When Chef Anup Chaubal was developing his third signature chocolate for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, he wanted the story behind it to be just as important as the flavour.
For the Mumbai-born chef, the story behind his new Honeybear Blonde Chocolate, made with honey sourced from the Fairmont's rooftop beehive, centred on the important role bees play in the ecosystem.
"We wanted to have a wholesome recipe that represented not only the chocolate and the honey, but told a story," Chaubal explained. This subtly sweet chocolate bar is made from white chocolate and silky caramel, and features generous hunks of dried B.C. blueberries, almonds toasted in rooftop honey, and bee pollen.
"We realized the blueberries and almonds are completely dependent on the honeybees to pollinate them, so that's how the bees play into that," added Chaubal, who noted how almonds "rely 100 per cent" on honeybees for pollination.
"It's frightening to think that our children and grandchildren may not have the fruit and vegetables we know and love if bees continue to disappear at the rate they are," added Fairmont Executive Chef Isabel Chung, in a release.
Honeybear Blonde is the latest addition to the Fairmont's signature chocolate line, after the hotel rolled out its Black Bear dark chocolate and Brown Bear milk chocolate last summer.
Renowned French chocolatier Cacao Barry approached Chaubal in the fall of 2016 to develop his own line of chocolate, which brought him to Paris to create his own recipes.
"All of these chocolates were developed through blind tasting. I just kept looking for those flavours that could represent Whistler," Chaubal said.
Because white chocolate doesn't contain any chocolate solids—it uses a blend of cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla instead—it is often maligned by chocolate purists. But Chaubal said, like any product, it's not the ingredients themselves that create quality, but rather how you use them.
"It's not the white chocolate in itself that is villainous, it's the amount of sugar you add in creating white chocolate," he said, noting how the majority of mass-produced white chocolate is low on cocoa and high on processed sugar."If you can control the sugar content, it's not a bad product in itself."
For Chaubal, having the opportunity to cook with fresh-from-the-hive honey—not to mention the strawberries, blueberries, edible flowers and other ingredients grown in the Fairmont's garden—is a chef's dream come true.
"It's incredible. I'm just super happy that we have this opportunity to grow our own rooftop honey. I think it's an incredible program across most of our Fairmont properties and especially here at the Chateau," he said. "It just gives us the freshest ingredients possible for our kitchen."
The Honeybear Blonde, Black Bear and Brown Bear chocolates are available for purchase in 100-gram bars at the Portobello Market. Guests can also sample seven textures of "Bear" chocolate at the Fairmont's Grill Room, as well as at The Wildflower.
For more information, visit fairmont.com/whistler.