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Peanut Butter Duo
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Caramelized White Chocolate Bar
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1939: The Year We Bought a Farm
As part of our 110th birthday celebration, we’re taking a look back at some historical (and historic!) moments in our Purdys timeline. The year is 1939. It’s the start of World War II and rations mean that cream and butter are in short supply.Hugh Forrester, then-owner at Purdys Chocolatier, came up with a pretty sweet workaround to the rations—by purchasing a dairy farm with 20 cows in Ladner, BC (which is about 40 minutes outside of Vancouver). Throughout the war, Purdys' chocolatiers and candy makers had fresh cream and butter daily from this farm to craft favourites that are still made today, like any of our Creams. But WWII didn’t just mean rations; it also meant supply restrictions, which meant that Purdys shops sold out of chocolates very quickly. Each day during the war, the shops would open at exactly noon and customers could only purchase one pound of chocolates each. There were line-ups around the block, and we usually sold out of chocolates within half an hour of opening.Evelyn Powell, a Purdys fan who lived in Edmonton during WWII and came to Vancouver with her friend on a mission to find lumber (as Alberta was experiencing a lumber shortage at the time), remembers: “One day we saw a line-up on Granville Street. In those days, when you saw a line-up, you got into it. If you didn’t need what was offered, someone you knew did.‘What is on,’ we asked. No one knew. As the line moved on, people came by waving their parcels. ‘Chocolates’, they smiled. ‘Purdys chocolates, in boxes.’ We let out a scream. We hadn’t seen a box of chocolates in months! We each got a box, and went back to Purdys every day and stood in the line-up.When we went back to Edmonton, it was with seven boxes each and some lumber. We were really proud of ourselves.” And the farm with 20 cows in Ladner? It got sold after the war ended in 1945.Next up, we’re time travelling to the 60s. Specifically 1963, which is when milk chocolate became a thing at Purdys.
1963: The Year We Got Milk (Chocolate)
As part of our 110th birthday celebration, we’re taking a look back at some historical (and historic!) moments in our Purdys timeline. In 1993, American advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners came up with the now-iconic “Got milk” slogan for the dairy industry, which is said to be the most remembered tagline ever in the beverage industry.But that’s not where our story starts. We’re going back 30 years earlier, to 1963, when Purdys customers were saying ‘got milk chocolate’? The answer was no, actually. Purdys chocolates were crafted using only dark chocolate until Charles Flavelle, then-owner of Purdys Chocolatier, introduced milk chocolate to our lineup that same year. Already popular in Eastern Canada, milk chocolate proved to be a very, ahem, sweet idea. Milk chocolate is typically made from the same ingredients as dark chocolate (cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, soya lecithin—an emulsifier—and vanillin, an extract of the vanilla bean) and one extra ingredient: milk. The percentage of cocoa powder and cocoa butter also makes a difference. Dark chocolate generally has a higher percentage of both, often giving it more of a bittersweet taste. Ghana, one of our Single Origin Bars, has a 45% cocoa content, so it’s often described as a deeper milk chocolate.And, of course, we had to take our “regular” milk chocolate even further—ours is actually a special blend of milk, dark and white chocolate together to create a memorable, uniquely Purdys taste.What’s next in our time-travel itinerary? The 80s and ice cream (baby).
c1990: The Time We Created Hedgehogs, Yaaas
As part of our 110th birthday celebration, we’re taking a look back at some historical (and historic!) moments in our Purdys timeline. The internet has dubbed the 90s as the best decade ever.Probably because it was the decade when we created Hedgehogs.You can spot Hedgehogs in any Purdys shop by their distinctive box: a golden glorious triangle. We asked Brenda, who’s been with Purdys since 1985 (around the time we introduced an Original), about the design: “I worked together with Mr. Flavelle and the marketing manager at the time on the box itself and the Hedgehog logo. The idea was to have something stand out from the standard rectangular gift boxes. I remember getting really excited about the triangle idea when we talked about it. We knew we had a really great concept there.” The Hedgehog box definitely stands out—but so do the Hedgehogs.Each shell is creamy milk chocolate crafted from 100% sustainable cocoa. (At Christmas, Santa brings dark chocolate Mini Hedgehogs with him. Want to know when they’re coming this year? Get on our email list.)At the heart of each Hedgehog is a special hazelnut gianduja (pronounced jan-DOO-yah).Gianduja is made with finely milled hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cocoa butter and sugar. It was invented during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte (1804-1815) in the city of Turin, in the Piedmont region of Italy.Cocoa was scarce during Napoleonic times, suffering from both high prices and supply issues. So chocolate makers in Turin got creative and added a local tree nut to the cocoa they had: the hazelnut, which grows in abundance in that region even today.In 1865 at the Turin Carnival, local chocolate company Caffarel had the Carnival’s favourite character, Gianduja, hand out these hazelnut chocolates (wrapped in foil) to carnival goers. And the name stuck. Hedgehogs aren’t the only chocolates at Purdys that feature gianduja. There’s the Salted Hazelnut Flake. And Turona, named after a 16th century Spanish confection. And the Coffee Crunch Mayan, the Peanut Butter Crunch Mayan and the Almond Butter Mayan, which you can find in our Favourites or Classics gift boxes or you can request a custom pack of all Mayan chocolates (just leave a note at checkout!).And now, for our last time-travel trip, we’re heading to 2014, when we switched to 100% sustainable cocoa.
Cherry Pickings: The inspiration for Sake + Sakura
We don't know about you but we think it's never officially Spring until we see cherry blossoms.And good news, even if cherry blossoms haven't come into season where you are, you can now taste them in...you guessed it, Sake + Sakura.Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossoms, and they’re the symbolic flowers of Spring, renewal and new beginnings. In Japan, cherry blossom parties are held with friends and family, where everyone enjoys a potluck under cherry blossoms. This custom is called hanami, which literally means “watching blossoms,” and it can be traced back at least a thousand years.Sake (pronounced sah-keh) dates back to the 3rd century and is a Japanese fermented rice wine with an aroma that’s been described as fruity, nutty and caramel-like. There are several different types of sake as specified by the Japanese government. Sake is usually served chilled (at about the same temperature as white wine) but it can also be served warmed up, depending on the type of sake. The sake we've sourced actually comes from Vancouver's famous Granville Island, from a local Japanese artisan sakemaker there.You'll find sake at most hanami parties, especially in Japan, so grab a picnic blanket, some friends, Sake + Sakura to share and enjoy the cherry blossoms.And if you want to learn more about how Sake + Sakura got its gorgeous speckled look (the natural way!), read our blog post about the incredibly cool Cocoa Butter Spraying Process.
Groovy, Baby: Check out Purdys’ fab take on Banoffee Pie
Keira Knightley’s character in the film Love Actually (like Banoffee Pie, it’s another British triumph) attempts to extend an olive branch to another character by way of tasty pastry.We’ve all been there, and Banoffee Pie is probably of the best ways to bribe someone—but you didn’t hear it from us.You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of Banoffee Pie recipes online and it’s now a dessert that’s famous worldwide.But what exactly is Banoffee Pie? Well, it’s an English dessert (hail, Britannia!) comprised of a crumb or pastry base, a toffee filling, and topped with fresh bananas and whipped cream. The pie is often garnished with additional caramel sauce or chocolate shavings and, if you’re feeling particularly sinful, custard or ice cream.Banoffee Pie (originally spelled Banoffi Pie) was invented in 1971 at The Hungry Monk Restaurant in East Sussex by chef Ian Dowding, with some help and encouragement from the restaurant’s owner Nigel Mackenzie.But back to our Banoffee, which packs just as much of a flavourful punch as the original.You can enjoy it on its own or as part of an utterly epic cookie sandwich:Ingredients:For cookie dough:1 cup butter1 cup sugar1 1/2 cups flour3/4 cup shredded coconut1 tsp baking soda1 tsp baking powder1/2 cup brown sugar1 egg1 1/4 cups oatmealFor filling:Purdys' Banoffee1 large bananaInstructions:Preheat oven at 350°FCream together butter and sugar.Add remaining cookie dough ingredients and mix until blended.Roll into 1 inch balls or use a scoop. Flatten dough slightly.Place on pan lined with parchment paper.Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.Once cookies are out of the oven, turn them over with a pair of tongs.Slice each Banoffee piece in half and place on one half of the cookies. The heat from the cookies should slightly melt the Banoffee. If not, warm cookies in microwave slightly.Slice banana onto the other half of the cookies.Squish the cookie sides together to make a Banana Banoffee sandwich!
Peanut Butter & Jelly, the Re(Invention) of a Classic
Have you ever wondered if there’s anything better than a peanut butter & jelly sandwich? How about Peanut Butter & Jelly chocolate? Chocolatier Rachel McKinley taste-tested lots of peanut butters and types of jellies and jams on her quest to create the chocolatier version of this childhood classic.For one, the texture of the peanut butter (smooth, crunchy, in-between?) plays a huge role in the mouthfeel of a chocolate. Crunchy peanut butter brought the exact flavour profile that Rachel wanted to achieve for the bottom layer of this piece. The peanut butter is blended with milk chocolate (from only 100% sustainable cocoa) into a gianduja (jan-DOO-yah). If you’re a Purdys fan, you’re already familiar with another type of gianduja in our runaway bestsellers, the Hedgehogs. And while grape jelly might be the traditional choice, Rachel paired the crunchy peanut butter ganache with a melt-in-your-mouth raspberry pate de fruit (the elevated French version of a fruit jelly). Wrap it in creamy milk chocolate and you’ve got yourself the makings of a soon-to-be iconic chocolate.The inspiration for our PB&J piece is naturally the peanut butter & jelly sandwich. The first known reference to PB&J is in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics, authored by Julia Davis Chandler, in 1901. Here’s the excerpt: “For variety, some day try making little sandwiches, or bread fingers, of three very thin layers of bread and two of filling, one of peanut paste, whatever brand you prefer, and currant or crab-apple jelly for the other.”But peanut butter & jelly sandwiches became popular a bit later, starting with the Great Depression in 1929.Peanut butter is high in protein and makes for a filling meal, which was especially helpful for soldiers in World War II. Jelly, bread and peanut butter were staple ingredients in war rations and the peanut butter & jelly sandwich became a popular meal, especially with American soldiers. After the war ended in 1945, the soldiers brought their love of PB&J sandwiches home and it soon became a household staple. And now there’s something even better than a PB&J sandwich. Peanut Butter & Jelly chocolates are available in all Purdys shops and online at purdys.com.
Polar Bears, Chocolates & Ice Cream, Oh My!
We’re setting up shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba at St. Vital Centre! #PurdysinthePeg. It’s a special occasion, and that calls for a few special celebratory things.Like if you’re one of the first 100 people in line on Saturday, Aug 26th (we open at 9:30am), you get a free box of some of our best-loved chocolates, all crafted from only 100% sustainable cocoa.And that day, it’s also buy 1, get 1 free on Original Ice Cream Bars.And we also have the exclusive launch of White Spruce: a dark chocolate ganache, icy fresh peppermint and the bright herbal flavour of white spruce together in a dark chocolate shell speckled with naturally coloured cocoa butter. (Not in Winnipeg? Don’t worry, White Spruce is coming to all Purdys shops soon and we’ll shout it from the treetops when it’s available.)Chocolatier Rachel McKinley, who created White Spruce, actually hails from Stonewall, Manitoba (about 25 kms from Winnipeg). She originally had plans for a career in medicine (just like Peter Higgins, President & Chocolate Scientist at Purdys Chocolatier). But one winter, she started personally fundraising with the goal of selling a couple hundred truffles for $1 each to friends and friends-of-friends. She sold 3,000 truffles and picked a new career. Rachel went on to study at Ecole Chocolat, first in their online program and then through several internships across North America, then at the Barry Callebaut Academy in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, where she apprenticed with Master Chocolatier Julian Rose.In 2006, Rachel moved to Vancouver and joined the faculty of her alma mater Ecole Chocolat and journeyed with other chocolatiers to France and Italy to study the art of chocolate-making.And on Saturday, August 26th, Rachel will be live-sculpting a 3 ft. tall polar bear out of chocolate. Follow along on Instagram for updates and photos.
Put on your baking hats, it's World Baking Day!
It's World Baking Day today!That's a whole entire day dedicated to cookies! crumbles! pies! shortbread! cheesecake!It's also exactly 1 month and 1 day to Father's Day, so we thought we'd do something for World Baking Day and create a recipe that's a cool nod to dads everywhere.Enter Shawn Taylor, Culinary Advisor (and Photographer!) at Purdys Chocolatier. As Culinary Advisor, Shawn has created or collaborated on hundreds of both savoury and sweet recipes for Purdys, either online at purdys.com or for our special eBook collections.And as Photographer at Purdys, Shawn has also styled and shot every single one of your favourite chocolates. We know, we know, it's a sweet job and somebody's gotta do it.Shawn (that's him in the photo with his son) is the father of two impossibly adorable children, and he took inspiration from them: "I’m really into baking and cooking, and I love showing my kids how you get to enjoy something you made yourself and how it’s easy to work with chocolate when you follow the steps."Licorice Caramel Shortbread SquaresIngredients:2/3 cup + 1 tbps butter1/4 cup sugar1 1/4 cup flour, sifted10 Purdys Licorice Caramels4 Purdys Vanilla Caramels4 tbsp cream100 g Purdys Classic Dark ChocolateInstructions:Preheat oven to 350°F.Prepare a 9 inch square pan with cooking oil or line with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, use a mixer to cream 2/3 cup butter and sugar together until fluffy.Sift flour and stir it into creamed butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. Be careful not to over mix or shortbread will become tough.Press into a 9 inch square pan and bake for 20 minutes. When finished, set aside to cool.Cut caramels into quarters and melt in saucepan with cream on medium heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Be careful not to burn the mixture as the chocolate will melt quickly but the caramel will need another 1-2 minutes to melt. Continue stirring until emulsified, for another 2-3 minutes.Spread caramel onto cooled shortbread and set aside to cool.Chop dark chocolate into small pieces and melt in heatproof bowl in microwave for 20 seconds at a time until melted. Stir in 1 tbsp butter until mixture is smooth and silky.With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate on top of the caramel layer and chill for 20 minutes in fridge or for 1 hour at room temperature.Cut into 2 inch squares to serve.You can also grab the printable version of this recipe.
We did it (and we're not done!)
I know I speak for everyone at Purdys Chocolatier when I say that we're all incredibly proud of the results of our Clean Water Project, where $2 from the sale of each Clean Water Project chocolate bar went towards raising funds for LifeStraw Community water filters. We launched the program just a few short weeks ago, on April 3rd, and it's specifically focused on raising funds for LifeStraw Community filters to be distributed in cocoa-growing co-ops that are part of the Purdys Sustainable Cocoa Program. Our Sustainable Cocoa Program itself continues to support our cocoa-growing co-ops around the world by providing our farmer partners with better wages, medical care and community programs that help to raise the standard of living for themselves, their families and their communities.LifeStraw Community filters, made by Swiss company Vestergaard Frandsen, are award-winning devices that are easy to use and provide clean, safe drinking water without the use of any chemicals, electricity or other special treatments. These filters remove 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoan (disease-causing) parasites—which means that fewer children miss school because of illness from dirty water or because they must fetch water from places that aren't easily accessible.Just one LifeStraw Community filter provides safe, clean drinking water for about 60 children for three whole years. We initially hoped to raise enough funds for 35 LifeStraw Community water filters. But thanks to your enthusiatic support of the Clean Water Project, we've already met our goal...and we're going to keep going.We want to see how many more LifeStraw Community water filters we can fundraise for, so we're hard at work at our Factory Kitchen crafting more Clean Water Project bars (milk chocolate with crunchy salted butter toffee pieces).Thank you for your continued support and for helping make clean water possible in rural cocoa-growing communities.Sincerely,PeterPeter Higgins, President & Chocolate Scientist at Purdys Chocolatier