I’m often asked for very specific recommendations, like “where do you find the best apple pie in Vancouver?” Or, who makes the best perogies in town? In an effort to discover true gems in each food category, I present To Die For Searches.
Once a month, my trusty panel of contributors Erin Gerlach and Joann Pai and I, along with a guest judge or two, will choose an edible item, do our best to determine the leaders in that category (always making an effort to the include the hidden gems and small businesses) and then hold a blind, unbiased sampling.
We started simple: cookies. No sandwich cookies, just regular old cookies. Since classic chocolate chip is such a favourite, we made sure to round up plenty of those. Here are the results of the first ever To Die For Cookie Search. Note: each cookie is numbered and pictured above. *UPDATE: BOYS OWN BAKERY IS NOW CLOSED
The Cookie Contenders
- Beaucoup Valrhona Chocolate Chip (2)
- Beaucoup Salted Chocolate Rosemary (1)
- Boys Own Bakery Peanut Butter Pretzel (21) (*now closed)
- Boys Own Bakery Lavender Latte (16)
- Boys Own Bakery White Rose Pistachio (7a)
- Butter Baked Goods Milk Chocolate Chip (22)
- Butter Baked Goods Nutty Chocolate Chip (23)
- Cadeaux White Chocolate Orange (5)
- Cadeaux Gingersnap (4)
- Cadeaux Chocolate Chip (33)
- Elysian Chocolate Walnut (29)
- Finch’s Chocolate Chip (14)
- JJ Bean Krispee Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (15)
- The Last Crumb Double Chocolate Chip (25)
- The Last Crumb Peanut Butter (26)
- LM Artisan Cookies (late to the party, not pictured)
- Matchstick Butter Pecan (20)
- Matchstick Chocolate Chip (18)
- Meinhardt Chocolate Chip (24)
- Swiss Bakery Oatmeal (28)
- Swiss Bakery Chocolate Chip (30)
- Swiss Bakery Coconut Macaroon Cookie (27)
- Tacofino Diablo Cookie (10)
- Whole Foods Oatmeal Raisin (7)
- Whole Foods Reverse Chunk Pecan Cookie (8)
Before you get upset that your favourite cookie wasn’t included, please note that we’ve begun a list for To Die For Cookie Search Round Two that already includes Kitchening’s Ginger Chocolate Cookie, Thomas Haas’ Sparkle Cookie, Our Town’s Oatmeal Raisin, The Salty Cookie Co’s Salty Cookie, Hubbub’s Cookie, East Van Roasters’ Salted Chocolate Chip, and Pourhouse’s Cookie. Please send your recommendations to erin [at] itstodiefor dot ca or tweet: @erinireland.
Please note: Tasting sessions are held blindly to remove biases (we fed each other with eyes closed!). As well, Subway cookies were included as a control.
Gold (a tie!): Beaucoup’s Valrhona Chocolate Chip (#2) Score 30/30
Judges’ comments: “Buttery perfection!” “The perfect chocolate chip cookie. Showstopper.” “So good I can’t spit it out.”
Gold: Beaucoup’s Salted Chocolate Rosemary (#1) Score: 30/30
Judges’ comments: “Mouthgasm!” “Gasp and awe! Fudgy, dark, smokey. So layered and rich!” “So extremely flavourful.”
Silver: Cadeaux’s White Chocolate Orange (#5) Score: 29.5/30
Judges’ comments: “So divine!” “Perfect balance of orange flavour.” “Hot damn! Beautiful flavour. Luscious”
Bronze: Boys Own Bakery’s Peanut Butter Pretzel (#21) Score: 28.5/30
Judges’ comments: “Nice and salty!” “Ultimate Peanut Butter cookie with great textured topping.” “Clearly someone really cares about making a really great cookie — fabulous!”
Honourable Mentions (very respectable):
- Whole Foods Oatmeal Raisin (#7) Score: 28/30
- Wonderful, deep flavour!
- Chewy Oatmeal Raisin! Perfect Balance.
- Irresistibly Chewy. Stand-out! Nice plump raisins.
- Boys Own Bakery Lavender Latte (#16) Score: 28/30
- Ridic! Buds are singing. Tiny hits of salt are pinging around my mouth.
- Amazeballs. Great layers of flavour.
- Lavender was intense and yummy. Flaky shortbread. Very modern flavour.
- JJ Bean’s Krispee Oatmeal Raisin (#15) Score: 27.5/30
- Deeply caramelized buttery flavour with great extra — what’s that crunch?!
- Balanced with flavour and texture — keeps you guessing.
- Great crunch and texture.
- Tacofino’s Diablo (#10) Score: 27/30
- So flavourful and spicy – intense!
- Good consistency, chocolatey.
- Mind blowing. Triple threat: texture, flavour, spice.
- Boys Own Bakery’s White Rose Pistachio (#7a) Score: 27/30
- Freaking amazing – huge pops of flavour everywhere.
- Rose water subtle and delicate – so good!
- Love the flavour, a little dry.
- Matchstick’s Chocolate Chip (#18) Score: 26/30
- Great chocolate chip!
- Hearty! Lots of chocolate. Thick. Not too sweet.
- Wow! Fun to bite into. Extra moist, unique flavour.
- Butter’s Milk Chocolate Chip (#22) Score: 24/30
- To Die For! Buttery, luscious, heaven.
- Crispy edge with doughy center – satisfying!
- LM Artisan Cookie’s Fleur de Sel Toffee Pretzel Chocolate Cookie (not pictured) Score: 24/30
- So crunchy with rich and subtle flavour.
- Love the salt and texture! Not too sweet. Fabulous.
Judge’s Notes | Recap
Top 3 Chocolate Chip Cookies: Beaucoup, Matchstick, Butter
Most Unique Cookie: Tacofino Diablo
Classic Peanut Butter Cookie (“just like grandma’s”): Last Crumb
Most Visually Appealing: Tacofino Diablo, Boys Own Bakery Lavender Latte
A special thanks to judges Erin Gerlach and Joann Pai for sacrificing their waistlines in the name of cookie research.
Next month, we’ll tackle Tuna Tataki. Who do YOU think makes the best in Vancouver? Ocean Wise recommendations only, please.