With the arrival of Spring, many of us look forward to the Easter Bunny bringing baskets brimming with chocolate.
But you don’t have to wait for Easter to arrive. Year-round, Burlington is home to many chocolatiers and chocolate shops ranging from tiny boutiques making unique sweets, to larger-scale facilities that ship treats across the country.
Last year, Burlington Tourism decided to celebrate the city’s chocolate purveyors by launching the Burlington Chocolate Trail. This self-guided city tour is described as “the perfect outlet for the chocoholic in you.” For 2013, there are 13 stops on the trail — many providing samples. You can indulge in a wide variety of chocolate delights, artisan food and even chocolate spa treatments.
We started our trek on the trail by visiting Burlington’s oldest chocolate shop, Walker’s Chocolates, which is celebrating 30 years in business. We had recently enjoyed the Walker’s Chocolates Factory Tour as Adventure #18. This time, we visited their flagship store on Fairview Street where we picked up a copy of the Chocolate Trail map and received a sample of their Flavour of the Month — what a great start!
Our next stop was just doors away in the same plaza. Mrs B’s Gifthouse is a local legend — but one I admittedly did not know about until I walked in the door. By the time I walked out the door, owner Angelo Bentivegna and his wife “Mrs. B” felt like old friends! In business for 24 years, the Bentivegna family have become famous for three things: gorgeous gift basket presentations, amazing biscottis baked in-house, and a deep-rooted support of community. They firmly believe that their longtime success is thanks to Burlington residents so they try to give back to Burlington every way they can.
In addition to their chocolate dipped biscotti, other chocolate items at Mrs. B’s Gifthouse include a variety of chocolate barks, unique chocolate bars, coconut cookie macaroons, soft chocolate licorice, and more.
The family prides themselves on the principles of providing customers with service, selection and a unique shopping experience backed by a quality and satisfaction guarantee — they know their reputation depends on it!
I’ll let Angelo himself tell you more about Mrs. B’s Gifthouse in this video.
We zigzagged across the city in anticipation of what was waiting for us at Christy’s Gourmet Gifts. Participants on the Burlington Chocolate Trail get to sample their signature product, Christy’s Crunch. I’ve had the pleasure of trying this treat before — an incredible combination of Belgian milk chocolate combined with almonds, pure butter toffee and a light cookie crunch. Word-of-mouth about Christy’s
Crunch has spread so far in the past decade that they now dispatch orders daily across North America.
Besides their Chocolate Crunch, Christy’s offers many other types of confections, gourmet sweets, and handmade cookies. Master chocolatier, Bernie Mueller, boasts that all of their products are created from family recipes using the finest Belgian chocolate and pure butter. Another specialty of Christy’s is beautifully packaged corporate and client gifts.
In Downtown Burlington, we visited Sweetness Bakery on Brant Street, home to a huge variety of cupcakes and other pastries. This shop was so busy with customers in search of sweets that we settled on taking a photo outside in front of their sign.
If you want your mouth to water, take a look at their shrine to cupcake goodness. In the chocolate department, they have eight cupcake varieties in rotation: Classic Chocolate, Vanilla Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Sundae, Chocolate Truffle, Triple Chocolate and, perhaps the ultimate… Brownie Explosion.
We couldn’t possibly hit every stop on the trail in one day, so we finished off this leg of the tour in Aldershot at Turtledoves Bakery. Their claim to fame is producing some of the tastiest gluten-free baked goods around.
Turtledoves Bakery has established themselves as both a destination bakery for people with celiac disease (and others who require a gluten-free diet) as well as a local neighbourhood bakery. They make everything from breads, cakes and cheesecakes to cookies, muffins, pies, tarts, and squares in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
The Burlington Chocolate Trail website is smart phone enabled which allowed us to check
out upcoming stops on the go!
Also, remember to ask one of the participating businesses for the secret chocolate code word. This allows you come back to the website to enter to win a “Chocolate Delights” gift basket.
If you hit the Chocolate Trail, let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear if we helped you discover a new Burlington gem or if you were able to visit one of the locations we missed.