A Gourmet Destination for Over 70 Years
Press release – For immediate release
A bona fide Montreal institution, Chocolats Andrée is gearing up for the fall/winter season by carrying on its longstanding tradition of excellence and small-scale production. Trends may come and go, but Chocolats Andrée evolves while still cultivating its standards and European methods, as introduced by Madeleine Daigneault in 1940. At the time, in the throes of World War II, Daigneault had dared to give up her job as a salaried worker to become a businesswoman. When war-introduced food rationing made sugar hard to come by, her clientele mobilized to get her the precious product she needed. And so was born a destination, which has since been bringing together generations of loyal enthusiasts and new followers.
After passing down her know-how to her daughter Nicole, it’s now Daigneault’s granddaughter, Stéphanie Saint-Denis, who for the past four years, has overseen the development of this home-made boutique, established over 70 years ago. “For many of our visitors, Chocolats Andrée represents one of the few enduring hallmarks of Montreal’s past, along with Schwartz’s, Moishes and Birks”, recalls the young owner, who is already keeping the tradition alive by passing it down to her daughter.
70 Years of Special Occasions
“Certain customers have been ordering here for over fifty years, whether it be for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or birthdays. We’re a part of people’s lives; those who are looking for simple, authentic pleasures,” adds the sprightly businesswoman.
Many Montrealers from the neighbouring Mile-End and Outremont areas, including many well-known politicians and members of the artistic and business communities, treat themselves to these little pleasures, made by master chocolatier Michel Hadd and his team. Chocolats Andrée’s talented group makes use of the same tools, tables and gas stoves that were used when the boutique first opened to the public. A visit to the back shop therefore becomes a trip back in time, to take in some truly unique, gourmet know-how.
A Success Story for Women
Chocolats Andrée is the story of a successful, family-run small business. But it is also the story of women who, from the outset, bet on quality and unwavering rigour, buttressed by the spirit of sharing that drives them all. Stéphanie Saint-Denis began her professional career as a chartered accountant, like her father and grandfather. “Family roots are really precious to me: I’m motivated by a passion for chocolate, which was handed down to me by my mother and my grandmother, while understanding the business mindset in order to adapt in a continually evolving environment. We’re currently reaching the third generation mark!” she shares.
Developed according to the purest French tradition, Chocolats Andrée’s gourmet bites remain a reference in high-end chocolates, both in Montreal and Canada. They’re still made in the atelier found at the Parc Avenue back store, among the marble tables, those chilled in water and the original gas stoves. Each step in this local production is done without compromising on the use of fresh, first-rate ingredients.
Chocolats Andrée wishes to share its history, its cachet and the unique quality of its products with media representatives. As a reminder, Halloween, on October 31st, is the first among many key calendar dates for Chocolats Andrée’s clientele. The past three years have seen a skyrocketing interest in the November 25th Sainte-Catherine taffy tradition, on which master confectioner Michel Hadd has become the local authority. In the weeks leading up to the November 25th, Hadd pulls his sugar using a wall-mounted hook, to obtain perfect, golden taffy, still soft but just hard enough to cut in little cubes and put in papillotes. The holiday season is also fast approaching, and Chocolats Andrée is a choice destination for couples, families and businesses wishing to take advantage of this time of year to take up with one of Montreal’s most prized traditions. In February, Valentine’s Day is clearly the perfect opportunity to offer bite-sized delicacies from the heart. The treats may be ephemeral, but the memories are enduring.
Pure pleasures, since 1940!