Giovane is a café by day, winebar by night, inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim by the Vancouver Convention Centre. After discovering Giovane’s fancy desserts and seeing my friend’s photos of the cakes he got at Giovane, I knew I have to try this cafe. I organized a meetup for the Food Bloggers Meetup Group because it would be perfect for foodies who want to share many types of desserts together.
I was joined by Caroline from FoodPersuasion, Rachel from PoshPudding, Vicki from foodie on the 49th, Simon from Life in the Lower Mainland, Danielle the enthusiastic foodie who came to most of FBMs, Yoko from Shizenya, and other foodies.
#DesignTalk: Using the type g as the logo set Giovane apart. To me it seemed creative and memorable. Also I really liked their website with its fonts and colors. The only thing I have trouble with is the pronunciation of Giovane…
Giovane is a bakery/deli/cafe/winebar that sells coffee, pastries, breads, cookies, whole cakes, panini, pizza, drinks and soup. Just look at the vast selections!
^Giovane’s manager Mark – who helped us with the reservation (along with Giovane’s Food & Beverage Sales Manager, Katherine) and reserving the infamous sugar buns which always sell out.
Sugar Bun ($4) a Giovane signature – sugared sweet bun filled with vanilla pastry cream
I read reviews on the sugar buns, about how good they were and how fast they always sell out. I was a bit skeptical when I read its description because it did not really seem that special, and I was still skeptical when I saw these buns in person. These sugar buns were huge! It like a small sourdough bread! I imagined them to be like donuts with some sort of magic but these buns really just look like buns with cream.
I wish I can say nicer things to make you crave these sugar buns too, but they were really just buns/donuts with cream. Someone like me, who eats T&T bread and buns a lot will definitely say that T&T, Maxim or other Asian bakeries make sweet buns better. Perhaps other reviewers and bloggers liked this for its size, but I was never a fan of cream or whipped cream myself.
Surprisingly this was not overly sweet and the cream did not feel very greasy. Although the bun was light and fluffy, I thought that the foodies at the table were not impressed by this dessert. Hearts: 3/10
Mark actually reserved 11 of these buns for FBM just in case each one of us wanted a bun. In the end the meetup group only ordered two to share and we couldn’t even finish the buns. It was a good thing that the reserved buns were all sold after we decided not to get them, otherwise I would feel bad.
Now that you probably lowered your expectation a little bit, let’s move on to other good desserts that really deserved to be ‘Giovane signatures’.
Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log ($30)
Presentation was stunning! I would give 98/100 for this. It was so beautiful with the macarons, hazelnuts, and the cake was cut so perfectly. I think the brown macaron was chocolate and green one was pistachio.
A slice of Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log has chocolate hazelnut mousse, chocolate cream with chopped hazelnuts, wafers base. On the top: golden gooseberry, chocolate balls, and reindeer white chocolate. I took the piece with the pistachio macaron. 😛
This Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log was hands down the best dessert I ate in the last few months. (I will have to think harder to remember what I ate beyond that). The chocolate hazelnut mousse was on the rich side and it was really chocolatey. I really liked the different layers of mousse/cream/chocolate shell and wafers complemented the texture really well. Eating the wafers, hazelnuts layers and the hazelnut mouse together was like eating a cake made out of ferrero rocher!
The macaron could have a better presentation but it tasted satisfactory. The pistachio taste was not very noticeable but I definitely tasted the almonds in the macaron.
All in all, I loved this cake a lot. At the price of $30 per yule log, each slice was only $3. That is an amazing deal because compared to many $6-8 desserts I have tried, this tasted a lot better and it was cheaper. Hearts: 9.6/10
Mini Cakes & Tarts were $5-7 each. I believe most (if not all) of the desserts below are $7 each.
Peanut Butter Hedgehog
This was the cake that I originally wanted to order, but since another meetup member got it, I just sampled a bite. It contained chocolate mousse, smooth peanut butter cream inside a rich chocolate shell. Some say this tasted like a big Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but I think otherwise. It is not ‘greasy’ like Reese’s and the peanut butter cream center was so smooth. Comparing this dessert to a chocolate bar at grocery store is an understatement. I really liked this dessert and I will order this next time so I get to have one myself! Hearts: 9.4/10
Chocolate raspberry cake
I sampled a bite of it also. It had dark chocolate mousse, layers of chocolate cake with hints of raspberry. I’m not a fan of raspberry so I thought it was alright. People who don’t like sweet desserts will probably like this because it was the least sweet out of all chocolate cakes. Hearts: 7/10
Black Forest Cake ($7)
This was my order. I wanted to get something less chocolatey but still with chocolate, and I was impressed by its presentation. In the cake there are layers of chocolate cake, hard cherry jelly, Kirsch cream (according to FoodPersuasion; I could only tell there was liqueur), on top: gold leaf, a piece of cherry and red dust. It was really hard to cut the cake without making the cake fall apart. I joked that it was like playing jenga with cake. :p
I liked the liqueur cream and the combination of textures. The presentation was great but it’s not easy to cut and eat. It did taste like a black forest cake but I still liked the other desserts better since I don’t really enjoy pairing chocolate with sour things.
(why did you order this then?) I ordered this cake so other foodies can share it with me, and I was curious about how the different layers would taste. Hearts: 7.3/10
Image courtesy of Danielle
Lemon Raspberry Mousse Cake – I sampled a bite. It was light, soft and smooth and lemon lovers would probably enjoy the lemon custard in the center. It was a nice break from all the chocolatey desserts but one bite was the most I could take from a lemon/raspberry dessert. Hearts: 5/10
I think I have found my new favourite dessert place, well, at least a favourite yule log. I can’t wait to go back to Giovane for other sweets, or even another yule log!
Foodies and food bloggers who came to this meetup. Thanks guys and gals!
If you’re interested in dining with food enthusiasts and food bloggers, check out the FoodBloggers Meetup! Everyone is welcome to join!
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver
-By Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny