Sights and Textures from the Zangvil Tea Party


For those of you who missed the Zangvil tea party - here are some photos that will I hope you will find inspiring for creating your own wintery tea party this holiday season!

The assembly of desserts (except for the whipping cream that joined the midst of the pears only later on).
You can also see snowballs (or Mexican wedding cakes), orange-ginger icebox cookies, halva, and barks of the new White Potion chocolate bar!

Setting up the desserts in eikcam's handcrafted and painted birch pottery. Get into the winter mood with rustic style bypassing cliches.

White Brownies & Ginger Marshmallows
White chocolate brownies with sour cream frosting. I the background - CocoaNymph's ginger marshmallows that topped the steaming chai we cooked!
And the lovely tea tumblers by eikcam - each has a different emblem - so it's quite easy to remember which cup is yours!

Zangvil Tea Party Sandwiches
Tea sandwiches:

Asian Pear + Cheddar + Quince Mustard tea sandwiches

Orange +Fennel + Tarragon Tea Sandwiches

Kabu + Yuzu Tea Sandwiches

The Carrot + Ginger proved to be unnecessary for this very full menu... We had enough ginger already anyway ;-)

I've also served freshly baked cheese & chive scones, but they were gone before I had a chance to snap a photo!

Zangvil tea + White Potion chocolate bar

So excited about the new (4th) fragrant chocolate bar that we launched this weekend!

The White Potion white chocolate bar was created together with Rachel Sawatzky of CocoaNymph, and has white chocolate, vanilla beans, roasted almonds, toasted coconut, and... tuberose essence! It's amazing and not to sweet at all :-)

As for the Zangvil tea - it's the first time I'm launching that is all my doing. I've designed the tea, a perfumed tea which is so fragrant and can be infused up to 7 times!

Silver needle jasmine white tea
Ambrette seeds
Sliced vanilla beans
Cryztallized ginger

I'm very happy with how the new labels turned out as well. All the tea labels are going to be re-done, and the teas will be relaunched in the springtime.

Zangvil Tea Components

Zangvil tea demo - 3 types of white tea and the other ingredients that make my new Zangvil tea!

Red Bartletts
A word about the poached pears: I felt like a genius finding this underaged pears at the Winter Market. If it wasn't for their lack of desire to reach full pear size, I would have had to serve them cut into cubes (shame on their seductive shape!) or as spoon dessert (which defeats the whole purpose of a tea party). Little Asian pears also work well for the same purpose.

Ginger Marshmallows
Handmade ginger marshmallows (by CocoaNymph, naturally!), that we served with the homemade chai. Already a winter favourite!

Birch Vases
And last but not least - the birch vases, so wintery and festive in a twisted way... I think I might just need to keep them here at the studio - they are a perfect match to the pussy willows I keep year-around.

Hot CocoaNymph + Giveaway

Hot CocoaNymph, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I heard about the hot chocolate festival pretty late - when it was already halfway through.
And of course, I had to at least make a pilgrimage to Cocoa Nymph (3739 West 10th Ave. @ Alma) and try her legendary hot chocolate. All of my visits there were purely business so far, and very busy at that - so I never actually just sat down and enjoyed a cup of hot CocoNymph before! Fortunately for me, Rachel was taking a little break, and we were able to just hang out, relax, chat and enjoy her company as well as a few other regular customers and friends whose faces I already recognize (and sometime can even guess their name right...). CocoNymph should be a weekly pilgrimage to Kitsilano just for that atmosphere alone. And did I mention they do live music shows there - almost every weekend?

Back to hot chocolate: You can find 4 flavours on a regular basis - white, milk, dark and dark spicy (inspired by the original Aztec power drink), made on site from real wholesome ingredients and topped with Rachel's marshmallows.

During the hot chocolate festival there is a new limited edition flavour at CocoaNymph every week - for both the hot chocolate AND the marshmallows, which are made on site from scratch!

The first week, it was the reverse switch - white hot chocoate topped with a milk chocolate marshamllow. Second week it was hazelnut hot chocolate topped with Crown Royal marshmallows. Last week - Earl Grey hot chocolate topped with Guilt inspired marshmallows (made with orange oil and juice!). The Earl Grey was sold out that weekend, but I have I tried the Guilt-y, orangey marshmallow, and am thrilled to report they are utter bliss and I just can't wait for the Earl Grey infused hot chocolate to return.

This week, the special flavour is a black-pepper infused hot chocolate topped with salted caramel marshmallows!
Salted caramel is CocoaNymph's signature flavour - the first bonbons Rachel made and got this business started were her salted caramel chocolates. Her most popular confections are the English Toffee (highly salted and crunchy) and the SeaNymph bar (with sea salt and crushed pieces of the above-mentioned English toffee).

I sipped the dark hot chocolate, topped with the salted caramel marshmallows, which really balanced it well - and made it very easy to drink up what turned out to be a whole cup of heavy cream (!) with melted dark chocolate. This is hard core hot chocolate indulgence, yet I had no trouble at all getting to the bottom of it...

The experience was inspiring, and I'm really intrigued by the combination of tea and chocolate together... Or any infusions into liquid chocolate... Mmm... Maybe an idea for something to serve on my Valentine's Day "Spice It Up" Tea Party next Sunday? What do you think?

Last but not least, I'd like to use this opportunity to mention a giveaway via Vancouver Foodster Magazine - who are giving away a box of chocolates from CocoaNymph (value of $60) and a Roses et Chocolat mini + chocolate bar (value of $60 as well). All you need to do is comment, and tweet about it, and you will be entered :-)

P.s. In the photograph: Top right is white hot chocolate topped with vanilla marshmallow. Bottom left - dark hot chocolate with salted caramel marshmallow.

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 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

Exciting Night!

Tonight is the night I was looking forward to for months... Rachel and I will be revealing the 3 chocolate bars we've been developing, concocting and tasting together all summer. I was so excited getting everything ready last night that like a little kid before the 1st day of school - I was unable to fall asleep...

We titled our event Chocolate Fairytales, because we both have fairies in our logos and together, the bars we created, go beyond the experience of any other chocolate bar, even a spectacular one. The flavours are layered and each bar has depth and intensity yet a very subtle and elegant personality. It's as if each one of them tells a sensory story - and of course it reflects the perfumes that inspired this multi-sensory project, and the two women behind the scenes. Working on them was a true team effort and we both put our passion into these bars, both in concept and in reality (Rachel is molding the bars for tonight as I type this).

A couple of years ago, I was invited to a party where everyone were expected to read a poem in front of everyone else. The only thing I dread more than reading poems in public is reading things I wrote in public (perfume ad copy included!). I brought a bowl of my scented, hand-rolled truffles instead and when it was my turn, I exclaimed - there is my poetry. You can read it.

I hope these bars will have that kind of effect on you. And I'm thrilled that unlike the truffles, they are so much easier to store and ship. And I'm also excited to be able to continue offering my whimsical truffles in various seasonal and limited edition flavours, alongside the chocolates - so that you have more of a variety to choose from.

I will tell you all about all the WH questions regarding the chocolate bars after the launch event. I just don't want to ruin the surprise...
For now I will answer these:
How many: 3
Who made them: Rachel of CocoaNymph Chocolates & Confections, and Ayala of Ayala Moriel Parfums

And the event details:
CocoaNymph Chocolaterie
3739 W. 10th @ Alma

Tuesday, November 16th (today!)
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