Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie in Burnaby’s Heights neighbourhood has become a destination for artisanal chocolates and pastries
In 2013, award-winning pastry chef and chocolatier Christophe Bonzon opened Chez Christophe Chocolaterie and Patisserie with his wife Jess Bonzon in Burnaby’s charming Heights neighbourhood.
Bringing the flavours and traditions of Switzerland to Canada, Chez Christophe's collection includes handmade chocolates as well as macarons, viennoiserie, desserts and cakes.
Due to overwhelming support, the pair moved to a larger location in 2016 with more seating, an outdoor patio and an expanded menu with sandwiches.
BCLiving caught up with Christophe to chat about his inspiration, his favourite desserts, and the secret to his success...
BCL: Congratulations on your fifth anniversary! What’s been the key to your success?
CB: Thank you! It has been an amazing five years. We have been really touched by the continuous support of our customer base. I think the consistency of our product is a key element to our success as well as the fact that we keep adding new products and changing the designs, which inspires people to keep coming back to see what is new.
BCL: Why did you decide to move from Switzerland to Canada?
CB: Jess and I came on holiday to Vancouver in 2007 and travelled through Canada. We fell in love with the country. In 2011, I received an opportunity to come and work for the Toptable Group at CinCin as executive pastry chef. Since moving, we have never regretted our decision and just love it more with the passage of time—near the mountains and with the sea in our backyard!
BCL: Why did you choose Burnaby for your business location?
CB: We found our first home in North Burnaby when we arrived to live in Vancouver in 2011. We love the feeling of community with small shops and how people know each other by name, which is really similar to Switzerland. We thought it would be a great addition to the neighbourhood. Since day one, we have been overwhelmed with the positive welcome to The Heights.
BCL: How has your business evolved since you opened the new location, which is just across the street from your original spot?
CB: The move was the best decision we made. We were outgrowing our space and didn’t have a lot of seating, but we also didn’t want to move to another block as we had firmly established ourselves as a destination. The opportunity to move across the street to a much a bigger space presented itself at just the right time as the ideal solution.
BCL: What keeps you inspired to create such elaborate chocolate and pastry designs?
CB: Changing the menu and our chocolate collection regularly keeps us motivated as we don’t fall into a routine. I am really fortunate to have a great team and we keep pushing ourselves to create new flavour combinations and designs. It really is a team effort. I bring my experience to the ideas and create them with our team.
BCL: What is your absolutely favourite classic pastry or chocolate?
CB: I love the tarte au chocolat. It is simple with a great balance of chocolate flavour.
For breakfast, it would be the crème salée, just out of the oven slightly warm. A salée à la crème is a specialty from the canton of Vaud in the province where I was born in Yverdon. It is a cream tart made with brioche dough. I can remember eating it when I was small whilst visiting my grandparents. It was fantastic! It is something that I’ll always find delicious as it is loaded with memories… my mom used to make it as well for a special Sunday brunch. It is best eaten when it is still slightly warm… you won’t be able to stop!
Most recently, I travelled to France and we created our very own custom chocolate with Cacao Barry, part of its Or Noir program. We named it Yverdon, after my hometown and these chocolate bars (pictured) have been released for our fifth anniversary!