The Chocolate Lab: a must-visit for chocolate lovers in Calgary

In a recent post, I shared the literary highlight of my recent visit to Calgary, Alberta. In celebration of World Cocoa and Chocolate Day on October 1st, I’d like to share with you why every chocolate lover should visit Calgary.

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I can’t believe how much I enjoyed the Passionfruit Crunch Chocolate Pop from The Chocolate Lab in Calgary. What an amazing fun creation, featuring dark chocolate combined with fresh marshmallow and passionfruit puree.

chocolate lab calgary offers a wide assortment of chocolate treats

chocolate-lab-calgary

Dallas Southcott of The Chocolate Lab in Calgary is bridging the gap between chocolate maker and chocolatier by creating his own custom couverture via Cacao Barry’s chocolate lab in Paris.

I met with Dallas Southcott, co-owner and founder of The Chocolate Lab at his location in Calgary’s Chinatown and was blown away by his energy, knowledge of the chocolate and cocoa industry, and the quality of his chocolate creations. Dallas has a key eye for design having worked for 10 years in media design and photography, so it is no wonder his bonbons are a work of art. He also has a Masters degree in Musical Cultural History and is trained in classical music.

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These artful bonbons from The Chocolate Lab in Calgary are as good as they look.

“I’m a highly creative person,” says Dallas. “Chocolate is but one medium in which I express myself.” Dallas became a stay-at-home dad about 10 years ago when he and his wife and partner Eva Choi started their family. “That’s when I started playing with chocolate,” says Dallas, who says that their chocolate activities went into high gear when Eva lost her job in the oil industry due to the economic downturn that hit Calgary in 2014. After taking courses with Ecole Chocolat and working with Bernard Callebaut, Dallas was ready to launch his own chocolate business in 2015. He and Eva acquired the Centre Street location in January, 2016 and opened their shop to the public in April, 2016.

The Chocolate Lab opened its second location in the Foothills south of Calgary in 2017. Their third (private) location is used for administration and shipping, and there is a fourth location in the works. (Stay tuned!) Now with 14 staff, Dallas credits Eva’s experience as a hiring manager in helping The Chocolate Lab find the right people who share their passion for chocolate and serving customers with a smile.

chocolarte-lab-calgary

The happy staff at The Chocolate Lab is ready to help you create your own custom flavour of ice-cream in their shop.

The Chocolate Lab is in a hybrid category like Adorable Chocolat who made the journey to Paris to develop their own custom couverture in the chocolate lab run by Cacao Barry. The Or Noir custom blends developed by Cacao Barry have bridged the gap between chocolate makers (who work directly with cocoa beans) and chocolatiers (who generally work with a couverture supplied by a large cocoa processing house like Callebaut, Valrhona, Domori, Felchin, or Guittard.)

The Midnight Special 73.8% dark chocolate custom blend at The Chocolate Lab features 60-62% cocoa from SΓ£o TomΓ©, 12-15% cocoa from Peru, and about 13% cocoa from Cuba, and a small amount of cocoa butter to make it silky smooth. I really loved the 42.1% Cassonade custom dark milk chocolate made with a caramelized white chocolate, a touch of sea salt, and 10% Cuban cocoa.

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If you’re a chocolate lover, be sure to drop in on The Chocolate Lab while in the Calgary area.

At the time of my visit in August, 2018, The Chocolate Lab of Calgary was offering a total of 16 different chocolate bars–some with pure chocolate and others with fun flavours–but they’re working their way up to 30 different flavours, so be sure to check out both the chocolate bar counter, as well as the fresh chocolate bonbon case that features more than 100 colours in a myriad of enticing shapes, and designs and funky flavours that include Leather and Walnut and Little Blue Dress.

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.

62 Responses

  1. Beverly says:

    The selection of chocolate creations made and displayed at The Chocolate Lab look delicious. I would love to visit there if I visit Calgary. It is a story about creativity as well as chocolate. You have written another interesting and inspiring story, Doreen.

  2. Linda Strange says:

    How wonderful ! All that, and visions of a Chocolate Labrador Retriever.
    Inventive names for their products, indeed. I really enjoy your explanations of the terms used in the world of chocolate . Thanks, Doreen; and best wishes to Dallas Southcott and The Chocolate Lab in Calgary.

  3. gabriele
    Twitter:
    says:

    Chocolate Lab…chocolate labrador…chocolate laboratory? Ah, I get it. What fun. Brilliant. The world needs more play.

  4. Janet says:

    Sounds yummy Doreen. I’m a huge fan of sea salt with my chocolate. I loved the colors displayed here as well. Next time in Calgary I will have to head over to Chinatown.

  5. I love all the colours in the chocolat bonbon case. They look so moorish. And 30 different flavours – I don’t think I would be able to leave until I had tried them all.

  6. Claire says:

    Woah, what a great selection of chocolate!! An ideal place for chocolate lovers to spend their time in! Thanks for sharing!! πŸ™‚

  7. Margaret Anne Fehr says:

    Wonderfully informative story, Doreen. Seems that creativity shows up in so many diverse ways. So impressed by Dallas and the multi-talents that go into his chocolate collections. Happy Chocolate Day one and all!

  8. Pamela Mckuen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Your travels prove that chocolate is a universal language. The passion fruit pop looks divine!

  9. Those bon bons look scrumptious! Chocolate day–that explains why I was highly craving it after lunch today. What a great reason to indulge. Their shop looks like a fun spot to visit — and taste!

  10. I always enjoy reading the back story of business. It sounds — and looks — like Dallas and his wife have a thriving chocolate business and with good reason!

  11. I was dribbling when looking at the photograph of the passionfruit crunch chocolate pop! I adore chocolate, even more so when they come in a selection box or other. Thank you for sharing Dallas Southcott’s career path. It just goes to show that our talents really can pay off.

  12. My daughter lives in Calgary, works downtown and loves chocolates. I will tell her about The Chocolate Lab!

  13. Marcelle
    Twitter:
    says:

    It is a very courageous project to initiate a startup with employees. The shop looks wonderful and the chocolate delicious! I wish the shop was close to me!

  14. Jeff Bryant
    Twitter:
    says:

    OMG! We can hardly wait for your next article on chocolate. The amount of walking we have to do just for reading this article on the Calgary chocolate lab will be insane. Once again you hit it out of the park.

  15. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    It’s interesting to how about the difference between chocolate maker and chocolatier and about people bridging the gap. Chocolate Lab’s Foothills locations will be on the itinerary next time I visit my sister-in-law in Okotoks!

  16. The Chocolate Lab looks like a beautiful (and very tasty) shop!

  17. Kemkem
    Twitter:
    says:

    OMG! That first picture! That passion fruit crunch bar was made just for me and even though it’s still breakfast time here, I would devour it :-). The Chocolate Lab is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing this little gem of a place.

  18. Lord says:

    Wow, the box and the chocolate themselves are soooo pretty!

  19. Doreen — their chocolates look marvelous, and I’m always so impressed with people who have a passion and then develop it into a thriving business. So good for them on all counts!

  20. Emidio_A
    Twitter:
    says:

    Deliciously looking and nicely wrapped chocolates. I would love to taste them. When I start my “travel the world” project, I will be sure to stop by the Chocolate Lab.

    • Hi Emidio and welcome to Chocolatour! The nice thing about many chocolatiers and chocolate makers is that they do mail their products. Chocolate bars are easy to mail as long as they are not left out in the heat. Chocolate bonbons or truffles are much more prone to damage while in transit. But it certainly can be done if packed properly. zChocolat of France has mastered the art of global shipping. Their chocolates always arrive promptly and in perfect condition.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…The Chocolate Lab: a must-visit for chocolate lovers in CalgaryMy Profile

  21. Pat says:

    We were so happy you went to Calgary before our visit. Although we loved your cousins Esther’s salad you rocked with the chocolate. We intensely enjoyed all the products from the chocolate lab. Our favourite was the Cassonade dark milk chocolate bar it was exceptional!!!

  22. Sandy N Vyjay
    Twitter:
    says:

    The chocolates of Chocolate Lab look like works of art and no wonder if you look at the credentials of its co-founder Dallas. I am really impressed by the growth of the venture in such a short time. This speaks volumes of the passion and hard work of the people behind it.

  23. Those chocolates look beautiful – far too good to eat!

  24. Shaily
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow! I would love to try all these varieties of chocolates. The chocolate lab indeed looks like a perfect place to visit for chocolate lovers like me. The Passionfruit Crunch Chocolate Pop looks very tempting.

  25. OMG! Sign me up now. I want to go try that Chocolate Pop. It looks amazing as do the other chocolate treats.

  26. Those chocolates look amazing! (OK, at first I thought Chocolate Lab referred to a dog.) Dallas’ eclectic creative background is impressive. There’s a good chance I’ll visit Calgary in 2019, and won’t miss a stop here.

    • Right on, Kristin. Calgary is a great city. I’ll be doing a post on a whirlwind tour of the downtown shortly. That’s where you’ll find the main location of The Chocolate Lab. But I hear there is also a nice location in the Foothills. Thx for stopping by.

  27. I’ve never been to Calgary, Alberta. I’ll definitely have to visit the chocolate lab when I go!

  28. Esther
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey Doreen!
    I THOUGHT I saw that box of delectable chocolates somewhere before! Now I remember, I got to indulge in some while you were here in Vancouver last time. Nice to get the full rounded picture of where all that deliciousness came from. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  29. Rose Palmer says:

    This is my kind of chemistry lab! Chocolate labs are the best! πŸ™‚

  30. Tania says:

    I love this post. I love all the colours in the chocolate bonbon case. They look so moorish. And 30 different flavours – I don’t think I would be able to leave the chocolate lab until I had tried them all.

  31. Jennifer Dagi
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh my! That Passion fruit Crunch Chocolate Pop looks so yummy. I’m helplessly salivating and wishing I could manifest it into my reality. I’ve also just found the perfect honeymoon destination -The chocolate lab in Calgary.

  32. Manish says:

    Hi,

    I like the helpful info you provide in your Blog really explains everything in detail the Blog is very interesting and effective. Generally I never comment on blogs but your blog is so convincing that I can’t stop myself to say something about it. This is an impressive Blog Thanks!

  33. Pamper Hamper says:

    What a great selection of chocolate!! Calgary looks like an ideal place for chocolate lovers to spend their time in! Thanks for sharing.

  34. Tania Sharma
    Twitter:
    says:

    Sounds yummy Doreen. I’m a huge fan of sea salt with my chocolate. I loved the colors displayed here as well. Next time in Calgary I will have to head over to Chinatown.

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