I may have eaten quite a bit of chocolate.
A year ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to only purchase Canadian Chocolate. I didn’t tell all of you about that, but I did indeed stick to that resolution. The only time I bought other chocolate was when I was in Hawaii, and then I purchased Hawaiian-made chocolate. I was happy to support my ‘local’ chocolate makers and chocolatiers throughout this year. I explored new-to-me Canadian chocolate makers as well as old favourites.
I ate chocolate from other makers that came to me through my previous purchases, friends and chocolate swaps. I sent Canadian chocolate around the world through various chocolate swaps as well, spreading joy through chocolate.
In 2019 I launched a line of chocolate themed jewellery, some one-of-a-kind pieces, two limited edition pieces, and several other sterling silver and bronze pieces that are all centered around chocolate. This combined my love of chocolate with my goldsmithing background. I also had the opportunity to create several one-of-a-kind pieces this year in both silver and gold. Getting back to my creativity and making jewellery again has been wonderful and I thank you all for your support.
I attended The Winter Chocolate Show in Toronto.
There was a quick weekend in Winnipeg where there were a few chocolate stops.
A few days in Vancouver for a dental conference had me exploring chocolate shops, randomly meeting makers, and eating plenty of pastries.
A day trip to Smith Falls and Tweed showed the amazing scale the chocolate factory there is, with a stop in Almonte at Hummingbird Chocolate on the way back for a tour and some delicious sampling.
Several day trips to Montreal this year included chocolate shopping.
I travelled to Hawaii for vacation and saw cacao growing on trees and did a tour with Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours.
I took levels one and two of the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting in Toronto in September, finally hearing back mid November that I did indeed pass both levels. My goal for 2020 is to take level 3, more on that in a future post.
At The Ottawa Chocolate Show I presented a chocolate tasting seminar, as well as selling my jewellery.
At The Tea and Chocolate Festival in Ottawa I did a presentation about slowing down and enjoying craft chocolate and again sold my line of hand-made chocolate-themed jewellery, as well as a line of hand-printed silk screen items.
Meeting up with a friend for a road trip to Palette de Bine proved to be an all around perfect day, with Christine letting us try so many delicious bites of chocolate.
Here are my top moments of chocolate from 2019:
Palette de Bine – I love so many of Christine’s creations, choosing a favourite is impossible. Madagascar holds a special place in my heart, but I do really enjoy the new Mushroom bar she has. The two Trinidad origin bars are amazing.
Hummingbird Chocolate – my local chocolate maker. My favourite after their sometimes available chocolate brownies, is the Toffee & Nib bar. Hispanolia is always a treasure and their Vodkow Caramels are amazing! I look forward to the launch of their Rough Grind bar soon.
Qantu Chocolat – All of their bars are delicious, and my one jewellery piece is made from a Chuncho bean, so their Chuncho bar is dear to me. My fav from them is their Maple Bar as the chocolate to maple ratio is perfect and the sprinkle of sea salt just brings it all together.
Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours – this was an amazing experience. I finally saw cacao trees with beautiful orange cacao pods growing on them. The tour of the farm was amazing, the people so friendly and welcoming (and Canadian) and the hot chocolate making amazing. I will never forget this experience and I cannot wait to again see the cacao on trees.
Finnia Chocolate – I cannot get enough of their Cacao Cookies, preferably in dark chocolate. Addictive.
East Van Roasters – A social enterprise that makes (delicious) craft chocolate. I finally had a chance to visit their shop on a trip to Vancouver (for a dental conference since I’m a dental assistant). I brought home some amazing treats, my favourite being a tasting set of three bites of bean to bar chocolate bars. I wish more makers would do small sample sizes like this for people new to chocolate to really explore flavours in chocolate.
Presenting at Chocolate Shows – Sharing my love of chocolate with others was a delight. I loved creating presentations, leading discussions and answering questions for all who attended. These were a highlight of this year for me.
Learning – Taking the International Institute of Chocolate & Cacao Tasting levels 1 & 2 in Toronto was amazing. I learnt so much, shared so much, tried lots of chocolate, challenged myself (it’s been awhile since I’ve taken tests), and met so many amazing people.
Judging – I experienced judging the Canadian portion of the International Chocolate Awards, which was a lot of chocolate to eat in a day and a half, but I was happy to have done it and learned a lot along the way. I hope to judge again in the future.
Creating – designing a line of chocolate-themed jewellery that allows chocolate lovers, chocoholics, and foodies the chance to wear and share their love of chocolate proudly in a elegant and stylish way made me happy. Working with my hands is something I love and getting back to my goldsmithing has been so much fun, so much work, and such a joy.