Hi, I’m Cyndi. I am a chocoholic, living in Canada, hence the name for this blog and my business, Canadian Chocoholic.
I am fond of the Dictionary.com definition of chocolate that says: chocoholic : a person who is excessively fond of chocolate.
Chocolate touches all parts of my life, from my morning mug of drinking/sipping/hot chocolate, to the art I make with chocolate bar wrappers, to the flavours I explore through tasting chocolate, to the sterling silver jewellery I create based and themed around chocolate and cacao, to the chocolate bar I share with friends, to the things I write about.
The reality is that I do eat chocolate almost every day, but my guess is it is far less than you think I might eat. On an average day I eat about half a bar of chocolate. A few pieces or grams of chocolate in my morning mug, and then a piece or two of chocolate during the day. Sometimes it is more than that, like when I am consulting about flavours in a chocolate maker’s product, or giving feedback on fillings in bonbons.
For me, I think Chocoholic is a good term as my love of chocolate touches all areas of my life. I am not addicted to chocolate, yet I couldn’t imagine my life without chocolate in it.
My chocolate story began as a child, enjoying chocolate treats for special occasions. As I grew older I found a fondness for chocolate desserts, though usually steered away from traditional cakes, favouring chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate mousse over other desserts. For many years I worked as a goldsmith and there was always a bowl of M&Ms I could munch on as I worked on my workbench.
When I travelled I found chocolate shops and stores. Visiting Atlanta over a decade ago I found single origin chocolate bars on the trip in a delightful shop, Cacao Atlanta, that made a delicious hot chocolate. We also saw a cacao tree at the botanical gardens there.
I worked as a chocolatier in a small chocolate shop on Vancouver Island for many years, seasonally, helping out during their busy season. I got the job soon after we moved there in 2008 and saw the ad in the paper and applied because chocolate!! We were new to town, and I wanted to make new friends in our new home, and my partner was sent off for three months to Newfoundland for work. I was working on figuring out how my goldsmithing jewellery business would look in our new local, and what the rules and regulations were there, so something part time and seasonal felt like a fun option, and again, because chocolate.
I worked there for several years through the busy holiday seasons, learning lots about chocolate and tempering among so many other things. I made some great friends there who I am still in touch with even though we are now in Ottawa.
You could say those years in that small chocolate shop made me much more interested in chocolate.
After moving to Ottawa, I discovered Hummingbird Chocolate selling their bars at the Brewer Park Farmers Market, and really enjoyed their bars. I continued to read more about chocolate here and there, choosing fine chocolate over mass produced chocolate more and more. Enjoying flavours found in more expensive chocolate bars and bonbons. I also happened upon Alicja Confections and Stubbe Chocolates.
On a visit with friends to Montreal I bought some delicious bars at a little kiosk at Eau Claire market, a few bars from Europe, and one from Palette de Bine in Mont Tremblant.
While I had been enjoying Hummingbird’s chocolate bars, this bar from Palette de Bine left an impression and I wanted to learn even more. So, I did. I bought more fine chocolate, whenever I saw it, and dove into flavour comparisons. I remember early on trying 6 different Madagascar origin bars together.
That spurred a trip to Toronto with a plan to see, and purchase, chocolate. We happened upon Chocosol and were invited in for a tour of their chocolate making area and the roof top garden. It was a lovely experience, and again I wanted to learn more. We visited Soma. We ate a lot of delicious chocolate.
From there I was in love with all things craft chocolate.
That is the beginning of My Chocolate Story. For more about what I am doing now check out Inspired by Chocolate post from a few weeks ago. It shares what I am doing now, and it is not making chocolate.
If you have made it to the end of this blog my thanks, I can tend to get wordy, and it has been a fun chocolate journey. It has led me to new things, new art, new friends, and so many amazing chocolate shops, chocolatiers, pastry chefs and chocolate makers.
I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. If you want to really see the full chocolate journey you can pop over to Instagram and follow me there or scroll way back to some of my early days of sharing chocolate.
PS – I am not affiliated with any of these businesses that I have linked. I love their product or service and want to share it with you, I get nothing if you click their links or purchase from them. It is my goal to share things going on in the Canadian and Global chocolate scenes with all of you.