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There was a time when we simply couldn’t see past the Sparkle Cookie. (The Sun, rather excited, dubbed it the best in the world.) But that confection-which evolved from a chocolate soufflé Haas used to make at Daniel in New York-proved to be a mere hint of the great wealth that lay in store. Today, when our judges want to mark an occasion, they generally take it as an excuse to visit a Thomas Haas shop and explore. Whether the sourced treasure is a box of fruit gelées (lychee, raspberry, cassis) or a champagne truffle cake built from layers of almond and hazelnut or simply a single whipped-butter ganache with pear eau-de-vie, there’s something supremely decadent about Haas’s creations. “He moves from classics to innovation with ease,” noted one judge. It was also persuasive that he is training a generation of future greats: dozens of staff are part of the Haas empire’s pâtisserie in North Vancouver and that marble-decked café in Kitsilano.