• By: Mckenzie Donovan

Stubbe Chocolates brings European perfection to sweets

ABOVE: Heinrich Stubbe is the master chocolatier, head pastry chef, and proprietor of Stubbe Chocolates in Westboro.

Stubbe Chocolates is one of Ottawa’s oldest continuous operating businesses. It began, in 1845, in Germany and came to Ottawa in 1989. Until a few years ago, the shop was on Dalhousie Street in the ByWard Market but has since relocated to Westboro.

Heinrich Stubbe owns and operates the flagship Wellington Street store and he is both the master chocolatier and head pastry chef. Stubbe comes from a small city in north-western Germany near the Dutch border and is immensely proud of his culinary education and background.

The training program in his native Germany stipulates that one must become a pastry chef before moving into specialty areas. “In Germany, you cannot go just into chocolate, you have to go for pastry in general, then you can specialize in chocolate.” Stubbe apprenticed for three years in a pastry shop. He adds that it is key to, “never apprentice with your family because you have to gain new knowledge.”

His certifications as a master baker and chocolatier hang proudly on the wall in the showroom. When he moved to Canada, Heinrich decided that being a chocolatier was his happy place, it allowed him to work in his field without the long hours of being a baker. Stubbe explains, “When I lived in Germany we had a 150-seat café and every morning we started at 3 am or 4 am.” He adds, “what I really like to do which gives me civil hours is chocolate.”

Inside Stubbe’s, there is chocolate, unlike anything imaginable. Like something from a lost age, the shop conjures up images of the movie Chocolat (2000), or a prim European confectionary straight from the streets of Vienna, Brussels, or Munich.

Everything in the store is made from scratch and on location. The chocolate is ordered directly from the Barry Callebaut company in Europe. Stubbe says of his chocolate source: “I do it this way to enable me to have chocolate from different parts of the world that I would never get by myself.”

The selection of truffles is his pride and joy, and there are dozens of different varieties in the glass display. Beautifully crafted, they appear as small works of art.

The chocolate bars arranged along the side wall are also a favourite of Stubbe’s, and they can only be purchased at Stubbe Chocolate locations. All are, of course, made in-house and by hand.

Stubbe’s also makes baked goods, including a menu of different cakes and pastries like their apple strudel, which is made in season and to order.

Although a chocolate shop and bakery, the store hires only the most qualified and professionally trained culinary talent in Ottawa. Heinrich is a judge during the examination process at the acclaimed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and is highly involved with the students during their time in the program. This allows him to spot future talent and recruit the best graduates right out of school to work at his store.

With Valentine’s Day approaching there will be chocolate everywhere but the real quality chocolate available from Stubbe Chocolates will put any box of Lindt or Ferrero to shame.

Heinrich happily jokes that he tried to get away from red and hearts on Valentine’s Day one year, but it cannot be done. Three different heart sizes can be filled with three, six or, 15 truffles. There are also heart chocolates, chocolate lollipops and Valentine’s Day themed chocolate bars.

Heinrich Stubbe has passed his master skills on to his children. His son Daniel runs a Stubbe chocolate location in Toronto, and his daughter Anna operates a store in Kanata called Anna Stubbe Chocolates & Confectionaries.

With exemplary quality and a tradition passed down from generation to generation, Stubbe’s legacy of over 175 years is well positioned to continue for a long time to come.

To taste unparalleled excellence, look no further than Stubbe Chocolates.

Visit Stubbe Chocolates at 1224 Wellington Street West, Unit A1, or online at www.stubbechocolatesottawa.com

Photos: Mckenzie Donovan