Previous Artisan Chocolatiers

 

East Van Roster | Artisan Chocolatier

EAST VAN ROASTERS

East Van Rosters (EVR for short) is regarded as a local hero in the neighborhoods of Vancouver by helping the community and mending broken hearts one carefully roasted cup of coffee and well craft bean to bar at a time.

EVR opened its doors for business in April, 2013 as one of Vancouver’s first bean-to-bar chocolate and coffee roaster. But they’re goals go way beyond creating fantastic chocolate and coffee. Its about “mending broken hearts”. The whole organization is actually a social enterprise program run by the Portland Hotel Society (PHS). The operation is situated in the historic Rainier Hotel, a women’s supportive housing project run by the PHS. EVR trains and employs some of the residents and they, in turn, roast the coffee and cacao beans and operate a coffee bar. It was a bold project to start a bean-to-bar operation but they some how made it all work out. While their creations are something to marvel on its own, the story behind it makes the chocolates makes them that much sweeter.

The cacao they use is, of course, directly sourced from farmers that grow and harvest raw cacao. Once the dried beans arrive the chocolatiers then sort the beans, roast and winnow (remove the shells), grind and conche (refine) small batches of chocolate which they temper and make into chocolate bars or confections. A lot of the work is done manually to retain as much of the flavour as possible. So don’t be surprised when an entirely different flavour hits you from a familiar bean. They source the cacao from three single-origin farmers in the Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Peru.

The small cafe EVR operates in has a warm and relaxing environment, where you can watch the chocolatiers practice their art. Every step can be seen with plain view from start to finish. If your around the area, it is highly recommended to check out this small chocolate haven. They also feature products from local non-profits such as Hives for Humanity and Windows Community Art Shop. The matter of the fact is, supporting East Van Roasters is like socially responsible fun with added benefits. So go ahead. Make the world a better place by eating chocolate.

ChocoSol Traders, food of the gods, mexican chocolate, premium chocolate bar

CHOCOSOL TRADERS

The story of ChocoSol transcends beyond just quality bean-to-bar chocolate. It represents a greater philosophy towards the community, social responsibility and preserving tradition. At Cacao Avenue, we can’t help but feel lucky to share this unique corner of the chocolate world with you.

Born out of Michael Sacco’s experience in Mexico, ChocoSol sets the standard for social enterprise in the chocolate industry. All the cacao used in their creations are sourced directly from the farmers in the jungles of Chiapas or the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico. With every trade partner, ChocoSol focuses on building meaningful relationships. They integrate themselves into the indigenous community by sharing best practices, social enterprise models and, most importantly, friendships.

What amazes us even further is the uncompromised tasting experience with every bar. ChocoSol adopts a stone grounding style that is more akin to its Mexican roots rather than the conventional European style of chocolate making. With the right cacao beans, very little processing is needed to highlight the raw chocolate flavour in its purest form. To top it off, all chocolates are without dairy, gluten, soy or nuts and are also vegan. 

ChocoSol is redefining what we know as chocolate and you can enjoy every bite with a peace of mind knowing that the world is a better place because of a simple choice.

 Soul Chocolate

SOUL CHOCOLATE

In the words of its founders Katie and Kyle, “its for the love of chocolate”. We couldn’t be more in love with their bean-to-bar chocolates made in right here in Toronto.

Katie and Kyle are explorers by nature and discovered the world of specialty chocolate during a trip to New Zealand and was eventually inspired to launch Soul Chocolates. Their chocolate highlights the origin of the cacao itself along with the unique subtleties added from both roasting and refining. It’s easy to say that Soul Chocolate is leading a new wave of chocolate makers that is pushing the chocolate world forward.

Today Soul Chocolate retail their bars wrapped in a beautifully designed packaging inspired by the origin of the cacao bean which varies from Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela.

Most admirable of all, social responsibility is at the core of everything they do. The duo has gone to great lengths to learn about the origin of the cacao and who grows it, the often forgotten factor in chocolate making. They aim to have 100% direct trade relationships with all their cacao suppliers. And we quote “its more than just the love of chocolate. It's the love for this world and the people who are on it, and being able to share something so complex and beautiful with anyone”.


Stubbe Chocolate | Cacao Avenue

STUBBE CHOCOLATE

Stubbe is a chocolate shop born from 6 generations of dedication from a single family. Daniel Stubbe the current owner continues to build on the legacy now with two stores in Canada offering some of the finest handmade truffles chocolates and pastries.

Walking into their store for the first time was like going to a chocolate mega mall. The sheer variety of chocolate creations was eye opening and you quickly realize how versatile chocolate really is. From the hardwood floors to the paintings on the wall, there was a heart-warming sense to it all. The Beautiful truffles sitting on the shelves were hands-down one of the most diverse collection of flavours we have every seen. It ranges from Amaretto, Balsamic Vinegar, to classics like Blood Orange and much much more. We tried to soak up as much as we could.

Daniel himself was an exceptional host. With his breath of experience in the chocolate world and a soothing voice, he guided us through his entire collection of chocolate creations. Not to mention his adorable daughter who was eager to share with us her personal favorites. We think that the story of Stubbe Chocolate and the family spirit behind it all really elevates their chocolate creations to something truly magical. An experience you have to try for yourself if you are ever in the neighborhood.


Violet Chocolate Company - Artisan Chocolatier

VIOLET CHOCOLATE COMPANY

The Violet Chocolate Company has been recommended to us countless times ever since we started out on this chocolate journey. And for good reason. With a little bit of digging online we quickly learned that the Red Seal chef and chocolatier Rebecca Grant is very much like the Michael Phelps of the Canadian Chocolate world. Just the past year alone she collected a total of 11 medals - gold, silver and bronze at the National Chocolate Awards and went on to win two gold medals at the International Chocolate awards! An achievement very few elite chocolatiers in the world can claim. 

The boutique was founded back in 2012 based in Edmonton Alberta. Rebecca and the team practice old-world chocolate crafting techniques to produce modern, unique flavor profiles. The list of tantalizing chocolate bar flavours goes on and on covering ingredients like carrot cake, honey rosemary, berry fizz, lemon meringue pie, strawberry basil, and a ton of others.

To us, we think Rebecca and the team at Violet embodies everything that is precious about an innovative chocolatier. They are not afraid to push the boundaries of their craft through tamper with new ingredient while simultaneously they stay true to the craft that resonates with so many chocolate lovers. At the end of the day, the chocolate world is a better place thanks to their creations.

 

Succulent Chocolate by Sandra

SUCCULENT CHOCOLATES

Chef Sandra always knew her hands were meant to be in the chocolate world, especially growing up in an Italian home where food was always the centerpiece. After completing her Bachelor’s of Technology in Graphic Communications Management from Ryerson University, Sandra decided to change into the profession she’s always dreamed of, becoming a master chocolatier. She eventually went on to attend the acclaimed French Pastry School, where she studied under Master Pastry Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer, Joshua Jackson and Della Gossett.

Upon returning to Toronto she created Succulent Chocolates and Sweets Inc. Soon after, she was selected as one of seven to compete in the World Chocolate Masters Canada an international competition that brings together the leaders of the chocolate industry throughout twenty countries. All her hard work eventually paid off as she was awarded first place in the category of “Canada’s Best Molded Bonbon”, for her handcrafted creation, titled “The Crunchy Apple”. 

Today we share a common goal with Sandra and that is to have people understand, see, taste and appreciate chocolate in a new way. In her 800 sq.ft state of the art chocolate lab based in Vaughan. Succulent Chocolates continues to push the limits of the chocolate world and has already shared her beautiful creations with many high profile companies across Canada. We can’t wait to share her world class creations with you through our latest collection!

Choklat Chocolate Company - Bean-to-bar

CHOKLAT

Respected as one of the first chocolate makers in the Canadian chocolate industry. Brad Churchill takes us to chocolate school and shows us that creating a top-tier bean-to-bar is serious business and he does it without all the smoke and mirrors.   

 Founded in 2008 Choklat changed the way people saw artisan chocolate in Calgary and maybe even in Canada for good. The self-proclaimed “only chocolate maker in town” meant that they didn’t just rebrand premade chocolate, they respected the process enough to make their own chocolate from the ground-up starting with the finest cacao beans in the world.

Beyond the chocolate, you can tell that Brad’s approach to business is driven by honesty and integrity. He genuinely cares about his customers and would be proud to share every detail of his creations with you and answer all the questions that you may have (we had a lot of questions). 

“No words can describe the rewarding feeling of warmth and compassion I experience while I watch time and time again, as people relax and savour the indulgences I have created for them. To hell with the competition and their false bravado. Today, brightening a person's day is the driving force behind what I do.” – Brad

This month we couldn’t be happier to share with you this admired pillar of Canadian bean-to-bar chocolate. Choklat.


Laura Slack Chocolate

LAURA SLACK

Toronto chocolatier Laura Slack is known for her beautiful but unconventional creations; her most famous creation a burnished chocolate skull filled with black garlic–infused caramel.

An avid baker since childhood, Laura honed her passion through a combination of formal education and practical work experience. Laura began her training through the Baking and Pastry Arts program at George Brown College. She then completed the chocolatier program at Ecole Chocolat and attended the prestigious Callebaut Academy. Laura went on to complete an internship at Knipschildt chocolatier in Norwalk, Connecticut and worked as a Pastry Chef for David Lee at Nota Bene.

Trying her creations for the first time was an unforgettable experience and it showed us how much of a surprise the world of chocolate really is. Combining unconventional savory flavours like Lestat Black Garlic and Bacon Caramel with the world’s finest chocolate, it was a joy ride of flavour with a pleasant surprise in ever turn. If you haven’t tired it yet, we strongly suggest the Dulce Skulls, a rich and ultra smooth dulce de leche housed in luscious dark chocolate skull mold. The perfect balance between art and chocolate.

 

Shoko Chocolates & Confectionery by Royce Li

SHOKO CHOCOLATES

Award-winning Toronto chocolatier and National Selection of finalist at the World Chocolate Masters, Royce Li shows us new and exciting ways to discover the world of artisan chocolate through Shoko Chocolates. Infusing unconventional flavour profiles like Matcha, Lychee and Rose along with quality chocolate, Shoko delivers culinary pleasures rarely found anywhere.

Beyond the craft, Royce is much more than a world-class chocolatier. Outside of the workshop, he is a dedicated teacher and mentor to the next generation of culinary and chocolate students. Having supported competitors at the world stage, he now passes on his lessons by coaching the Canadian Junior team and have already helped them win Gold, Silver and in the World Chocolate Masters juniors competition. Just from our short encounter with him, he has already taught us so much about the world of artisan chocolate. For this month we couldn’t be more honored to be sharing his creations with you through our latest collection.

“It is our goal to bring you new experiences in chocolate. While we honour the timeless classics, we are also driven to explore the ideas and flavours made possible with new and unexpected ingredients and techniques.” – Shoko Chocolate

 Soul Chocolate

SOUL CHOCOLATE

In the words of its founders Katie and Kyle, “its for the love of chocolate”. We couldn’t be more in love with their bean-to-bar chocolates made in right here in Toronto.

Katie and Kyle are explorers by nature and discovered the world of specialty chocolate during a trip to New Zealand and was eventually inspired to launch Soul Chocolates. Their chocolate highlights the origin of the cacao itself along with the unique subtleties added from both roasting and refining. It’s easy to say that Soul Chocolate is leading a new wave of chocolate makers that is pushing the chocolate world forward.

Today Soul Chocolate retail their bars wrapped in a beautifully designed packaging inspired by the origin of the cacao bean which varies from Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela.

Most admirable of all, social responsibility is at the core of everything they do. The duo has gone to great lengths to learn about the origin of the cacao and who grows it, the often forgotten factor in chocolate making. They aim to have 100% direct trade relationships with all their cacao suppliers. And we quote “its more than just the love of chocolate. It's the love for this world and the people who are on it, and being able to share something so complex and beautiful with anyone”.

 

 

Ambiance Chocolat

AMBIANCE CHOCOLAT

Combining their Belgium roots along with a French standard of refinement, Patrick and Beata at Ambiance Chocolat hands down makes some of the best tasting truffles in town.

While many get caught in the sparkle and glitter of running a chocolate business, Ambiance has one clear focus and that is to create great tasting pieces of chocolate. Grounded on the purely of chocolate, their truffles taste second to none.

It starts out with the best raw chocolate they can get their hands on. The base of all their chocolates is a mix of Valrhona and Michel Cluizel, which are French chocolate manufacturers known for their clean human rights records and integrity. All beans are either fair trade or direct trade, therefore compensating farmers for their hard work and their beautiful cacao beans. Naturally, the quality of end product is also top-notch with unmatched smoothness and aroma.

Our favorite part about Ambiance’s chocolates is that they use the most unexpected ingredients that take you on a tasting adventure with a single bite. Our experience with the jalapeno truffle was exceptional. You first taste the sweetness of the outer chocolate shell. This is followed by a brief spicy burst which is then calmed by the chocolate ganache’s sweetness. The perfect contrast of sweet and spicy makes an excellent experience like none other. Get ready for a one-of-a-kind tasting experience.

Chocolates by Brandon Olsen | Artisan Chocolatier

 

CHOCOLATES X BRANDON OLSEN

With colourful eye-popping displays of artisan chocolate, Brandon Olsen offers a one-of-a-kind chocolate experience that will surely indulge all your senses. Having just opened up his own chocolate shop in the Brockton Village this past summer, it is quickly becoming one of the most sought after gems of Toronto.

Regarded as one of the most innovative, skilled and hardworking chefs in Canada, Brandon Olsen has spent the past 15 years honing his craft under the tutelage of some of the world’s greatest chefs, including a two-month apprenticeship at Chef Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Napa Valley, followed by two years at Keller’s Ad Hoc restaurant. Since then, Olsen has led two of Toronto’s most celebrated kitchens, The Black Hoof and Bar Isabel, the latter named 2013’s Best New Restaurant by EnRoute Magazine while he helmed the kitchen.

But while Olsen is best known for his savory creations, sweets are equally his passion, an interest inspired by watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a kid, and grew while shadowing chefs in the pastry department at The French Laundry. He is self-taught, learning chocolate work from observing other chefs, reading books and experimenting.

Together with his fiancé - artist and filmmaker Sarah Keenlyside - they're taking over the Toronto artisan chocolate scene with their colourful chocolate confections that are just the perfect marriage between art and flavour.

  

The Golden Apple Confectionary, Stephanie Cart, Chocolate Bars

THE GOLDEN APPLE CONFECTIONERY

There's much more to The Golden Apple Confectionery than just their deep collection of beautiful chocolates. Behind it all is a bold, creative and honest chocolatier named Stephanie Cart who is the reason why The Golden Apple is no ordinary chocolate shop.

Everything is prepared on-site, which sets it apart from the chocolate world's big companies. "Everything is handmade, using only whole ingredients, as organic as possible," says Stephanie. "There's really no hidden behind-the-scenes things going on in our kitchen; customers can see all that's going on in the kitchen through our big windows."

Having mastered the craft of chocolate making at George Brown years ago, Stephanie is continuing to push the boundaries of creativity and is one of the few Canadian chocolatiers who is fueling the chocolate evolution in Toronto. With one of a kind profiles like the Crème Brûlée bar and Maple Whiskey truffles, she is easily one of the most innovative artisan chocolatiers in Toronto. If you are ever near Liberty Village, go try the dark chocolate truffles infused with real Absinthe, guaranteed to seduce any unsuspecting chocolate lover.