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Returning pastry ace Haas (Gold, 2011) has yards of pedigree, from his family (a fourth-generation pâtissier, he grew up in his parents’ restaurant in Aichhalden, a village in Germany’s Black Forest) to his own career, which includes a notable turn helping open Daniel Boulud’s flagship Daniel before quitting New York for “small pond” Vancouver. Those of long memory will recall his time peddling butter/sugar gems in the Sen5es bakery now run by David Hawksworth as Bel Café but then an outpost of the Metropolitan Hotel. Haas, who operates cafés in North Vancouver and along West Broadway next to Q4, is no slouch in the baked goods department, but even more scrumptious than his cakes and croissants are his formed chocolates and, increasingly, his drinks. He’s conservative in his approach, highlighting quality of ingredients over flash combinations, yet as the years pass, perhaps emboldened by the financial success of a trillion Sparkle cookies, he grows ever more daring in his flavours. Judges approved of the balance and vision of intense new explorations like infusions of lemon and thyme, blue cornflower and bergamot, yuzu and Tahitian vanilla, plus those hot chocolates: bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup with Douglas fir-infused Chantilly, and barley malt-infused cocoa served with salted caramel malt truffles.