Lesley Chesterman, Special to Montreal Gazette

Today’s chocolate makers aim to excite. Bite into a truffle by Chloé Germain-Fredette of Les Chocolats de Chloé and you might taste piment d’espelette, basil or passionfruit. Try one of Geneviève Grandbois’s chocolates at Les Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois and you’ll find bonbons flavoured with extra-virgin olive oil. These days, you’ll uncover everything from balsamic vinegar and figs to bacon and black olives in chocolate, which is good fun when the flavours fly, but terrible when they don’t. Tobacco, mushroom or cucumber ganache, anyone? Non merci!

Fondant filling for the cream eggs

To make the fondant filling for the cream eggs, sugar syrup is poured out onto a metal table and chunks of butter are swirled in till a thick ivory paste is formed. “We don’t even add vanilla to the mix,” says Saint-Denis. “It’s just sugar syrup and butter. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

Those seeking more traditional chocolates won’t get much more authentic than the lineup of bonbons at Chocolats Andrée. Opened on Parc Ave. in Montreal in 1941 by sisters Madeleine Daigneault and Juliette Farand, the elegant chocolaterie is still going strong under third-generation owner Stéphanie Saint-Denis, who took over from her mother, Nicole, in the ’90s. Her grandmother, Madeleine, passed away three years ago at the age of 97. “She was still living above the chocolaterie,” says Saint-Denis, “and coming down to the store check on things every once in awhile.”

Ever since the last box of Valentine’s chocolates was scooped up by a local chocoholic, Saint-Denis and her staff of four (eight during peak holiday seasons) have been madly preparing for Easter. “The production time between the two holidays is short this year,” says the ever-smiling Saint-Denis at work in her shop.

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