Archives for posts with tag: Chocolate


Fleurbain Truffles

3/4 c old fashioned oats (pulverized in a food processor)

3/4 c macadamia and cashew nut-butter (or a nut-butter of your choice)

1/4 c cocoa

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp amaretto

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c chopped dried cherries

1/4 mini chocolate chips

Mix together and form into truffles.  Store in the fridge.


Damiana Joy+Love Liqueur

I brought this to a winter party a few years ago.  People found this drink both intriguing and fun.  Damiana is quite aromatic due to volatile oils.  The flavour of damiana can be subdued or enhanced with other foods associated with joy and warmth; cardamom, almond, vanilla, cherry, cinnamon and chocolate.  In terms of medicinal properties, one of my favourite summaries is from Rosemary Gladstar.  In her Family Herbal she states, “…it is completely restorative; it restores exhausted nerves, exhausted dreams and exhausted spirit.”  Though there is a folk history of use as an aphrodisiac, herbalists generally qualify this herb as a mild anti-depressant, particularly useful in what David Winston calls a stagnant depression.  The volatile oils act as carminatives that aid in digestion.

1/2 c damiana tincture

1/2 c amaretto

1/4 c chocolate sauce (I made my own from unsweetened chocolate, water, maple syrup, sugar and vanilla)

rosewater and vanilla to taste

Pour together and store in the fridge.  Could it be any easier?  Enjoy a small shot when desired.



These photos were taken during the LAB Series which runs on Thursdays between 3-6pm. Next week, February 21st, Tammy Schmidt will continue in a similar vein demonstrating herbs used to lighten our spirits in the dark of winter.  We hope you are able to join us!

Fleurbain is at 460 St Catherine West, Unit 917, Montreal.


I don’t need no ice cream maker! I don’t need no dairy!

Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups organic coconut milk

1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk

1-3 tablespoons sugar (I use very little, not even a tablespoon)

200 grams dark fair trade chocolate, snapped into pieces (I used Cémoi dessert chocolate)

2 eggs, whisked

1 tablespoon of excellent homemade vanilla

1.  Pour the coconut milk, almond milk and sugar into a sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil.  Stir as it comes to the boiling point.

2.  Take the saucepan off the heat, add the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

3.  Add the whisked eggs and vanilla to the pan and continue to whisk until smooth.

4.  Return to medium low heat, stir gently and allow the custard to thicken until it will coat the back of a spoon.  What does this mean?  Well, at one point it will thicken so much that you notice a difference in how much can coat the back of a spoon.  Depending upon how hot your element is, this should take 10 – 15 minutes.  It is important to make sure that the custard does NOT to come to a boil otherwise you will have something the texture of porridge instead of a nice smooth custard.

5.  Pour into jars with straight sides, leaving room for expansion as it freezes.  Place into the freezer with the lids off.  Allow to freeze, then put the lids on.

6.  Like any good old fashioned ice cream, allow to sit on the counter for 10 minutes before enjoying with seasonally delicious fresh fruit.  Or enjoy this beside a fruity sorbet.

this is chocolate pudding made with coconut milk. like magic, after an hour in the freezer, it will become ice cream!

* if you use more chocolate, like up to 300 grams, the ice cream is very thick and there are no ice crystals to it.  If you use less chocolate, like 100 grams, and therefore have less fat in the mix, the ice cream has a much more icy crystal texture.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

creation during a previous workshop

The brains behind Fleurbain, Tammy Schmidt CHT and Natasha Henderson BFA, are pleased to announce an exciting new service: Customised Workshops.

Combine these two women’s talents for an inventive and innovative experience that is tailored to meet your needs. For groups, clubs, corporate teams, or just a gathering of friends, Tammy and Natasha will craft a unique workshop with the greatest of expertise and care.

Tammy is a Clinical Herbal Therapist with an extensive knowledge of herbal remedies. Outside of her clinical practice, she excels in creative Green ideas for the home, bath, and beauty. Let’s not forget that she is brilliant in herbal/cooking fusion! Tammy will encourage you to grow and create while you learn.

Natasha is a graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art in Vancouver, with experience in teaching painting, felt-making, crafting, and general creativity to groups of adults and children alike. Natasha is an empowering instructor who invites the potential in every student.

Fleurbain will come to your location for workshops, or we can meet in our central studio location. It’s up to you.

in the midst of cooking/herbal infusion

A very few ideas for your workshops: Herbal bath treatments and notebook making; Team-building mural painting with a herbal tea session; Puppet-making workshop for kids or adults; Painting with herbal pigments; Informative nature walk while drawing from nature; City-scape walks, seeking nature in an urban environment; Crafting workshops with groups. Check out the two-day experience we hosted recently, in which we steeped herbalism and crafting together to create a unique Spa Weekend.

creative learning through activity

The sky is not even the limit… Give us an email at to see what we can do together. Please provide dates and location desired for the workshop, as well as a rough idea of number of participants, their ages, and the purpose or reason for the workshop (eg team-building, fun event, educational, etc).  We will put together a package customized for you and your group.

Please note that we are in the Montreal area.

Welcome to the world of De Farine et D’Eau Fraîche!

DF+EF is a dreamy new pâtisserie on Amherst that has the perfect combination of creativity and expertise. They have just opened and they are sure to be a huge success.  DF+EF is near Robin, right across the street from the community centre Ste-Catherine d’Alexandre which is also boasting a beautiful new mosaic trim and a new green roof.

Here is a baker’s dozen of the finest features that set DF+EF apart from Montreal’s pâtisseries.

  • A cordial proprietor and convivial staff.  The owner, Marilu, along with Cathy and the other staff always smile and ask how we are doing.  It’s so nice to chat a bit, and suddenly feel at home.
  • Sweet imagination. No need to head to Paris for a treat. It is all right here ranging from a small guilt-free bite to a larger indulgence; boule au chocolat et crème pâtisserie, tea cakes (à la rose is my favourite so far!), cookies in a multitude of shapes and flavours, homemade Pocky, caramels, muffins wrapped in charming brown paper, scrumptious cakes and pastries.

crème brûlée... Earl Grey flavouring

The earl grey crème brûlée was everything you want in a crème brûlée.  A nice crunch of caramelized sugar on top and incredibly creamy, nicely chilled down below.  I love the creative flavour combinations; earl grey, milk chocolate with earl grey and lavender, or vanilla.

works of art

Miniature wedding cakes are a specialty. Each one is a work of art; modern, sophisticated and unique.  I can see them being featured at many types of special occasions like graduations, showers, anniversaries and milestone birthdays.  I recently ordered a chocolate tart with caramelized bananas and Irish creme and it was perfect for my chocolate-loving friend.

  • Composting coffee cups for take out coffee.  Marilu rightly states that most people will not recycle a paper coffee cup, this is why she has made special efforts to import composting coffee cups all the way from Australia.
  • Fun. Over the last several weeks, we have done our homework in researching the place.   We have developed a rapport with the staff and they have occasionally brought a small taste of something to try.  While we have been in, we have tried to do our part in taste testing new caramel flavours, such as one with coriander and apricots (yum!), a little carrot cake, a new type of cookie, and bite of caramel popcorn.  We love it here!

    creamy caramels

  • sweet and savoury

    Something savoury.  If sweet treats do not suit you, then there is always a little something savoury.  I have a friend from New Zealand who has lamented for years that there are no savoury muffins in all of Montreal.  She is in for a treat when she returns to the city in April!

  • An enticing breakfast sandwich made with their own english muffin, 1 year old cheddar from l’Ile-aux-Grues, farm fresh bacon, an organic egg, little bits of green sprouts, red pepper and Kewpie japanese mayonnaise.  It is the best breakfast sandwich I have ever tasted.

  • Filling, healthy lunch features. The lunch specials are perfect for the type of weather we are experiencing at the moment.  They are hearty, real food, with home-made flavour, made by someone who loves to cook.  The lunch special pictured above is a curried chicken in a cashew sauce, served with jasmine rice.  This is my kind of lunch!  The paninis are unique, deluxe and satisfying.  The tuna panini is nicely accented with feta, artichokes and black olive tapenade. And if you like, it can be served with a small portion of potato chips and a soup or salad.
  • fine cappucinos

    Many people come just for the fantastic speciality coffees, teas and hot chocolates served all day long.

  • It speaks volumes that DF+EF uses organic sugar and eggs in all of the baking.  They also use organic milk, cocoa, tea, fair trade organic coffee and some organic spices.  Flavour is key, so they also use local meats from Nordest and local cheeses.

    boule au chocolat et crème pâtisserie

  • Fair-trade, organic Coco Camino sugar served with coffee and tea.
  • Beautiful tea service.

  • You can take it with you, too. Everything can be made to go and there is a plethora of little treats lining the counter, ready for quick pick-up.
  • comfort

    And I have not even mentioned the décor! Large elegant windows, fascinating wall treatments that remind us of icing as well as beautiful and comfortable furnishings with the adorable DF+ EF logo stamped on the tables.

So, take a little time and spend it in De Farine et D’Eau Fraîche.  You are in for a treat!

1701 rue Amherst

Open Monday to Friday from 7:30 am until 6:00 pm; Saturdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm; and Sundays from 11:00 am ’til 5:00 pm.

Find out more on facebook!


Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal.

Raw (unrefined, unbleached) sugar, bought at t...


Over the years I have learned that the amount of sugar we eat in North America is not normal, nor is it helping us.  To change this and scale back on the sweet stuff will require a good amount of determination and some experimentation.

Gary Taubes states in his book, Good Calories Bad Calories, that sugar consumption for the typical American was less than 15 pounds a year in the 1830’s.  That is 10 times less than North Americans typically consume today.  The amount of sugar consumed by North Americans grew to 100 pounds in the 1920’s and to 150 pounds (including high-fructose corn syrup) by the end of the century.  Obesity and diabetes rates go up as the amount of sugar available to people increased.  Deaths due to diabetes also went down in times when people were rationing sugar consumption, such as during World Wars I and II.

When I first read this, I really began to question the foods I think are normal.  It was one of the first times I thought that the abundance of ready made, extra sugary delights is not normal.  And I finally understood that if I eat the same amount that North Americans typically eat, then I will be subjecting myself to the same risks for obesity and diabetes.

How might someone “survive” on the amount of sugar that was available to people in the 1830’s?  How much is this per day anyways?  It is around 18 grams a day, a little over a tablespoon.  That includes what is in jams, breads, cereals, preserves, sauces, seasonings, drinks and the usual sugary deliciousnesses of cookies, cakes, etc.! Perhaps this even included medications, since these used to be preserved with sugar.  And if you consider that on special days such as birthdays and holidays, there might have been highly sweetened celebratory treats to be enjoyed. This would mean that the daily amounts would be even less to compensate for these sweet special days.  Perhaps on some days people consumed no sugar.  Imagine!

I have yet to be able to consume less than 15 pounds of sugar a year.  At some point, I would like to try this and see what happens.  I know it is a good idea and it would be good for me.  At this point, I keep the less than one tablespoon per day idea in mind.  I know this is not an easy thing to do.

What if I were to grab my pen and paper, walk through a typical grocery store, map it out and then colour all the aisles with products containing sugar? My hunch is that I would end up colouring every isle except for parts of the produce and meat section.  My point is that it is not likely an easy thing to stay away from products containing sugar.  In the end, I find that it is important to try.

And, that leads me here.  My wacky, very low sugar hot chocolate.  This is a drink that is somewhat like a latté.  Creamy, flavourful and fun.  It is not sugary, but it is still really special and it will make a nice treat.

Hot chocolate, my way

(makes 2 servings)

2 cups of almond breeze unsweetened chocolate non-dairy beverage

1/4 cup organic coconut milk

1 heaping tablespoon fair trade cocoa powder

1 stick of cinnamon

3 cardamom pods, cracked open

1 tsp licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

1/4 tsp cayenne

Carefully bring to a gentle boil and then simmer the above ingredients, in a covered pot, over the lowest heat for 20 minutes.

Strain and add 20 g of  fair trade 85% cocoa chocolate bar.  Stir until it is completely mixed and pour a cup for yourself and a friend.

* I usually leave the spices in the pan and strain the hot chocolate as I pour a cup.  This way, the spices infuse for a good long while.  Yum.

** I can make this the fast way substituting the whole spices with powders of 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp licorice and 1/4 tsp cayenne.  This leaves out the simmering and infusing.  Just heat and serve.

ingredients for a great cuppa hot chocolate

Some of the reasoning behind the recipe.

Cinnamon adds a sweet taste and some have shown that it helps regulate blood sugar.  Cardamom gives me joy!  Licorice is very sweet tasting and it is also an adaptogen that helps normalize adrenal function.  It is often used as a formula harmonizer.  Cayenne acts as a neuro-stimulant and it is also an anti-inflammatory.  All of the spices used will aid in digestion.  The combination of chocolate and spices in this drink energizes me.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

some of the herbs that were used

The first Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend workshop was held this last weekend. It was a thoroughly delicious, educational, creative and fun experience.

in the midst of making Herbal Truffles

Participants learned to make succulent herbal truffles, beautiful felted soaps, and pretty Boudoir Boxes.

fancy felted soaps, made by participants

They enjoyed some herbal teas, made a bath tea, and tasted a Healthy Hot Chocolate.

making some Boudoir Boxes from scratch

They made (and some dared to sample…) a true Love Potion.

pouring something good...

A relaxing, yet invigorating, time was had by all!

finishing touches, choices being made... a Boudoir Box

Stay tuned for the next Herbal Creativity workshop, which will be announced in March…

les pieces des resistances... herbal-infused truffles

Truffles with nuts and chocolate dusting in de...

truffle magic!

The pinnacle of the dark, dreary days of winter is a purgatory that rests between Christmastime and Spring… February. Installed into February is a day that is supposed to be a celebration of “Love”. Many lament the commercialisation of Valentine‘s Day, and resent the high expectations and sadness that come with so many of our holidays.

Traditional Valentine’s expectations dictate that one should enjoy chocolates, give expensive gifts, and be in love. Well, let’s take some of the good from those traditions and embrace them! Even if you are single, you deserve some chocolate. Actually, you deserve more chocolate. Feeling a bit bloated after a winter’s eating? This is an opportunity to sharpen your skills in making HEALTHY treats. Herbal-infused organic chocolate truffles, anyone? Or perhaps a cup of Healthy Hot Chocolate? True love. Love is in a good cup of tea, a soothing bath that invigorates the spirit, or a beautiful hand-made gift box to hold treasures.

The brains behind the Fleurbain concept, Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Natasha Henderson, visual artist and arts instructor, are offering an Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend workshop in February. There is an option to take one or both days during the Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend, on Friday the 11th from 7 to 10pm and Saturday the 12th from 1 to 4pm.

Friday night, we will enjoy a relaxing glass of wine (or herbal tea) with some dessert treats and fine cheese. Participants will learn how to make an herbal Love Potion. The Love Potion is a special euphoric herb that is distilled in a vodka base. Everyone will get to take home a sample of this to try themselves! Tub Teas are all the rage, and for good reason. What could be better than infusing your entire body in an organic, herbal bath that is designed to soothe the body, mind, and spirit? Participants will learn some of the properties of the herbs used in this special Valentine’s Tea Bath, and take home a sample. Finally, we will make a Boudoir Gift Box, a gift box made from scratch that will be decorated with fine fabrics, papers, lace, and beads. It will be suitable as a gift box for chocolates, jewellery, fine treasures… and can be re-used to hold your favourite special things.

Saturday afternoon starts off with a healthy, delicious beginning. Participants will learn how to make Healthy Hot Chocolate (yes, this version is truly healthy), and enjoy a cup. While sipping our treat, we will make organic chocolate truffles, which will be flavoured with high quality, organic herbs for unique flavours. These are perfect to tuck into the Boudoir Boxes made the previous evening. Then we will think about the physical and mental well-being that a good bath brings, and make a felted soap loofah for our next bath. These soaps combine sheep’s wool with a high-quality Ginseng or Evening Primrose soap to be an exfoliating and moisturising addition to your bath. Finally, we will create a batch of Love Tea to take home and enjoy.

All courses use the finest quality, pure and organic ingredients. Take one afternoon or evening for $75, or treat yourself (or a friend!) to both sessions for $135. Location of workshops will be in a Montreal artist’s studio, converted to a Valentine’s Factory for our workshops. Please email fleurbain(at) for information and registration.

New Year's Eve fireworks in Paris

Happy New Year!

Choco-Almo-Date Balls (Or Choco-Almond Balls, CABs, their nick-name), are wonderful. Delicious, easy and fast to make, and somewhat healthy too! Over the holiday season I kept a bowl of the gooey-mix in the fridge, as well as a small saucepan of the melted chocolate ready-to-go. I made some last night, so that my New Year’s Eve guests could enjoy the last of them. Any leftover chocolate drizzle? Well, someone is bringing a mystery dessert, so we’ll see if melted chocolate would work with it, I’ve also got some whipped cream… perhaps a New Year’s Sundae on Sunday is in order on the second day of the new year.

You might recall that I’d originally taken my mother’s old Family Favorite recipe and tinkered with it. Yes, I hate to say it, but these are better. Next year my family will receive some in the mail in advance of Christmas. Fortunately, they are always open to trying new foods, and will eat them even though my little CABs break with tradition.

My goal for next year’s “baking” is to have a second fridge-based, non-perishable item that I can make up a little bit here and there whenever needed/wanted. Freezer log-cookies, that’s an idea. I like doing something simple like “melting chocolate and dipping things in it”, though. Does anyone have more ideas? The Lazy Gourmet. Isn’t that a brand-name already…

Natasha Henderson in Montreal, not Paris.


marmelade, the social cat


I hosted a party last night, and I would love to share it with you. We enjoyed a relaxing evening with friends on the weekend before the holidays. And, what else brings friends and the winter holidays together like building a real gingerbread house?

Before the party I fashioned a house-shaped structure wrapped with tinfoil. Just then Natasha arrived, and she placed my homemade gingerbread onto the structure with icing. Strangely enough, we used a butter-cream icing. This is unconventional, but I had no egg whites to make royal icing. None of the guests noticed, so I think this was o.k.

bourboned almon-tinis with cranberry 'ice-buds'

Here are the initial stages of the gingerbread house.  Supplies required: various candies of your choosing, old cards, icing, scissors, glue gun, markers, and another friend to make delicious fancy drinks.

No doubt, there was imagination and creativity involved in the initial stages. As more people arrived bearing their additional decorations for the house, however, the project really took off!

gingerbread, artistry... action!

Plenty of detail was added, and then subtracted. A wise suggestion early in the proceedings was to not do any ‘landscaping’ with icing until the final decisions for the house were made.

Et l’oeuvre finale!

Jelly beans really added colour and character to everything. Also, there was no reason to not include little liqueur candies. Some of what you see here includes a candy cane stream whose brandy bean bridge is lined with red jelly bean lamp-posts.  Nearby are carolling cowboys for good company! In the foreground are liqueur candies topped with Natasha’s choco-almo date balls. They reminded everyone of grannies with flapper-style hats!

note Santa on top the house amongst fluffy coconut balls. chocolate-covered raisins and vanilla jelly beans were brought together to make a welcoming entry. a late addition not seen in this photo are julie's chocolaty pears.

party planning committee members: Tammy Schmidt, host; Natasha Henderson, official photographer; Marmelade, Iggy, Billi and Rosebud, members at large.

party cat

billi is always finding new places to take a nap

Iggy stayed at home because he's shy.

Holly berries and new spring leaves

holly berries

One of the best gifts to give at this time of the year is home-made goodies.  Here is a recipe that I adapted from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson (2008).  This one does not require baking and easy to make.

Rocky Road that tastes like Christmas

175g unsalted butter
400g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons agave syrup
200g amaretti biscotti (the crisp ones), place in a freezer bag and slightly crushed into crumbs and lumps
125g mini marshmallows
150g cherry flavoured cranberries
150g brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans or almonds (crush them slightly in the freezer bag with a rolling pin)
2 teaspoons icing sugar, to dust (optional)
(1)Heat the butter, chocolate and agave syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.
(2)Add to the melted chocolate mixture: amaretti crumbles, marshmallows, cranberries and nuts.  Fold in well to coat everything.
(3) Pour the mixture into a 13 x 9″baking tin lined with parchment and smooth the top with a spatula.
Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.
(4) To serve, cut into 40 squares and dust with icing sugar for a little festive fun.

(Store for up to one month in a festive tin in the freezer or a cool location.)

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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