate she creates.

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 just prior to her grand opening, 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 (also called “Lonely Turtles”) that takes the chocolate turtle originated by Nestlé to a whole new level of chocolate perfection.


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 “Lonely Turtles” by using both milk and dark chocolate in these decadent creations. The shape and appearance is reminiscent of a devilled egg, or an oyster on the half shell. The outer shell is made of thin milk chocolate 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.


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. The Element Bars are thick and substantial and downright delicious. I enjoyed every variety I tried. And whenever we’re in the mood for something spicy, the Firecracker chocolate really hits the mark with a gentle heat.

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 in late 2016 using cocoa beans from Venezuela. But more recently, has refocused on her strength in the more playful side of chocolate.

Decadence Chocolate offers four flavours of made-on-site ice cream including a passion fruit flavour during the summer, with a smaller selection available year-round. The ice-cream is available in 26-ounce takeout containers to enjoy at home. You’ll find a great selection of seasonal chocolate specialties year-round at Decadence Chocolates to help you celebrate whatever or whoever you love–including the crazy popular “Lumps of Coal” chocolate bombs for off-the-chart hot chocolate.

If you’re a caramel lover as I am, don’t miss the delicious caramels of Decadence Chocolates. We love the Mixed Caramels selection that includes sea salt, coffee, and brown butter pecan handmade caramels that are crazily delicious, creamy, not too sweet, and don’t stick to your teeth.

The chocolate scene in in Winnipeg is noteworthy. In addition to Decadence Chocolates and Confections Inc., Winnipeg is home to Constance Popp Chocolatier of St. Boniface. And as of 2018, there’s also the Melt Chocolate Company to explore. Every Winnipegger knows our city’s iconic chocolate company, Mordens’ of Winnipeg, that will be celebrating 65 years of chocolate and confection-making in 2024. It’s wonderful to see such quality players in the Manitoba chocolate scene and providing many opportunities to #ShopLocalMB.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

66 Responses

  1. 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!

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  2. 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!

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

  4. 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!
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  5. Jessica 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
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  6. 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!

  7. 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!
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  8. Sanket D. 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.

  9. 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?

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

  11. Jerny 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!

  12. 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! 🙂
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    • 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.

  13. 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 🙂
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  14. 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.

  15. Mar Pages 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.
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  16. 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!
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  17. Erin 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!

  18. Hello Doreen, Those turtles look, and sound, divine! Wonder if she’ll have website for online ordering and shipping. That’d be SWEET! 🙂
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    • 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! 🙂

  19. 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.
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  20. Chris 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 🙂

    • Hi Chris. Yes, I think you’ve nailed it when you say that we remember the experiences of watching something we love being made. It adds another dimension to the experience. Thx for stopping by.

  21. 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:-)

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

  23. Amanda Le Rougetel 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!

  24. Beverly says:

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

  25. 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!
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  26. 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. 🙂
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  27. Yum!! Those look so delicious!!

  28. 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.
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  29. Phoenicia 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

  30. 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.

  31. Luc says:

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

  32. Sabrina Q. says:

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

  33. 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!
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  34. Catarina says:

    Those pieces of chocolate look absolutely delicioius. Love the name Decadence Chocolates.
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    • Thx for your comment, Catarina. Yes, Helen is doing a nice job with the chocolate designs. I’m sure as time goes on, even more creativity will flow and flourish at Decadence Chocolates.

  35. lenie 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.

    • Hi Lenie and thx for your comment. Yes, Helen learned from the best. Jean-Marie Auboine of Las Vegas makes my favourite caramels. They are buttery creamy and delicious and they don’t stick to your teeth.

  36. This is great. I will check out Decadence Chocolates when I return to Winnipeg from my current travels.
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