Winnipeg’s artisanal chocolatier

This is Thanksgiving weekend in Manitoba, Canada where I live, and keeping in tune with our last post about Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on the Canadian Prairies, I thought I’d indulge in a post in a post about my hometown and one of the most spectacular things about it for anyone interested in chocolate travel.

Artisanal chocolate in Winnipeg

If you do a google search on “artisanal chocolate” you’ll be surprised to land on the site of Winnipeg’s own Constance Popp Chocolatier, the Manitoba capital’s only award-winning artisanal chocolatier. Good on Constance (whose last name is Menzies) for scooping up that sought-after URL, as the quest for excellence in artisanal chocolate is a growing global phenomenon and the reason I am writing Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate.

constance-menzies

Constance Menzies is the owner of Constance Popp Chocolatier

Constance Popp Chocolatier

I first met Constance a couple of years ago at the “Chicks and Chocolate” fundraising event in Winnipeg. ¬†She was busy handing out free chocolates and it was then that I had the first opportunity to try her chocolates. I’ll never forget the taste and texture of the Manitoba beet truffle, which remains one of my favourite chocolates to this day. As well, another amazing chocolate creation you’ll find at Constance Popp Chocolatier is the dark chocolate maple bacon bark. If you’ve never had bacon bark, you’re really missing out on something terrific. The slight saltiness and smokiness of the crushed bacon goes impeccably well with the 56% dark chocolate and the hint of maple gives it a truly Manitoba flavouring.

Manitobar

Constance Popp’s Manitobar is shaped like the province of Manitoba

Constance is well known throughout the province for making uniquely Manitoba products such as her chocolate golden boy, the “Birch Bar” made from birch syrup, and the Manitobar, a small bar shaped like the province of Manitoba and filled with hemp, flax and sunflower seeds, and lemon honey to make it a healthy form of indulgence.

And at Thanksgiving and by special order, you can enhance any family gathering with one of Constance’s own multi-coloured chocolate turkeys! These babies are about the size of a roasting chicken and cost about $65 each. I tried talking my husband into one to take to the family gathering we were heading for today but it didn’t happen. Hopefully, sometime soon, as Im sure those turkeys taste just as good as they look.

chocolate-turkey

the chocolate turkeys of Chocolatier Constance Popp are truly works of art

This post is also a tribute to the wealth of talent we have in our own backyards. I’d recently done a post on my writer’s blog encouraging travel writers to look for stories about the treasures and talent right in their own neighbourhoods. And I’m proud to say that after three years of traipsing around the world looking for the most unique and scrumptious chocolate creations, I’ve finally opened the door to the delicious and highly creative chocolate offerings at 1853 Portage Avenue, right in my hometown of Winnipeg — and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m very thankful for that.

Have you tried the chocolate of Constance Popp Chocolatier? Do you have a favourite chocolate treat there? Among the creations I’ve mentioned above, I also really love the chocolate peanut butter cups. They put Reese’s to shame! Oh, and did I mention the chocolate skulls for Halloween?

I hope you’ll share some chocolate memories with us, and then join us back here the week of October 22nd for our next tasty post.

 

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59 Comments

  1. Wow… who knew that chocolate was so diverse? And love that you found this in your own back yard! I have a weakness for dark chocolate… big sigh…
    Geek Girl recently posted..Motivational Monday – 10/8My Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your comment, Cheryl. Yes, when we take the time to look, we’ll often discover some real treasures close to home.

      I really learned that once I became a travel writer and realized that the grass on the other side of the fence WASN’T always greener! Here’s to appreciating what we have.

      • Thanks DOREEN for your very kind and thoughtful words about our chocolate! We alays have new things in shop – come again when you can.

        Very much looking forward to your chocolate books!

        All the best! -Constance, Chocolatier Constance Popp
        http://www.ArtisanChocolates.ca
        fb: Constance Popp Chocolates
        @poppchocolates

        • Doreen
          Twitter:

          Thanks so much, Constance, for making the delicious chocolate at Constance Popp Chocolatier, and for dropping in to converse with our community here! Glad you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for subscribing.

    • We take great pride in making chocolate that is entirely unique in taste and design! Only whole foods and premium chocolate! Of course! -Constance http://www.ArtisanChocolates.ca

  2. Linda Strange

    HI Doreen: Wow! Constance’s turkey looks amazing!
    Thanks so much for awakening me to a local chocolate bonanza.
    LL

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Yes, aren’t they cool? Can’t wait to taste one of those chocolate gobblers! Happy Thanksgiving, Linda!

  3. Really had no idea bacon or beet chocolate existed. Chocolate in all shapes and forms I have seen all over the world. But still love your friend’s turkey! Wonderful.
    Catarina recently posted..Covert branding works against youMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Hi Catarina and thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s amazing how chocolate takes on the local culture in every place it’s made. I’ve had British chocolate made with Marmite (their favourite local treat), chocolate in Peru made with Pisco (their fav local libation), Irish truffles made with Guinness, camel’s milk chocolate from Dubai and so on. I think we see a trend emerging! So very cool to be able to brand the chocolate’s flavour according to the favourite local flavourings of a place.

      • Having lived in London for 15 years I find Marmite in chocolate normal, even though I simply hate the taste of it.

        And camel milk chocolate I came across when I lived in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Using camel milk instead of cow milk also makes sense and can be delicious.

        But I have never before heard of bacon chocolate. You find such flavours of ice cream in restaurants but I had never heard of it when it comes to chocolate. If it’s a local trend the Danes should be at the forefront of bacon chocolate:-)
        Catarina recently posted..Covert branding works against youMy Profile

  4. OMG. Love the chocolate turkey. Have pinned it and tweeted about it. And it will turn up in my next newsletter. Looks so amazing. I’ll have to check out if Constance ships them so I can get one for Thanksgiving next year!

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your comment, and for dropping by the blog, Luba! Nice to see you here again. Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for the “pin & tweet.” Appreciate your support, and I’m sure Constance does, too!

    • We do ship, but unfortunately not the Chocolate Turkey yet…. ALthough it is very thick with all the layers of chocolate, it would break it we dont have the right packaging. Keep posted though: http://www.ArtisanChocolates.ca

      Thanks for your kind comments! -Constance

  5. Isn’t it funny how that happens. What we search for everywhere else is many times found in our own back yard. The “dark chocolate maple bacon bark” sound truly amazing. Just the name alone makes my mouth water. That Turkey is the coolest. Why your husband wouldn’t go for it is beyond me… LOL.
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Rutherford Hill Merlot 2006: WineMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks, Susan. I’ll tell Reg that! I hope Constance makes the chocolate turkeys for Christmas as well as he said he would buy one for Christmas.

      Yes, the bacon bark is truly magnificent — and addictive! I’m not sure what wine would pair best with that. I’m hoping Constance will drop in and tell us. :-)

    • I agree! Why wouldnt your husband or anyone go for this Chocolate Turkey – we love making them! The are indeed beautiful, but the fun part is crushing them with a hammer because they are so thick! -Constance http://www.ArtisanChocolates.ca

  6. Jeri
    Twitter:

    I wasn’t aware you had a blog for your upcoming book as well. You are one busy and awe-inspiring lady. Since I’m always on the lookout for foodie-themed gifts, I will certainly keep Constance in mind when it comes time to do my holiday shopping.
    Jeri recently posted..Book Review: Embryo by J. A. SchneiderMy Profile

  7. Doreen
    Twitter:

    Thanks for your comment, Jeri.

    As I don’t have much content up on the Chocolatour.net site yet, I haven’t really been publicizing it much yet. but I do post the link to it whenever I do post new content. Thanks for dropping by there — and here!

  8. Karen Luttrell

    I love the “Manitobar” and that turkey looks amazing. Such creative ideas – and they look delicious too. If I make it out to Winnipeg, I’ll definitely stop by.

    • It would nice to meet you – always keen to meet strong chocolate keeners! -Constance http://www.ArtisanChocolates.ca

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Right on, Karen! Do let me know when you’re coming to Winnipeg and we can visit Constance Popp Chocolatier together and there are a lot of other great things to do in our fine city as well. Cheers!

  9. I have never been big on travel, but reading about Doreen’s adventures is giving me the itch.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Hi Donalda, and thanks for dropping by the blog. We talk about travel, culture, fab food, interesting people, and of course … great chocolate. So even if you’re not an avid traveller yet, perhaps you might become one. And at the very least, you’ll have some mouth-watering reading! Cheers!

  10. It is amazing how the creative ideas keep coming when it comes to chocolate. Now a province and a turkey. Do you suppose it is the very nature of CHOCOLATE that keeps the inspiration coming?

    This past summer we met a chocolatier at the Burnaby Farmer’s Market who gave us a taste of his chocolate creation made of Blue Cheese. It was truly memorable…YUM!

    I trust everyone had at least SOME chocolate over the Thanksgiving weekend! ^-^

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your comment, Esther. Yes, indeed we had plenty of chocolate, as I had purchased quite a bit of chocolate at Constance Popp Chocolatier, and Constance was kind enough to give me a few samples. :-) But the chocolate turkey still eludes me …

      Yes, I definitely think that chocolate inspires people who work with it to become more creative. There are many health benefits to chocolate, best of which that it releases endorphins in our bodies to give us that feel good glow and to promote healthy brain activity. I’m hoping that if I eat enough chocolate, the bad Alzheimer’s gene in the family will pass me by!

      And yes, I remember that excellent chocolate you brought me from Levni Chocolate in BC. There are several chocolatiers I know of who are pairing blue cheese with chocolate and it really is a lovely match. Thanks again.

  11. Dan Meyers
    Twitter:

    Not even fair, I just ate dinner, and I’ll I want now is some chocolate! She’s amazingly creative… although I don’t like too much getting in the way of pure chocolate flavor. Now I have to go see what I can dig up at my house!
    Dan Meyers recently posted..Life’s Little DetoursMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your comment, Dan.

      Yes, I agree. I really like the flavour of the chocolate to come thru rather than to be masked by added ingredients. Constance does a good job in keeping that balance. I usually don’t like the hot chilli type of chocolate as I find the heat too overpowering, but I find the heat just right in the Mexican chocolate truffle that you’ll find at Constance Popp Chocolates. Thanks for dropping into the blog, and for your love of chocolate. :-)

  12. LeAmber

    I was the recent winner of Constance’s Chocolate Turkey give away. I was astounded at exactly how large it was…It looked fantastic not only as the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, but we were able to indulge in some of it and still have it as a centerpiece for my in-laws thanksgiving on Monday. We are still eating it! And considering we are a family of six… What I love about Constance Popp Chocolates is that she uses fair trade chocolate and local ingredients. And her Dark Bacon Bark is my favourite!

  13. Doreen
    Twitter:

    Hi LeAmber! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the chocolate turkey. That must have made your Thanksgiving very special! Yes, those turkeys look too good to eat, but I don’t think one would last too long around our household.

    Yes, it’s so nice to see a local artisanal chocolatier showcasing Manitoba ingredients. That’s really special. I hope you’ll join us here again soon. Chocolate travel is always on the menu!

  14. joy

    Hi Doreen! Thanks for the very interesting information on chocolates, I’m a certified fan and I specifically love the Belgian variety, I hope I could give your suggestions a try though :)

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Hi Joy and thanks for your comment.

      The interesting thing about fine chocolate is that it is an endless journey of discovery. Enjoy!

  15. Great Post Doreen – Constance is a true artist, judging by the turkey. Fantastic. Plus all the different flavors you mention – birch syrup and bacon bark – new to me. It really is great to find things in your own back yard, especially at Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family had a lovely celebration.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    A.K.Andrew recently posted..PEN – Do You Have the Freedom to Write?My Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks so much, A.K.

      You are so fortunate to live in the UK where there is undisputedly the widest selection of amazing chocolate on the planet! I will definitely try and get there again in the next 6-9 months. To launch/promote my book, eat more chocolate and hopefully … meet YOU!

  16. Wendy Peck

    I have to try that bacon chocolate. I love anything savoury with great chocolate, especially with some salt. I know I would love this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  17. Doreen
    Twitter:

    You’re welcome, Wendy! Yes, the dark chocolate bacon bark is really quite addictive. I generally try and share most of the chocolate I buy and receive with my husband Reg and other friends. But that bacon bark was all MINE!

    Do drop in and visit Constance the next time you’re in the Polo Park area. You won’t be sorry!

  18. Hey Doreen,
    This post is similar to a treat!! Quite tempting!! I wasn’t aware about the diversity which the chocolates possess. The turkey looks so tempting and amazing. Thanks for the share.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks, Aayna. Yes, looking at pics of chocolate can be compared to “food porn.” there’s something so very sensual and captivating about chocolate.

      Thanks for joining us on the journey. I hope to see you here again.

  19. Everything looks delicious and too hard to resist :) It’s good to know that there are other varieties I have yet to discover. Thanks for sharing!

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for dropping by the blog, Kristine. Believe me, the possibilities with chocolate are endless! I hope you’ll subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss any updates. Happy tasting!

  20. Wow, I envy you! Discovering variants of chocolates around your own neighborhood. Nice post!

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks, Kelly! And yesterday I just learned of another artisanal chocolatier in Manitoba. (This one, “Truffles” in Oakbank.) So it goes to show that if you hunt for it, you really can find treasures of all flavours right in your own backyard.

  21. I am not that aware about self publishing. This article helped me grasp what it is all about. Such an informative article!

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your comment, Stacey. You must have ended up on the chocolate travel blog via a link on my writer’s blog at http://doreenpendgracs.com as that’s where we’ve been discussing self-publishing. I hope you had a taste of chocolate discovery while you’ve been here!

  22. Manitoba is one of only two provinces I’ve yet to visit (the other being NFL) and it appears I have many reasons to go being the chocolate lover that I am :) I love the chocolate Turkey!
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Stunning New Zealand Scenery – South & North Island | Photo EssayMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your visit to the blog, Samuel!

      Yes, Manitoba is a rather under-stated province. We have a fairly small population in the province at about 1.5 million, so there are lots of wide open spaces and beautiful natural places. But we also have terrific cultural and culinary scenes. It’s definitely worth a visit, and yes … you will find some very good chocolate as well. Happy travels, and do drop in here again soon.

  23. These women are unbeatable! I am really crazy about chocolates! And here they are having their little trip in chocoland in their own backyard! How cool is that!
    Calra recently posted..November 01, 2012 – Aries Monthly HoroscopeMy Profile

  24. These women are very lucky to have these kinds of chocolates in their vicinity! I love chocolates so much!

  25. Linda Strange

    Finally made the short trek to Constance Popp on Portage Ave.. The very pleasant clerk was welcoming, & offered a sample of the “Manitobar”. Wow! Really enjoyed the chocolate in combination with the tasty, well-chosen crunchy ingredients, and will buy some in future.
    My quarry on this trip was the Maple Bacon Bark – and Doreen’s comment was right on! TO DIE FOR!
    Loved the flavour and feel of the dark chocolate on my tongue. Found it slightly on the sweet side and very much enhanced by the saltiness of the bacon. Neither the chocolate nor the bacon overwhelmed one another, and the chocolate won in the aftertaste department, as it should in my (definitely not expert) opinion.
    I’ll be back, Constance.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Yay, Linda! I’m glad you’ve made a foray into gourmet artisanal chocolate. Yes, it’s more $$ than commercial brands, but it’s definitely worth it, just as one would spend more on custom roast coffee and fine wine. Each of those is fabulous in small quantities and won’t break the budget too much if you just have a small quantity each day. :-)

  26. Dianne Winser

    Hi Doreen, wow that is some turkey! You are so right that we often don’t see what is in our own backyard. We always feel that the treasurers are somewhere else. Obviously this is not so. Great job, hope to see you soon.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Hi Dianne and thanks so much for visiting the blog.

      Yes, when I started doing travel writing, I always thought of everywhere else as exotic and worthy of attention. I then began writing about Churchill and realized that people all over the world saw our very own Churchill as one of the most exotic places on the planet! That opened my eyes to writing more about what we have right here at home in Manitoba and I’m pleased to be sharing my review of Constance Popp Chocolatier of Winnipeg with all of you here. It’s definitely worth a look and a tasting. Cheers!

  27. I had the pleasure of meeting Constance and sampling her chocolates a few months ago. Both the chocolates and Constance are fantastic! We are very lucky to have such a friendly, passionate chocolatier in our province!
    Little Gray Bird recently posted..zendoodlingMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for your comment, LGB! Glad to see you’re enjoying the chocolate of Constance Popp. I’ve now also found a terrific chocolatier in Oakbank whom I will profile in future. Any good chocolate being made in your neck of the woods? Once we start looking, it’s amazing what we will find!

  28. Doreen
    Twitter:

    News flash from Constance Popp! She’s now got a second location at One Lombard Place in the Richardson Centre in downtown Winnipeg. Great news for chocolate lovers who work, live, or play in downtown Winnipeg. Look for it!

  29. Constance REALLY knows her stuff! I absolutely love everything she makes and probably visit almost weekly. Her shoppe is a great place to escape the stress of life! Do not be afraid to ask her (well in advance) for a special, unique, or not regularly on her shelves truffle/bonbon. She recently remade my favourite – Cheesecake Truffles – which I had a year ago at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Chicks and Chocolate event. YUM-O – Happy Birthday to me! Her custom corporate logo’ed chocolates are also getting very popular around town. Do visit or check her out online – she ships too! ;-)

    • Doreen
      Twitter:

      Thanks for visiting the blog, Anna, and sharing your enthusiasm for Constance’s chocolate. Have you visited the new downtown shop yet? And have you tried the chocolate turkeys?

      Yes, I was at the Chicks & Chocolate event and that’s where I first met Constance and tried her chocolate. Now that you mention it … I did try the cheesecake truffles! But I really love the MB beet truffles and the bacon bark.

      Lucky you to have a chocolate-making friend to make you special birthday treats! :-)
      Doreen recently posted..Pacari is king of Ecuadorian chocolateMy Profile

  30. Thank you for some other wonderful post. Where else may just anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect manner of writing?
    Many of the islands visited by cruise ships are not as nice as the areas the tourists see. I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such info.

  31. Doreen
    Twitter:

    Thanks for including the link to my blog in your article. Those chocolate turkeys from Constance Popp truly are an edible work of art. :-)

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