Chocolate & Berries

shy cardinal, originally uploaded by betty wiley.

Today was my first time at the perfumer's organ in a long time. Last time was sometime in October (not counting any blending for replenishing batches). There is simply no room for creativity during market season, it's too busy.
This morning I was finally able to get back to a project I started this fall - the private label perfume for chocolaterie CocoaNymph. I had two directions in mind when I initially drafted my olfactory ideas: one is inspired by the colours of the logo and general whimsical image of the chocolate nymph. The other is inspired by the SeaNymph chocolate bar. Although Rachel was instantly taken with the latter, I decided to go back to the sketch formula and refine the concept I had. Inspired by the berry-like colours (grape-purple, to be exact) of CocoaNymph's logo, I always had in mind this very bold, fruity-chocolate perfume. Something that will be reminiscent of raspberry bonbons (favourites of mine!) or perhaps chocolate-dipped strawberries and a glass of red wine.

What was initially a rather crude rendition of the concept, with cocoa, davana and rose geranium, had to be refined now into something more voluptuous, less herbaceous and more whimsical and urbane. I added some botanical musks to make the base more sophisticated, and fine-tuned the proportions of the davana and geranium, plus added some floral notes that I think will do the trick (and I also think are quite original). I'm really curious to see where this goes after it matures a bit. I have a feeling I stopped adding things at the exact right moment before ruining a good idea... So I'm going to wait patiently for a week and see what happens and how it smells on my skin than.

In the meantime - I have 2 more custom scents to work on (the private label perfume for Gentille Alouette as well as another private client). Not to mention many perfumes that need to be replenished so that I'm fully stocked for the New Year and Valentine's Day (yes, I know it's madness to think of a 2011 hallmark holiday when it's still December 2010, but it really is just 6 weeks away!).

Two Articles in the Vancouver Sun!

This morning, the Vancouver Sun featured our scented chocolate bars in two pieces:

Last-minute buying this Christmas? Think local
- where Rachel Sawatzky of CocoaNymph (aka my sweet and awesome chocolatiere) is interviewed (and the print edition would also have her photograph - scan to come after I leave the house and get the paper).

Wrapping up the feeling of home
- gift guide of homely BC articles, including the chocolates

Chocolate Bars in CBC's On The Coast

CBC's On The Coast recipes column features the scented chocolate bars I created in collaboration with CocoaNymph.

The bars are available online at www.AyalaMoriel.com and in store at:

CocoaNymph 3739 W. 10th @ Alma
(604) 222-4477

Beyond Pilates
928 Davie @ Burrard
(604) 684-9711

Chocolate Mousse
1553 Robson St. @ Cardero
(604) 682-8223

311 West Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC

Little Dream
#130 – 1666 Johnston Street - Granville Island
Vancouver, BC

And they will also be available for purchase, as well as 2 seasonal flavours of freshly rolled truffles at Mindan's Christmas House Sale, this coming Saturday, December 18th, 12-7pm.
Mindan's Designs studio
241 E. 17th Ave. @ Main

Gourmand Perfumes @ CocoaNymph

What an exciting fall!
I can't even decide anymore what I'm most proud about - each new store opening in Vancouver, my 1st appearance in Toronto (Shopgirls), or launching my three new chocolate bars!
Each retailer that have invited my perfumes into their boutique have been so fantastic and I'm so fortunate to be working with these amazing business women who work so hard and so genuinely to promote local Canadian designers and artists.

And it's double the excitement with CocoaNymph, because of my collaboration with Rachel to create the three amazing chocolate bars I've been bragging and talking about in the past few weeks. So not only does Rachel make these amazing bars for me, and we had a wonderful event the other night presenting them to the world for the first time; she also took in a beautifully delicious collection of 6 of my gourmand perfumes to complement the shop and give customers in Kitsilano and Point Gray neighbourhoods access to my creations.

CocoaNymph is not like any other chocolaterie. Because of Rachel's warm and compassionate personality, stepping into the shop feels at times more like a creative gathering place. The customer service is top notch (most customers are greeted by name as they stop by for their chocolate boost). And almost every week on Friday or Saturday, there is a live band playing at the shop. And did I mention there is a grand piano there too? We had classical pianist playing during our event and it was sooo beautiful...

The following perfumes and products have joined the chocolate bars on the shelves of CocoaNymph boutique (3739 West 10th @ Alma). Most of these perfumes (except for Film Noir) are exclusive to Ayala Moriel Parfums and CocoaNymph:

Roses et Chocolat
Immortelle l'Amour
Film Noir

And besides the three amazing chocolate bars, you can also enjoy these luxurious matching products - teas and sugar scrubs:
Immortelle l'Amour tea
Roses et Chocolat tea
Guilt Sugar Scrubs
Finjan Sugar Scrubs

Stop by at the boutique to have a whiff of real, natural and uncompromising natural perfumes.
By early spring, we are also planning to launch CocoaNymph's own custom perfume. The date is not set yet, and the perfume is still in the making - but we promise it will have chocolate in it!

Special for 1st week in the shop: Purchase your favourite gourmand perfume at CocoaNymph and receive a matching chocolate bar on us!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Chocolate Fairytales

Three Chocolate Fairytales, bundled up with a ribbon. Now that's what I'd like to find in my stocking for Christmas!

The wine glasses here on appear to be empty: they were filled with each one of the perfumes that inspired our three chocolate bars. The scent permeates the cup even after it has seemingly evaporated... Yet another way to experience perfume - in a cup!

Rachel and Ayala showing off...

Chocolate squares for tasting. You can't see this very well in this photo, but the bars are decorated with botanical etching. Perfect math for the outer packaging of the bars...

Rachel serving wine to pair with the chocolates. In the forefront is one of her chocolate sculptures, which was shown at Ayden Gallery.

Smelling chocolate...

Yesterday, Rachel of CocoaNymph and me have launched our 3 scented chocolate bars that we were concocting all summer. These bars are like no other chocolate bar in the world as far as we know... They are original, refined stories told in the language of of the senses - primarily the palate and the nose, but also texture and visuals are part of the experience, as you will be able to see for yourself when you meet these bars in person.

We began our tasting with the Guilt chocolate bar, which is scented with orange blossom, wild orange and blood orange. Guilt perfume was created to celebrate all the guilty pleasures in life and I am positively certain that experiencing this bar will transform any guilty feelings you may still hold towards chocolate into sheer pleasure with none of the negative residues of this peculiar emotion... We paired it with Pinot Gris, a white wine with fruity and citrusy accents that worked beautifully to bring out all the orangey pizzazz in the bar!

The Espionage chocolate bar is probably the bar that garnered the most intense and diverse reactions from people. Not only because using smoked salt in chocolate is unheard of; but also because it has very distinct layers. Here are some quotes from people who tried Espionage chocolate bar for the first time:
"This is the taste of memories"
- Jenn, Rachel's assistant chocolatiere

"There is a party in my mouth!"
- my friend Tina

"This is a journey..."
- our customer who is an English Literature professor

"This chocolate tells a story - I'm not sure of all the details, but it certainly takes place on a train..."
- our customer Kelli)

We paired Espionage chocolate bar with a glass of Merlot with oakey undertones that complemented the smoked salt, juniper and jasmine.

And last but not least - we tasted Roses et Chocolat with a beautiful sweet and full-bodied Port. This flavour was the first truffle I've created using essential oils. It was the toughest bar to develop, and took us the most trials to nail down the winning formula that you will be tasting now. Which is not surprising - developing my truffles was a painful experience, thanks to the high doses of chilli I initially used, which literally burned my hands as I rolled them... Which is why to this day I call them "Blood Truffles". Rose is so beautiful with the chocolate and has so much depth. We used 72% cocoa for this bar, giving it a bit of a crunchier texture and a duskier flavour. The saffron and spice complement it beautifully, resulting in a truly sexy bar that I can envision many lovers enjoying in Valentine's Day....

Thank-yous and credits:
Big thank you and kudos to Terry Sunderland who designed the spectacular wrappers for our bars. Their vibrant colours really reflect the vibrant taste!

The wines served at the chocolate bar launch were courtesy of Cassandra Anderton of Good Life Libations.

Many thanks to Rachel's friend and to my mom, who have helped us with the French translation and proofreading for the bar covers. We wouldn't have been able to do this without you!

And thank you to James for playing the piano so beautifully during the evening and making our event so much more special!

Photographs by Noam Dehan
Back to the top