Thomas Haas is a fourth generation pastry chef from Germany who began his Vancouver career as the Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons hotel way back in 1995. Today, he runs his own cafes and bakeries called Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie – one is located in North Vancouver and the other in Kitsilano.
The Kitsilano location is a sophisticated cafe situated right on West Broadway, near Larch Street, and is always packed with plenty of customers eager to indulge in delectable treats. Haas is renowned in the city and beyond for his legendary double baked almond croissant (a sinfully delicious pastry for $4.25), finely crafted chocolates, cakes, and macarons.
- Passion Fruit
You could say I’m ‘mad for macarons’! Not to be confused with those chewy shredded coconut cookies called macaroons, macarons are delicate French confections consisting of two ground-almond meringue rounds hugging pastel coloured buttercream or ganache fillings. What began my adoration for these pretty little treats? Kitchening with Carly’s exquisite Parisian macarons (which are up there with Ladurée), of course! Having enjoyed her creations on a few occasions, once at the Vancouver Foodie Feast and most recently at the pop-up shop at Ishara in Gastown, I wanted to see how Thomas Haas’ French style macarons would compare.
No seating was available for us inside or outside on the busy weekend afternoon, so we purchased our box of six macarons in an assorted variety of flavours (and some impeccable chocolate cookies) to-go. Our pack included raspberry, mocha, pistachio, mango-coconut, cassis (blackcurrant), and passion fruit macarons.
Although I did enjoy these macarons, in my personal opinion, I still believe Kitchening with Carly’s macarons are superior for a number of reasons…Haas’ were slightly larger in size, denser and chewier, they were not as light and pillowy as Carly’s daintier ones, nor did they taste as fresh. You could definitely tell Thomas Haas’ macarons were not baked that day. Carly’s possessed intricate levels of flavours and aromas; Haas’ tasted very one-dimensional. Haas’ buttercream seemed thicker and oilier, while Carly’s had a cleaner, lighter finish. Haas’ had uneven ‘feet’, lacked a thin crisp shell that gently cracks when bitten, with no textural contrast between the outer layer and its interior, but Carly’s on the other hand had a very delicate outer shell. Also, Carly’s consisted of all natural ingredients, while Haas’ are said to contain dyes. Overall, Thomas Haas’ macarons are good, just not exceptional.
They do make darn good cookies, though, because these six chocolate cookies were as close to perfection as you can get. They were very well-balanced cookies consisting of simple ingredients, without preservatives. Chewy yet not heavy in texture, its non sickeningly-sweetness complemented the rich chocolate flavour.
Overall, Thomas Haas’ Kitsilano location is a lovely patisserie for any occasion. Although their desserts are on the pricier side, you do get what you pay for, and that’s expertly crafted confections containing top notch ingredients. Who do you think makes the best macarons in Vancouver? Let us know in the comments below!