Sweet wonder: Pearl gets a taste of Lowertown’s Maison Chaloin

Pearl Pirie is a local arts enthusiast who arrived in Ottawa about 20 years ago for university. She blogs about the city’s literary events — in both word and image.  Her second full-length poetry collection is coming out this fall.

It’s been a good summer for Ottawa foodies – two exceptional businesses opened – Luna Gelato Cafe in Old Ottawa South and Maison Chaloin in Lowertown.

Apt 613 gave the lowdown on Luna, which has possibly the creamiest texture of gelato in town and the best presentation, but my money’s more often on another sweet spot.

I’d been watching the spot near Dalhousie and Gigues since their Chocolatier sign went up in mid-June. I suggested to friends that we welcome them by a sleep over on the sidewalk on their opening day to welcome the new business to town, except I had no takers. On July 19th we went by and the Ottawa location of Maison Chaloin was open.

It’s a fourth generation chocolatier from Creste, in Provence, near Avignon with a three-year-old shop in Gatineau at 546 Saint-Joseph. The Quebec location has been getting good reviews on The Urban Spoon.

They bring their patisseries to this side of the river each morning. They have local gelato using organic brown sugar, sundaes, truffles of various kinds, meringues and macaroons in various colours and flavours, as well as bottled goodnesses like lavender-apricot jam or salted caramel. There’s a crepe menu too. They are open for breakfast.

What they do different than some is a linen tablecloth and a plating of french pastries. You can buy them to go, or just singly or you can get a display with a sample of sorbet and a mini meringue, fruit reductions and the pastry of your choice. It looks and tastes luxurious. I’ve taken a few friends there to verify it.

On our most recent visit, hubby and I tucked into their lemon crepe:
lemon crepe
They vary from just over $5 for a plain crepe to $11.80 for one with Grand Marnier and tropical fruit.

We tried the triple chocolate mousse pyramid as well. It was airy and rich, not overly sweet with a mix of textures of the fresh base and the chocolate shell.

pyramide double mouusse

You can get all kinds of gift boxes of truffles but this time we managed to just have two to take with us?

One even got all the way home.

pimento truffle

It’s a small place but friendly. It seats 15 at small cafe tables. The food is a treat because it is done so well and presented so well.

For more photos of Maison Chaloin, click here.

Yum. Thanks Pearl!