The chocolatier Olivier Piffaudat is breaking the conventional chocolate mold with with his black garlic chocolate for Saint Valentine’s Day.

Have you ever heard the proverb “Birds of a feather flock together”? When I take a look around at my friends, I realize I truly live by this proverb. Most of my friends are not afraid of the weird, the unknow, the exotic. And one friend who truly brings this to mind is Olivier Piffaudat, a passionate chocolatier who really knows how to think outside the box. Or should I say outside the chocolate shell in his case.

chocolate display

When it comes to creating his flavors, he is a mad genius. You can count on one hand the more traditional flavors in his store. All the rest are very unusual. And I love how Olivier groups them: fruits, vegetables and cocktails. One chocolate is making its debut too, a very special one for Saint-Valentine’s day…one made with black garlic!

Let me just say first that this is not a sponsored post. I am just supporting a friend with an amazing culinary vision. Olivier Piffaudat invited me to his shop for a tour recently. Imagine being alone with a chocolatier in his store and workshop for well over 2 hours and have basically full access to his product and knowledge. Heaven! I asked every question I could think of while sampling some mighty fine chocolates.

olivier piffaudat

Olivier Piffaudat and the Wall of Ingredients!

passion fruit twix pimbina

Passionfruit chocolate with a heart – better than any Twix inspiration bar – the pimbina fruit

Olivier Piffaudat is in the true sense of the word an artisan. He picks his own berries and flowers as much as he can, makes his own infusions, prepares his own ganaches and jams to fill the chocolates with, etc. I got to taste three of his liquor infusions: spruce, lavender and – wait for this one –  chanterelle mushrooms – which are used to make some chocolates. Now I want to make some infusions at home.

One of his popular chocolates is made with a fruit I never had hear of, the pimbina (or squashberry). I got to taste the fruit which is so tart, acidic and astringent. But cook it down and wrap it in chocolat, totally works. Every chocolate is handmade, from start to finish. There is no production line here. Let’s take a look at  some of his chocolates:

vegetable chocolates

Chocolates from the vegetable collection

The vegetables: beet, squash, tomato and basil, carrot orange ginger soup, and my favorite the mole poblano. The first heat will knock your socks off but the chocolate and caramel cools everything back down.

The Fruits: blueberry, pimbina, passion fruit, balsamic strawberry, lemon/lime, and my top one here is the fresh raspberries cooked down with lots of mint.

cocktail chocolates

Chocolates from the cocktail collection

The cocktails: Bloody Mary topped with pepper celery salt, Margarita topped with salt, Sake matcha, Violettini, Hibiscus. I had the Bloody mary and Margarita. Olivier Piffaudat said to eat it in 2 bites so I could get the salts on top in each bite. OMG it was totally like the actual cocktails and tasting the rim of the glass. I also got to taste the newest creation that does not have an official name yet but it is filled with yuzu, toasted green tea and a Japanese whisky. I think this is the most unique chocolate I have ever tasted in my life.

gousse d amour

The Gousse d’amour, or Love Clove, made with black garlic!

And the newest creation in his store, called Gousse d’amour, translates to Love Clove…as in a garlic clove. This chocolate is made with black garlic, a very slowly caramelized garlic head which develops a sweeter, molasses or balsamic vinegar like taste. The dark chocolate and garlic ganache is really well balanced and will not ruin your breath, it is actually quite subtle. The whole chocolate is paired with a pinch of gomashio, a Japanese seasoning mix of salt, sesame seeds and seaweeds. A truly unique Saint-Valentine’s chocolate!

making chocolate

Decoration prepped chocolate molds – the new chocolate creation with yuzu, toasted green tea and a Japanese whisky

Olivier Piffaudat Chocolatier Alchimiste
Boutique du Chocolatier Alchimiste
1127 rue Bélanger
Montréal, QC, H2S 1H6

You can order online and if you are in Montreal this weekend Feb 5,6,7 2016 check out his stand at the Je t’aime en chocolat event at the Marché Bonsecours.