Chocolatier Constance POPP for Decadent Chocolates the Queen Can’t Even Resist

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As I’ve written about before in my review write-ups on Winnipeg’s Peasant Cookery, ELEMENTS and Deseo, I was happily stunned to find such a ‘foodie’ scene in Winnipeg in Canada’s Manitoba province during my August visit.

From restaurants and shops to markets and specialty shops — like chocolate for example — Winnipeg has its fair share of delicious culinary delights.  

I had an opportunity to meet with female entrepreneur Constance Menzies at her shop Chocolatier Constance POPP, who has so much passion for chocolate — and life — that it rubs off as you sit with her sampling chocolates while she talks a mile a minute, sharing one amusing story after another.

She came out of the back kitchen with a large plate of chocolates for me to sample, followed by cupcakes, after which you start to think: she IS kidding, right?

Down the hall to the bathroom, I observed some of the paintings on the walls while thinking about consuming a whole lotta sugar and fell in love with a piece that was perched up against the wall by Winnipeg artist Joan Baudic. (in the photo on the left, Constance is holding it up against the round table in the middle of her store that is LOADED with chocolate).

I learn that the painting was done with acrylics and chocolate powder, which she added to the mix in a custom painting she did for Constance a few years back. “I MUST meet this woman,” I declared out loud and asked Constance to call her for me. I wanted to meet with her, talk to her and who knows, maybe head back with a canvas. (read my write-up on Joan).

The colors were dynamic and rich and I was mesmorized by the fact that she used chocolate in her painting.

As Constance told me this story and many others, I started to taste. My host for lunch, Kirsten Godbout from ELEMENTS, came along for the ride, which resulted in someone to share my massive plate. (THANK GOD for miracles). I couldn’t imagine getting through half the plate and I’m a girl who seriously loves chocolate.


Let’s get real. If you’re a woman, you must not just “like” chocolate, but worship it, at least that’s how this New York-born woman sees the world. Whenever I meet someone who doesn’t like chocolate (it’s rare but it happens), I think they’re kidding or throwing it out there just to get a reaction.

Lately, I’m not such a fan of milk chocolate, but white and dark chocolate? Bring it on baby. And Constance did just that, but whoaahh Nelly! We did indeed, try them all, or at least it felt like it.














We started off with her Birch Bark Bar, which is made with premium white and milk chocolate and pure birch syrup tapped from northern Manitoba. The mould was moulded from a piece of birch bark taken from a tree from her property.  

Apparently, it is much harder to ‘tap’ a birch tree than it is a maple tree because they’re so much smaller. For every 40 liters of maple water, you end up with one liter of maple syrup and the yield is less than half with a birch tree.

“How long have you been doing this?” I asked her as I took my first bite into our second chocolate: Lemon Cream, which is made with freshly squeezed lemons and and white chocolate in a dark chocolate shell.

The shop is 4.5 years old however she says she feels like they’re just getting started. She says, “Winnipeg is big enough for the Queen to pass through but small enough where you can really be successful as an entrepreneur.” They are the signature chocolate  for the City of Winnipeg, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which will open in a few years.

She participates in a number of community events as well and special projects in Winnipeg and the greater area. As a woman entrepreneur, she talked about life as a woman in Winnipeg — professional and personal. Just when you think an area is bound to be full of married couples with kids, you found yourself meeting a lot of couples without kids and single men and women in their thirties, forties and fifties. This was the case for me during my first couple of days in Winnipeg.

Then we moved onto the Queen who she had the opportunity to meet and then back to the art scene in the city. “When you finish tasting,” she said, I’ll take you to a few art galleries in town which will be open till 7″ — something an art addict like me could never say no to.

























“Next we have our award-winning Manitobar,” she said, but my mind was far far away, observing at the design of her shop, still floating in the white chocolate with almonds and the Venezuelan cocao knibs. 

She had nailed the fine details, such as the gorgeous hardwood floor, the soft muted warm colors of the wall, the chandelier hanging from the ceiling, the baskets scattered throughout the store and the uniquely designed cat-shaped chocolate among other things.

As my mind tried to follow the stories, while basking in the orgasmic quality of the fabulous artisan chocolate before me and taking in the elegant design of the shop, she tells me that her chocolate found it’s way to the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2010 Golden Globes in L.A. and CenterPlace Manitoba at the 2010 Olympics!

Way to go girl, I thought — and eventually said.

She believes in being socially and environmentally responsible. CCP’s packaging is compostable and the stained-glass purses, shoes and boxes, wall paintings and hand painted cards (with chocolate of course) are all made by Winnipeg artists.

They have other in-shop made chocolate items such as a made-fresh daily chocolate drink, chocolate covered almonds, a variety of chocolate barks, bars (filled & solid), tasting squares and the popular Extreme Chocolate Cake.

The shop is completely renovated keeping sustainability in mind including: reclaimed lumber flooring, new high-efficiency furnace etc., and uses compostable packaging/to-go cups and eco-friendly cleaning products.






















Back to the Manitoba Bar, which ultimately became my favorite of everything I tried. It is made with a soft ganachel layer on top and crunchy base and is then cut into the shape of the province of Manitoba. How cute is that? The bar uses Manitoba ingredients such as flax seed, hemp seed, sunflower seed and lemon honey. It also has giandua chocolate, venuvea coconibs, and sea salt. I so wished I wasn’t so full when that entered the mouth.

But we weren’t done yet. Out came the chocolate buttercream icing and vanilla white chocolate icing  dark chocolate cupcakes.









And, just when I thought there could be no more, I headed into the kitchen to see what was up. My stomach could handle no more, but my eyes most certainly could.

There was more eye candy — literally. White chocolate, bark, nuts and fabulous packaging.














































Their chocolate bon bons and truffles are made with no artificial preservatives or flavors. She uses premium Belgium chocolate (dark, white, milk and single-origin) and their creams and pralines are made with a range of spices, fruits and nuts. Most of their ingredients are organic and fair trade and they use made-in-Manitoba products where-ever possible.

And so it was time to leave…off to some of the city’s hippest art galleries with the Chocolate Queen. I could barely get up as I had finished my last bite of a piece of the cupcake, which she insisted I try. I suppose I could blame Constance for my putting on about 7 pounds in Canada, but then again, I could have resisted the chocolate. I could have said no thank you. Hmmm, no, I couldn’t have I’m afraid. Her chocolates are just too good.

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