Hot chocolate, anyone?

“I wanted to create something that wasn’t your regular coffee shop,” says chef Elena Krasnova, owner of Mon Paris Patisserie.

Krasnova’s shop will be participating in the Hot Chocolate Festival for the fourth time in a row. The Festival features 44 “Chocstars” with 114 flavours. This year Krasnova is presenting hot chocolate lovers with three different flavours.

Hot Chocolate three ways

For the festival’s 10th anniversary, Krasnova is presenting a very special drink called Mademoiselle
Jasmine, the same one she served in her first year of participation along with The Ruby and Sesame Sesame.

Elena Krasnova in her shop Mon Paris Patisserie. | Photo courtesy of Elena Krasnova

A nod to her love of French patisseries, Mademoiselle Jasmine is composed of 64 per cent dark Cocoa Barry chocolate (a type of chocolate Krasnova uses almost exclusively in her chocolate dishes) infused with strawberry and jasmine tea, served with whipped cream, a white chocolate flower and a chocolate-shaped strawberry.

The Ruby introduces chocolate fans to a different type of chocolate; after the classic milk, white and dark chocolates comes a fourth, and it’s red. Krasnova says this kind of Callebaut ruby chocolate was just invented in the past few years and is made from red cacao beans which are fermented, giving the chocolate a natural red colour.

“Not many people know this chocolate exists; I want to educate people, and I want people to try it,” says Krasnova.

That’s why she decided to use this chocolate in her second drink: the Ruby.

Krasnova explains that the Ruby has a really unique flavour profile, composed of ruby chocolate, raspberry puree and rooibos tea. The drink is served with a goji berry cluster, also made with ruby chocolate.

Lastly, Sesame Sesame is an Asian-inspired drink made with 64 per cent white chocolate, infused with black sesame seeds and matcha, served with black sesame tuile and whipped cream on top.

From accountant to baker

“I’ve always liked working with my hands in my spare time as a hobby and at home I used to paint,” says Krasnova.

Sesame hot chocolate.
| Photo courtesy of Elena Krasnova

Krasnova moved to Vancouver from Russia 18 years ago with her family. After graduating from school, she became an accountant. However, her need for creativity took her into a different direction.

“Art is what made me relax and helped me through life,” she says.

About 10 years ago, Krasnova took her first cake decorating class and instantly loved it. She began volunteering at a local cake shop where she would help them decorate cakes.

“I really liked it. It was three-dimensional art as opposed to the paintings,” she says.

She eventually quit her job when an opportunity arose to attend culinary school in France. There, she studied French pastries and recipes and worked to get more experience so that when she came back to Vancouver, she knew she wanted to open up a French-inspired patisserie.

Back in Vancouver, Krasnova started out working from home, baking desserts for people she knew, but it wasn’t sustainable.

“There’s only so much you can do out of your home,” she says.

Opening up shop

Three years ago, with the help of her family, she opened her first shop, Mon Paris Patisserie, a French-inspired shop with pink walls, beautiful tiles and an Eiffel tower that adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

Ruby hot chocolate. | Photo courtesy of Elena Krasnova

In traditional French fashion, Mon Paris Patisserie doesn’t have a lot of seating because the desserts are meant to be taken away to enjoy.

“Family support is very important, especially in the beginning when you can’t hire too many people,” says Krasnova.

Krasnova’s mother started working at the shop to help support her daughter and still works there today.

Mon Paris Patisserie has all kinds of pastries, macarons, chocolates, cakes and desserts that are baked fresh daily and even classes for those unable to travel all the way to Paris.

“All of my recipes are traditional French but with a modern twist,” says Krasnova.

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