Three decades of sweet joy - Sutton's chocolate Belge is ready for Halloween
By Manfried H. Starhemberg
Before Norka Muriel was allowed to purchase the venerable"Cocolaterie Belge" in Sutton, seven years ago,she had to work with the previous owner for a full year. "They wanted to make certain that the quality will continue" smiles the engaging and courteous Norka, a Bolivian born entrepeneur. "I came up here to visit with my sister who had moved to Canada many years before I did, fell in love with the country and here I am"
Here she is indeed. There are many days that she starts at 9am and does not leave until 2am the next morning. She is all by herself, every single piece of chocolate is hand crafted, there are not a lot of molds - she will make violins and hounted houses, all by hand. There are three machines constantly mixing the dark chocolate, the milk chocolate and the luscious white base which I had the hardest time not dipping my finger into, in the last moment of desire remembering health regulations of the province of Quebec.
How long does it take to make such a beautiful creation such as the plate of tiny Halloween treats? "At least two hours, but some things like this small violin which encompasses three different chocolates might take a bit longer". And then there are the stock truffles,cream filled chocolates,nougats, bars, nut confetions and chocolate treats on popsicle sticks. At best estimate, there were about 4,000 pieces on display, maybe more, Norka does not know either. "I just work every day and fill the showcases, I use only the best Belgian chocolate from a company called "Callebaut" which has been around for a few centuries. All my nuts come from one of the oldest Montreal distributors of fine imported and domestic product and my cream and milk is locally sourced and certified to the n'th degree. There is no short cutting when you want to make the best product".
With just a couple of days to go before Halloween, we left a harried Norka to her mixing machines and her spotless tables, wishing that we might be young again to put on that costume and knock on the door of Chocolaterie Belge in Sutton on Halloween evening.