Despite being in my neighborhood, Chez Christophe in Burnaby Heights is one of those places I’ve passed by for years without visiting, instead opting to drive downtown or to the North Shore for my patisserie cravings. It wasn’t until I saw the socially-distanced lineups out the door at the onset of COVID-19 that prompted me to check the place out and realize what I’ve been missing in my own backyard this whole time.
The Take-Out Experience
There’s often a pretty long lineup outside due to the small space and need for distancing. However it’s pretty relaxed and organized compared to the chaos that erupts inside other pastry shops. They close early and aren’t open 7-days-a-week, so be sure to call or check out their hours before making the drive out.
You can order online for pickup or choose from what’s available in store. Items do tend to sell out pretty fast on weekends and towards the end of day, so you should plan ahead if there’s something specific you really want to try.
The packaging is elegant and they tape down the bottom of the cakes so that they don’t slide around.
Although Chez Christophe is a cafe that sells coffee, sandwiches, pastries, chocolates and other items, their cakes are what keeps me going back. Below are a selection of various cakes from different visits.
70% dark chocolate mousse, mango confit, passionfruit and mango curd, chocolate sponge and hazelnut crunch. This is one of my favorites because the mousse has so much deep chocolate flavor but isn’t overly sweet. The filling is tangy and tropical while the base has a nice crunch.
Lemon curd placed on top of a crunchy sweet pastry base. Lemon yuzu ganache is sandwiched between the pastry base. The lemon curd isn’t overly tart, and goes well with the pastry and genache on the bottom.
Pureed sweetened chestnut mousse with vanilla chantilly with bergamot soaked sponge on sweet pastry base. The puree was sweetened just enough so you could still taste the natural sweetness and flavor of chestnuts. This looks so good it just makes you want to cut into it ASAP!
Hazelnut chocolate mousse, dark chocolate mousse, jaconde sponge and cherry confit on a hazelnut crunch base. I love how how the freshness and tartness of the cherry confit combines with the richness of the hazelnut and chocolate. Another must-get item.
Matcha namelaka, matcha chiffon, lemon yuzu mousse and white chocolate sesame crunch. For those that don’t like overly sweet or rich desserts, this would be the one to get. You can taste the bitterness of real matcha powder, tons of vibrant yuzu flavors and toasty sesame notes from the crunchy base.
Choux filled with an earl grey namelaka and vanilla monte (mousse), it has a disk of ruby chocolate topped with vanilla monte. I didn’t enjoy this, but that’s probably because I’ve never really liked cream puffs. The piece of chocolate on top is pretty hard to break without squishing the entire thing and making a mess, especially if it’s been sitting in the fridge. The mousse was too rich and the earl grey didn’t have enough tea or bergamot flavor. The whole thing ended up tasting a little one dimensional.
Mascarpone mousse with coffee infused whipped ganache on a sponge soaked in espresso. Like above, the chocolate on top was also very hard to break apart, making it difficult to cut into and eat without squishing the cake. I’d suggest letting it come to room temperature before serving. You could taste the flavor and bitterness of the espresso-soaked sponge which was great, but too bad it didn’t have any alcohol!
33% ruby chocolate hibiscus namelaka, lemon yogurt mousse, hibiscus confit, ruby macadamia crunch with a layer of sponge. Always excited to try their features. The hibiscus confit gave this cake a really fruity and floral flavor, while the sponge was light and moist.
Since the cakes at Chez Christophe are pretty balanced in flavor, they go well with a milder dessert wine. I tried the Platinum M at Home Block at Cedar Creek this summer and was surprised by how unique and delicious this was. It’s a Madeira-style fortified wine made with Chardonnay that sat in barrels under the Okanagan sun for 5 years in order to reduce and concentrate. The Platinum M almost tastes like a good port with the subtle addition of tropical apricot flavors. Unlike icewine, this is something truly unique in the Okanagan Valley and I’m not sure it’ll ever be made again. It’s now sold out at the winery, so grab a bottle if you ever see it! It pairs well with almost any dessert and even some cheeses.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover Chez Christophe, but it’s become my go-to place to get some nice dessert. You can taste how each component is well executed with amazing flavors and quality ingredients, and everything just seems to work. Nothing is overly sweet for the sake of being sweet. At $6.95 for their individual cakes, they also offer great value compared to other patisseries that now charge $8-10 for cakes of this calibre.
4717 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC
Price Range: ***
Rating: ***** (5/5 – Highly recommended)