Walk n’ Choc
Where the road less travelled by foot leads to chocolate.
Here is the story of how I became the accidental chocolate tourist in Nova Scotia.
It all started with Air New Zealand.
I seem to inadvertently learn about chocolate treasures when there’s a plane involved. Reading the in-flight magazine to pass the nearly 15 hours it would take me to fly direct from Vancouver to Auckland, I learned of the gourmet chocolate shops throughout New Zealand. Once there I spent a great deal of time in pursuit of them while stumbling on a few unexpected ones along the way. All this was accomplished on foot and thus the idea for Walk n’ Choc was spawned: self-guided walking tours where chocolate is one of the sights to see, taste and smell.
Upon arrival at Halifax Stanfield International airport I checked out the welcome brochures shortly after picking up my luggage. This is a great stop at the beginning of your travels to help orient yourself to your destination. And there it was! A glossy one page flyer for
Gourmandises Avenue Chocolatier – Nova Scotian Hand Made Chocolates.
Located at Seaport Market in downtown Halifax, this seemed to be the perfect chocolate quest to undertake on foot. I began at Historic Properties at the waterfront and walked along the pathway next to the harbour. I veered off ever so slightly to a city street to avoid construction where I happened upon a chocolate shop! It was located on Lower Street just past the Alexander Keith Nova Scotia Brewery. Apart from some lighthouse decals on a box of plain chocolates, nothing interested me here so I got back on the pathway and eventually ended up at Seaport Market. Just beyond is Pier 21 a museum on immigration into Canada – a sort of Ellis Island of Halifax.
I guess-timate a leisurely stroll to take roughly 30 minutes while a power walk without stopping would take about 20 minutes. There are shops along the way, some boats and informative plaques about the war of 1812 as well as photo ops of the harbour and a view to Dartmouth just across the water.
Most of the way is paved so this route is suitable for those with mobility challenges and/or in a wheel chair.
The ferry terminal is located here, cruise ships dock near Pier 21 and the Halifax International Busker Festival is held here during the summer. You can also visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Visitors Info Centre en route.
Downtown Halifax Walking Map.
True to Nova Scotia, there was an assortment of marine themed chocolates. I indulged and bought myself a dark chocolate lobster (the only Nova Scotia lobster a vegan can eat) along with some truffles filled with local ingredients (i.e. blueberries and wine). On the scale of artisan chocolate it rates quite high for taste, appearance and texture – key characteristics of artisan hand-made chocolates. The look should be shiny while the taste creamy and smooth (no detection of sugar crystals and not overly sugary: this is real chocolate not candy!) The snap as you bite into the chocolate and the subsequent melting once it hits your tongue are signs that the chocolate is well-tempered.
The Heritage wrapper you see in the photo was purchased at the Fortress of Lousibourg on Cape Breton Island. This is a big complex that recreates a French village in the 1700s. With international trading during this time there was access to spices and this chocolate reflects that in the bars and chocolate drink powder for sale in the gift shops on site. Walking around the Fortress is worth at least one bar.
Note: Mars (Inc.) is listed on the wrapper as the company responsible for producing this chocolate.