Off the beaten path, but it’s certainly worth a stop. A little south of Portland with a population of 15,000, Canby is small town, home town to my friend Donna (who just visited me in Dallas and went on the Ft. Worth hunt for chocolate shops; my last review). Canby boasts not one but TWO chocolate shops. Donna sent me samples; the first one I tried was from Puddin River. (Just love that name – wouldn’t a river of pudding be awesome?)
Puddin River is downtown Canby and offers wine and other spirits to pair with their chocolates. I could write a lot about the pairing of wine and chocolates, which I learned from a San Francisco Opera Gala a few years ago, but we’ll stick to the chocolates here. And, I bet Teresa, owner and master chocolatier at Puddin River, has the down low on what goes with what in her shop.
If you are a hazelnut aficionado, you’re in luck at Puddin River. Locally grown Oregon hazelnuts are used in several of Teresa’s creations such as chocolate-covered hazelnuts, hazelnut truffles (made with hazelnut butter), hazelnut clusters, and hazelnut toffee. It must be the most popular nut in Oregon. And, here’s a hint: nut flavored confections dance well with Pinot Noir, Tawny Port or my favorite, Cabernet Sauvignon. All available at Puddin River’s wine bar.
There’s a myriad of choices among the confections and collections of chocolates. Teresa combines free trade chocolate from around the world and the distinctive flavors of the Northwest. What I find to be the most unique among her selections is the Northwest Natives assortment. It includes flavors and ingredients indigenous to Oregon and the Northwest; hazelnut, raspberry, huckleberry, and lavender-honey. As you work your way through the collection, savoring each distinctly different flavor, you will feel you’ve made a trip to Oregon (without the rain) and experienced flavors that were found by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
I found the chocolates very pleasant but subtle in flavor, as was the aroma. The chocolate was smooth with a nice ‘finish’ (lingering aftertaste just like you look for in wine). Donna says the ladies in the shop are most pleasant and the shop itself is adorable. It seems like a blast from the past to sit at one of the tables, looking out through big windows onto the streets of Canby while enjoying a chocolate and glass of wine. Tres relaxing; you won’t want to leave.
Puddin River Chocolates & Wine Bar
332 N. W. 1st Avenue
Canby, Oregon 97013