There's no travel treat I love quite like a fancy coffee. But would fate keep me away from the decadent delights in Victoria-By-The-Sea?
Have you ever had one of those travel moments when you really, really want to visit a place but it seems that fate is determined to keep you away?
That's how I've felt about Island Chocolates in the small Prince Edward Island village of Victoria-By-The-Sea for YEARS now! I had the shop (and, specifically, their chocolate-infused "factory coffee") since 2021. That autumn, Ryan and I rolled into town in the middle of a brutal rainstorm and we couldn't find the shop. This is clearly a reflection on how road-weary we were, as the shop is on MAIN STREET. We must have been a bit loopy in order to miss it. As such, our only moment of triumph from that visit was finding public washrooms. No chocolate for us.
I had a second chance in 2022 when I was visiting PEI with friends. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in Victoria-By-The-Sea before taking a leisurely walk up to Island Chocolates... except that it was closed! Once again, it was our fault. We didn't look up the hours and it's not surprising that they'd be closed after supper time.
Would my luck change in 2023? Well....
Yes! Yes my luck did change! But let me tell you, it very nearly didn't!
I had carefully looked up the hours before my visit (learning from the past, my friends!) and headed there straight from the airport, arriving with more than an hour to spare (or so I thought!) Alas, I was very nearly too late. Turns out that the hours of operation on their website don't reflect Island Chocolate's actual hours and I walked in just at 5:00 PM, as the staff were MOPPING THE FLOOR. Thankfully, they kindly took pity on me and it didn't hurt that they were still ringing in the final orders of a few other visitors still in the shop, giving me time to look around.
This gorgeous little shop is filled with vintage items, like an old-fashioned cash register, chocolate molds, and bric-a-brac from the past. The shop has been operated by the Gilbert family since 1987, making this one of the oldest businesses in the area.
I was absolutely delighted that I was able to order their famous factory coffee. The process begins by lining the glass with warm Belgium milk chocolate before pouring in fresh, hot coffee. The glass is then topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and chocolate buttons.
Friends, it is every bit as delicious and FANCY as I'd imagined. Truly, it was worth the wait.
Given that I had no idea when the travel fates would allow me to get back to Island Chocolates again, I considered it prudent that I order some chocolate while I was there. I asked the staff for their favourite recommendations and they didn't disappoint. The lemon-lime chocolate was absolutely glorious and I also enjoyed the Baileys and the peanut butter chocolates as well. I added one of my favourite combinations to the mix, a dark chocolate peppermint filled chocolate, and I was blown away by the quality and flavour.
Victoria-By-The-Sea is every bit as charming and pretty as it's reported to be. This is the perfect place for strolling along the show at low tide, indulging in a big seafood feast, and taking photos. There is ample free parking on the wharf and you can also park along side streets. As mentioned before, there are indeed free public washrooms! While you might be tempted to get your factory coffee to go from Island Chocolates, linger at a table on the front porch instead. It's the perfect place to eavesdrop and soak in some local conversations on the sly.
While my journey to get Prince Edward Island's fanciest coffee was a convoluted, multi-year affair, I'm so glad that the travel gods smiled on me in the end and got me through the doors just in the nick of time. The factory coffee was decadent, the truffles were delicious, and a visit to Victoria-By-The-Sea was the perfect start to my PEI getaway.
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