My Review of 2020 Tasting Plates Yaletown
Presented by Vancouver Foodster
From oh so decadent desserts from The Belgian Chocolate Cafe, over the top vegan ice cream from Passione Gelato, savoury flatbread from Manoush’eh and wildly decadent pastry from Cafe Portrait, it was a sweet and savoury Yaletown Tasting Plates.
Black Forest Cake, CACAO biscuit with layers of crispy butter cream, finished with 80% dark chocolate mousses
The Belgian Chocolate Cafe
38 Smithe Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Belgian Cafe and Desserts
Being lactose intolerant means never having to say “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to smack the crap out of you if you eat these delicious decadent desserts in front of little old me – sob!”. Can Vancouver have too many dessert cafes? No, because drinking coffee seems to be a national sport in Canada. Open since November, 2019, The Belgian Chocolate Cafe is a place you should go to first before you lose all your loose change at the Parq Casino because I guarantee you will cry if you don’t have enough green stuff to indulge in these incredible desserts.
Raspberry Charlotte Cake, sponge cake with layers of raspberry mousse
My friend and I started our Yaletown Tasting Plates event at this place, but decided to take our our desserts to go. My friend did drink the Classic Hot Chocolate and she said it was rich and delicious (I had to forego it as it had dairy). Although I know that The Belgian Chocolate Cafe does have a vegan hot chocolate, unfortunately at tasting plates events where the tasting plates are premade, I couldn’t ask for it, but I know I’m coming back to try this.
The next morning for breakfast, I had a itsy bitsy teeny weeny little square (1/millioneth of an inch) of each dessert with my breakfast as that’s about the only amount of dairy that my system can tolerant.
Chocolate & Speculoos Cake, sponge cake with layers of almonds, hazelnuts & Belgian Speculoos
The cakes were moist, creamy and light… all three desserts tasted as they should coming out of a bakery that produces high quality desserts. My favorite though was the Raspberry Charlotte Cake as it had that delicious tart and sweet raspberry flavour.
The Cherry Brioche was something I could eat as it didn’t have cream and I ate this in 2 minutes flat as it flaky and buttery (but not too much). The cherry filling was delicious although I wish there was more filling.
The Belgian White Chocolate Bar that we also received was tasty, although I’m not much of a fan of white chocolate bars as I prefer to eat them when they are in desserts paired with some other flavour as I find them too bland as a chocolate bar.
Although it is called The Belgian Chocolate Cafe, there are plenty of desserts that don’t have chocolate, sandwiches and of course, special coffees that pair so well with their desserts. There’s also Belgium Waffles with bananas and maple syrup, ice cream and a Cruffin which apparently which is the result of leaving a croissant and a muffin together on one plate overnight to do the nasty (wink wink). What I’m dying to try though is the Vegan Combo which is a Chocolate Decadence Cake with Vegan Hot Chocolate
55 Smithe Street, Vancouver
Vegan Mango Sorbetto and Dark Shock
I didn’t mean to start my dinner with dessert but since my friend had already parked her car at Parq Casino and our first stop had been at The Chocolate Belgian Cafe where we got our dessert to go, we headed to Passione Gelato which was just across the street. I love that not only were our Tasting Plates ready (they pre-scooped and kept them in the freezer), but that it was vegan ice cream which meant that little ol’ lactose me could have this – YESSSSS!!!! Because Owner Salvatre Bocarossa worked at Bella Gelateria under James Coleridge and together with James won the Grand Title of North American Champions in the North American Gelato Championships, I wasn’t surprised that the vegan ice cream here was absolutely delicious (yes as good as Umaluma) as it was creamy and tasted like the moo moo version. The Dark Shock is really a chocoholic’s dream come true, vegan style and if you love mango, well the Mango Sorbetto is mango x 100. I’m hoping that they offer two non-dairy flavours daily,
Flavours at Passione Gelato change regularly, with past featured favours of Passion Fruit, Black Sesame, Amalena Cherry, and even Durian. Passione Gelato even makes ice cream with liquor such as Parq Autumn: Bourbon whiskey with chocolate and candied orange peel.
1120 Denman Street, Vancouver
Cafe Portrait is a newly opened art cafe and brunch spot featuring Turkish Coffee and other Turkish dishes. Our Tasting Plates consisted of in-house made pastries pictured below. All were flaky and moist and there wasn’t that much feta cheese in the Spanakopita so I enjoyed eating it, after I picked up the feta cheese. Because it was late, I only had one sip of the Turkish Coffee. It was robust and aromatic, but what I found interesting was that they roasted the beans onsite.
Spanakopita, Cheese Phylo Swirl, Turkish Coffee
There’s also latte and jazz music in the background at Cafe Portrait, although it’s a small space so you’ll have get here early to grab a table. They’re also open for brunch where you can try Sujuk & Eggs which is a lean Turkish beef sausage.
620 Davie Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Dips: Hummus and Baba ganouj / Flatbreads: Za’atar vegan and Lahm be ajeen meat
If you love pita bread, well that’s what the flatbread at M’anousheh tastes like. I chose the Za’atar Vegan which was basically just ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, and salt. It was fragrant and flavourful but I found it a little too salty for my taste as I only add salt to food when it’s french fries, steak or really bland food. The Hummus and Baba Ganouji (eggplant) were fresh and much more tastier than the ones you buy at supermarkets.
Besides flatbread, Manousheh features dishes from various regions in the Middle East. There are soups and other Middle Eastern specialities such as Soujouk which is a spicy ground beef pie and Knafeh which is a thin noodle-like pastry, soaked in sugar-based syrup, and layered with cheese, or nuts.
Upcoming Tasting Plates Events
Get your advance tickets for the following events now. Note that the earlier you buy tickets, the cheaper they are, but don’t forget to bring your tupperware because it usually is a tasting feast:
May 23, 2020 – Culinary Scavenger Hunt (tickets now on sale here)
May 27, 2020 – Tasting Plates North Vancouver
June – Langley Tasting Plates