Chocolatouring in North Vancouver

I have close friends who live in North Vancouver, so I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many times. On my most recent trip, I had the opportunity to discover two new (to me) chocolatiers worth checking out and had a great time exploring the waterfront.

north-vancouver

This is the view from my friends’ balcony in North Vancouver. You see the seabus on the left. It looks tiny compared to the massive red working freighter in the centre of the photo. In the background, you see the white sails of Canada Place and the cruise ship terminal.

For those of you unfamiliar with North Vancouver, it can most easily be accessed from downtown Vancouver via the seabus–a passenger-only ferry that crosses the Burrard Inlet from downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver every 15 minutes during the workday and every 30 minutes after 9 pm until the wee hours seven days a week. It’s now super easy and affordable to take the Canada Line rail service from Vancouver airport in Richmond, British Columbia, to the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, hop the seabus and be over in North Vancouver within 37 minutes–12 minutes in the sea bus and 25 minutes on the Canada Line. This link gives you the sea bus schedule.

lonsdale-quay

Lonsdale Quay (symbolized by the Q in the photo) is a landmark in North Vancouver. It is where the seabus terminal is, the hub for local buses, a large market of fresh goods (including some chocolate), lots of restaurants, and a waterfront hotel. It’s relaxing to sit here and watch the ships coming and going.

My friends live in a penthouse on Lonsdale Avenue so they have a magnificent view of the downtown Vancouver cruise ship terminal at Canada Place. It’s amazing how efficient public transportation is in Vancouver, and how quickly it can connect you to the world at large! But over on the “North Shore” as it’s called, the pace is far from hectic. It’s laid back, there are lots of nice small shops to explore, and you feel relaxed, as part of a welcoming community in a small city … far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver. Greater Vancouver has a population of 2.5 million, making it the third largest metropolitan region in Canada, but you’d never know it, standing on the North Shore, watching the world go by.

daniel-chocolates

Daniel Chocolates has a North Vancouver location on Upper Lonsdale that is a great stop for some European-style chocolates and a coffee.

Lonsdale is a great street to familiarize yourself with in North Vancouver, as it runs straight from the water in Lower Lonsdale, to the foot of the mountains in Upper Lonsdale. You can walk the length of it in an hour or less, or you can hop a bus and travel the entire distance in a matter of minutes. Up near the top of the hill at 1667 Lonsdale, I discovered Daniel Chocolates, a welcoming chocolate cafe where you can get some beautiful chocolate creations done in the Belgian tradition. I loved their sea salt caramels that come in the decorative box below. Daniel Chocolates (also known as Daniel Le Chocolat Belge) was founded in 1981 by Master Chocolatier Daniel Poncelet. There are several other Daniel Chocolates locations in British Columbia and a location in Etobicoke, Ontario. Daniel’s products are also sold at select retail locations elsewhere in Canada. Check their website for a full list.

daniel-chocolates

Daniel Chocolates sells an assortment of sea salt caramels in this beautiful mermaid-adorned box.

Chocolatouring in North Vancouver doesn’t end with chocolate! If you’re a tea lover and chocolate lover as I am, you may already know that Rooibos tea goes very well with chocolate. I discovered the amazing Mocha tea at Tea Time located close by to Daniel’s at 1418 Lonsdale that boasts flavours of Ethiopian coffee and cocoa mingled with caramel, butterscotch, and calendula petals. How I wish I’d bought more of it!

mocha-tea

The Mocha Rooibos tea from Tea Time in North Vancouver pairs perfectly with chocolate.

I meandered back down the hill and made my way to Coconama Chocolate located at 264 East 1st Street (just a short walk off Lonsdale.) This is a gem of a place, as Takanori, his wife Kayoko, and their smiling staff make Nama chocolate in the Japanese tradition, in addition to making award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate under their Coco-Labo label. I really loved the 70% Belize dark chocolate bar that contains only cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and cane sugar. It won awards from the International Chocolate Academy in 2017 and 2018.

coconama-chocolate

Taka is the co-owner of Coconama Chocolate located in North Vancouver. You’ll find Coconama products at more than 300 farmer’s markets throughout the Vancouver area in addition to more than 30 retail locations including Whole Foods.

Nama chocolate is made in the Japanese tradition and is very different from any other kind of chocolate I’ve ever eaten. It is a form of ganache made from fresh cream and cocoa that have been heated with butter, stirred until smooth, and then poured into a square flat pan and frozen for six hours. The frozen Nama chocolate is cut into tiny cubes and dusted with cocoa powder. The result is a silky smooth treat that can be flavoured with fruit, vegetables, spices, coffee, or tea. I loved the dairy free Yuzu flavour. Yuzu is a type of Japanese lemon and the Nama chocolate contains some of the Yuzu zest that adds a surprise texture to each piece. Coconama makes more than 30 different flavours of Nama Chocolate.

north-vancouver-chocolate

There are a few other options for chocolate in North Vancouver, and quite a few amazing chocolate companies throughout Vancouver. This post I wrote a number of years ago give you information on those.

exploring-north-vancouver

Chocolatouring throughout Vancouver is fun and offers a surprising array of flavours to enjoy. If you want to walk off your indulgences, take a hike up in Lynn Canyon. You can walk the suspension bridge and enjoy the magnificence of the towering Douglas Fir trees within minutes from the city. These are just some of the reasons I love North Vancouver and Vancouver as a whole. Have you been there?

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.

33 Responses

  1. Pat says:

    Your visit was wonderful and thank you for introducing us to our new favourite afternoon activity -High tea and chocolate (or wine).

  2. Oh you made me a bit homesick with this post as Vancouver used to be such a quick and easy getaway for us. Well, quick depending on the lines at the border crossing that is. Lonsdale is one of our favorite spots and love the views back at the city. Great trip down Memory Lane – thanks!

  3. I’m sure the chocolates were yummy but I love the artwork on the box. What a perfect gift!

  4. We were in Lonsdale Quay for a very brief stopover to buy a backpack that I needed but in July we will be in Vancouver for a week! Hope to visit these chocolate places.

  5. Kemkem says:

    North Vancouver and chocolate sound like a most awesome combination. Sea salt caramel…yum!!! My two visits to Vancouver years ago were so enjoyable. I would definitely do it again, and have some chocolate :-).

  6. Ah, and there you are with another place on my North American bucket list–the list never gets any smaller, no matter how much I travel. You keep giving me new places to explore. The North Shore sounds exactly like my … cup of tea!

  7. I always learn so much about chocolate when I read your posts. I had no idea there was a Japanese way of making chocolate! Very interesting!

  8. Phoenicia says:

    What a beautiful view your friend has from her balcony! The corporate world just across the water and the water just before her.

    I could not stop looking at the square slab of nama chocolate – I believe it was calling me!

    Did you walk across the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge? It looks like an adventure!

    • Hi Phoenicia and thanks for your comment. Yes, indeed I walked across the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. But on a previous visit. On the recent trip, I was more into caregiver role as my friend and her husband were in need of assistance. But I managed to find time to take in a little chocolate shopping on the side! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Chocolatouring in North VancouverMy Profile

  9. Beverly says:

    I visited Vancouver many years ago. Your vibrant account of various venues is urging me to visit Vancouver again with one of my goals being searching for chocolate.

  10. Margaret Anne Fehr says:

    Another superb slice of life, Doreen! I wasn’t aware that Japan has a chocolate producer. Along with language, food (in this case) chocolate gives remarkable insights into the heart and soul of global citizens.

    • Hi Margaret and thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights. Yes, I was quite amazed that when attending the world Chocolate Masters Championships in Paris in 2009, that the global winner was from Japan! The Japanese are always at the forefront of all things innovative. Speaking of being a chocolate global citizen, I hope you’ve saved January 11-19th for me and that you’ll join us on the inaugural Chocolatour to Costa Rica. It will be incredible! I’ll be posting the details over the weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Chocolatouring in North VancouverMy Profile

  11. Tami Wilcox says:

    Pretty sure I’d have to walk a lot further than just in Lynn Canyon to walk off the amount of chocolate I’d want to eat! Still, how could I resist Belgium chocolate and Japanese-style chocolate? They both sound amazing!

  12. Donna Janke says:

    I’ve been to North Vancouver a few times, but can’t remember if I visited any of these chocolate places. I know for sure I did not get to Coconama Chocolate. I’d like to try the Nama chocolate. I didn’t know about the Japanese tradition of making chocolate. It would be extra special to take some of that chocolate to your friends’ home and savour it while enjoying the view of downtown Vancouver across the water.

  13. Lori says:

    That’s it. We’re packing to go to Vancouver for the chocolates. First stop will be Coconama. Love this.

  14. Looks like you made the most of your time there. I love Rooibos tea. My favourite is Creme Caramel that our local coffee/tea carries. I will pair it, and other rooibos teas, with chocolate now. Double treat.
    We have family members who live in the Vancouver area so I will recommend that they try these places, if they haven’t already.
    Thanks, as always, for such great info.

  15. Sea Salt caramels and mermaids-where do I sign up!? My favorite flavor profile. Daniel chocolates sounds like my kind of cafe. Vancouver certainly has lots of opportunities for tasting chocolate delights. And then work it all off on the suspension bridge.

  16. I am a big fan of Japanese tradition, and yet I never heard of Nama Chocolate before, thank you for sharing, Doreen! Sounds like a delicacy worth looking for. Unless feeling really adventurous, and enjoying some good company I’d probably avoid going across the Canyon, it would be a lot for me, hahaha

  17. Thank you for sharing this information about North Vancouver. It looks like a great place.

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