100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers

Here is a quick overview and list of all 100 gifts for chocolate lovers in one blog post.

To find out more about each ten gifts and see photos of some of the items included you can check last years blog posts for all the details. This list is a place to have them all in one spot, for the pretty version you can start here. At the bottom of each you can advance to the next blog, every other blog was for this series.

I share my suggestions because I love chocolate, craft chocolate, bean to bar chocolate, small batch chocolate and chocolatiers. As a maker myself, I love to encourage you to shop small and think differently, and I really love these products and have tried many of them, read many of the books, and the ones I haven’t yet, perhaps someone will gift to me one day. These are meant to be ideas that stretch your mind to gifting local chocolate goods and products to your friends that love chocolate. It’s meant to help you think beyond a box of chocolate or a chocolate bar. There are no affiliate links here, and if you purchase any of these products I don’t receive anything in return.

Enjoy! Feel free to comment below on what your favourite gifting idea on this list is, or other ideas you have for gifting to chocolate lovers.

1 Chocolate, any chocolate will do, but if you need Sirene is a good place to start https://sirenechocolate.com/

2 Bonbons from Jacek https://jacekchocolate.com/

3 Sterling Silver Cacao Pod Necklace https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

4 Chocolate made in Chile by Obolo https://obolochocolate.cl/

5 A molinillo, used to make hot chocolate https://hummingbirdchocolate.com/products/molinillo

6 A chocolate stash pouch https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

7 Clothing that celebrate peace https://peacebychocolate.ca/collections/merchandise

8 A chocolate subscription box from Bar & Cocoa https://barandcocoa.com/pages/chocolate-club

9 Bean to Bar Chocolate, a book, by Megan Giller http://www.megangiller.com/book

10 Chocolate celebrating seasonal flavours from Centre and Main Chocolate https://centreandmainchocolate.com/

11 Chocolate and Cats? Check out the Hank Series from McGuire Chocolate https://mcguirechocolate.com/products/santa-paws-52-holiday-milk-chocolate

12 Cacao Bean Necklace in bronze https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

13 One bite wonders, bonbons from The Chocolate Lab https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

14 A tumbler for your to go hot chocolate from Ritual Chocolate https://www.ritualchocolate.com/shop/fellow-hot-beverage-tumbler

15 Chocolate – The Consuming Passion a illustrated book by Sandra Boynton https://www.sandraboynton.com/sboynton/boyntonbooks.html

16 Tree to Bar Chocolate made in Taiwan by Fuwan Chocolate https://www.fuwanshop.com/pages/treetobar

17 Handmade chocolate cards for all occasions https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

18 Tips for finding subscription boxes near you

19 Chocolate with cacao pulp (chunks) in it by Naïve https://chocolatenaive.com/

20 A chocolate themed t-shirt https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/875866358/chocolate-lover-shirt-chocolate-lover

21 Chocomotion Chocolate Tasting https://chocomotions.com/

22 Advent Calendars there are so many beautiful ones available

23 Bread, Wine, Chocolate a book https://simransethi.com/breadwinechocolate/

24 Finnia Chocolate Bar https://www.finniachocolate.shop/

25 Hand cut one of a kind sterling silver cacao pod earrings https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

26 Taste with Colour flavour map https://tastewithcolour.com/

27 Confections by Fruition Chocolate https://www.fruitionchocolateworks.com/

28 Farm T-Shirts from Askinosie https://askinosie.com/collections/dont-eat-this

29 Postcards featuring chocolate images https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

30 Bonbons by Anna Stubbe https://www.annastubbechocolates.com/

31 Canadian chocolate.  E’tat de choc has an amazing selection https://www.etatdechoc.com/us/

32 Chocolate that never disappoints from Marou in Vietnam https://marouchocolate.com/

33 Cacao Bean Treats – Good King Cacao is closed for now but keep an eye open for what is ahead for them.

34 Mushroom Chocolate? Candy Cap Chocolate from Petite Patrie https://www.petitepatriechocolate.com/product-page/roasted-white-chocolate-with-candy-cap-mushroom

35 Chocolate Spreads from Allo Simone https://allosimonne.com/en

36 Tasting Kit from Desbarres Chocolate https://www.desbarreschocolate.com/products/desbarres-chocolate-tasting-kit

37 Bronze Cacao Pod Necklace

38 Chocolate Classes, tasting, confections, or bean to bar from Ecole Chocolat  https://www.ecolechocolat.com/en/

39 Raising the Bar a book about chocolate by Pam Williams of Ecole Chocolat

40 This fun chocolate flow chart card https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/605852036/chocolate-birthday-card-chocolate-lover?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=chocolate+card+funny&ref=sr_gallery-1-6&organic_search_click=1

41 Support a social enterprise when you buy chocolate from East Van Roasters https://eastvanroasters.square.site/s/order?shipping=true

42 Zodiac Chocolate Cards PDF from Projet Chocolat https://www.projetchocolat.com/shop/zodiac-chocolate-cards-pdf

43 Pairing Books and Chocolate with Cocoa Encounters https://cocoaencounters.co.uk/chocolate-classes-experiences/chocolate-bookclubs/

44 Cocoa by Kristy Leissle https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Cocoa-p-9781509513178

45 A gift card for chocolate jewellery

46 Drinking Chocolate Wheels https://www.cruchocolate.com/drinks

47 Design a Tasting or attend one with 37 Chocolates https://37chocolates.com/2019/03/04/video-training-how-to-design-a-chocolate-tasting-lecture-workshop/

48 Paper Cacao Flowers

49 Think outside the box and give them a mug for drinking chocolate https://parcelineceramique.com/

50 Chocolate with mushrooms or berries, or deep and dark from Palette De Bine https://palettedebine.com/en/

51 Chocolate made with Madagascar cacao

52 Single Origin Chocolate from Kasama https://kasamachocolate.com/

53 Chocolate (book) by Dom Ramsey https://www.amazon.ca/Chocolate-Indulge-Chocoholic-Bean-Bar/dp/1465454063

54 Personalize a gift for a pal

55 Origin Pendants  https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

56 Tree to Bar Chocolate from the Grenada Chocolate Company https://www.grenadachocolate.com/products/

57 Baking Chocolate, bean to bar baking chocolate, ideally from a chocolate maker local to you.  Last year I highlighted Chauler B Chocolate for baking chocolate.https://www.brulerieduquai.com/en/collections/chocolat

58 The Chocolate Tasting Kit from Eagranie Yuh to help explore flavours https://www.amazon.ca/Chocolate-Tasting-Kit-Eagranie-Yuh/dp/1452111642

59 Digital Bytes from Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers

60 Local Chocolate Maker Sets, check your local maker for a single origin or tasting set to introduce a friend to the world of craft chocolate

61 The Flavour of Wood book https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-flavor-of-wood-in/9781419742354-item.html

62 Palo Santo Chocolate Bar from Qantu Chocolat https://en.qantuchocolate.com/product-page/palo-santo-chocolat-noir-70

63 Silver Cacao Bean Necklace https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

64 Cacao Nibs

65 A hand carved and painted cacao pod https://www.instagram.com/beltrancacaomaker/?hl=en

66 The New Taste of Chocolate https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/9781580089500-item.html?s_campaign=goo-Shopping_Smart_Books&gclid=Cj0KCQjwlOmLBhCHARIsAGiJg7nLgOsCzk4ELSvrcJXM-7txEcYYsxsxf11i8Cptq3F6vetrFczN6mEaApEaEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

67 A class all about cacao https://www.chocolatetastinginstitute.org/

68 Salt with Chocolate in it https://www.saltspringseasalt.com/product/chocolate/

69 Chocolate bars with salt in them, pop over to the blog post from last year to see a few I recommend

70 Chocolate made in Ecuador by Pacari https://www.pacari.com/product/raw-70-cuzco-salt/?lang=en

71 Conversations in Cocoa a subscription on substack https://laurenonthewknd.substack.com/?utm_source=discover_search

72 The Chocolate Notebook chocolatenotebook.com

73 Grandpa Cacao Childrens Book https://www.amazon.com/Grandpa-Cacao-Tale-Chocolate-Family/dp/1681196409

74 Screen Printed Art by Canadian Chocoholic https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

75 Map Chocolate and The Next Batch School https://thenextbatch.com/

76 Creativity and Chocolate https://www.instagram.com/bumbleandoakco/

77 Dormouse Chocolate https://dormousechocolates.com/

78 Goldie Chocolate https://goldiechocolate.com/

79 Shattell Chocolate https://www.shattell.com/

80 Sterling Silver Cacao Bean Earrings https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

81 Pastries – Brownie in a jar recipe

82 The True History of Chocolate https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/9780500290682-item.html

83 Mini Bars Vaka Chocolate https://vakachocolate.com/

84 Experiences (link to blog)

85 Last minute ideas (link to blog)

86 Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers https://www.patreon.com/HappyMailForChocolateLovers

87 Chocolate Milk Syrup Recipe https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/210084/chocolate-syrup/

88 Chocolate Milk tshirt

89 A chocolate Box

90 Fun chocolate dress https://www.redbubble.com/i/dress/Candy-Wrappers-by-Montage-Madness/51361866.V4WQ8?country_code=US&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=g.pla+-+PUP-OG+-+%5Bg%5Dcos.usa%5D+%5Bl.eng%5D+%5BPT.Dresses%5D&utm_id=notset&utm_term=Content_taxonomy&utm_content=chocolate

91 Chocolat, the movie.

92 Find a shop nearby https://chocomap.com/

93 Chocolate Ecards https://www.123greetings.com/tags/chocolate.html

94 Travel and Chocolate Book https://chocolatour.net/store/

95 Art and Chocolate a cacao flower painting tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSgxcJkbWjQ&t=12s

Sanna creates some amazing paintings that you can learn more about here https://www.instagram.com/cacaosana/?hl=en

Nicole make painting with cacao butter in this book about chocolate https://worldtreechocolate.ca/product/cacao-to-chocolate-book/

96 Chocolate Tshirt https://www.exquisitochocolates.com/products/chocolate-nerd-t-shirt

97 The Cross Atlantic Chocolate Collective https://www.chocolaterebellion.com/cross-atlantic-chocolate

98 Gift cards from your local chocolate shop

99 Inspo for a create your own Chocolate and Spirits pairing https://www.instagram.com/choccoffeewine/?hl=en

100 Canadian Chocoholic https://canadianchocoholic.ca/shop/

Here are the links to read the full blog series:

  • 1-10 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 11-20 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 21-30 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 31-40 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 41-50 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 51-60 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 61-70 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 71-80 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 81-90 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
  • 91-100 of 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers
Canadian Chocoholic
Canadian Chocoholic

Cyndi combines her two passions together as Canadian Chocoholic.  #ChocolateIsMyMuse is what inspires her to create unique products.  Using her expertise, education and knowledge of tasting, judging, enjoying, and curating chocolate to make art pieces with her creative background as a goldsmith to create a wide variety of chocolate themed accessories, jewellery, paper products, notebooks and fabric items.  Her current passion project is Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers.  She loves talking about all things art and chocolate!  Reach out to her on Instagram or her blog anytime.


Tis the season… for making fun Christmas ornaments!

Last year I did a series of DIY blog posts about making ornaments and holiday decorations from reused and upcycled chocolate bar wrappers.

I know that I have a ton of chocolate bar wrappers sitting around my office.  Some of them are just so beautiful and I wanted to find a way to use them, so I made some ornaments.

Most of these tutorials are super easy and don’t need much more than scissors, glue, string, and a bit of time, and maybe a few other things.  You can find all my previous Christmas ornament DIYs here.

Chocolate Ball Ornament

Paper Ornaments, starring Chocolate Bar Wrappers

Chocolate Wrapper Paper Chain

Chocolate Bar packaging Garland

Wreath made using Chocolate Bar Wrappers

I am planning on adding a few in the next few weeks in the lead up to Christmas so be sure to subscribe for notifications, or keep checking back.

I’d also love for you to sign up for my email list.  I send out emails when I have specials on in my shop, or every once in awhile when I have a new blog post or two.  Signing up helps us stay in touch should IG ever have any issues and we lose touch.  Here is the link.

Canadian Chocoholic
Canadian Chocoholic

Cyndi combines her two passions together as Canadian Chocoholic.  #ChocolateIsMyMuse is what inspires her to create unique products.  Using her expertise, education and knowledge of tasting, judging, enjoying, and curating chocolate to make art pieces with her creative background as a goldsmith to create a wide variety of chocolate themed accessories, jewellery, paper products, notebooks and fabric items.  Her current passion project is Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers.  She loves talking about all things art and chocolate!  Reach out to her on Instagram or her blog anytime.


Chocolate Tasting Flight from a Solera

Sometimes something comes my way that is different, exciting, and needs special attention.  Spring of 2019 I received a jar of chocolate from my friend Trish.  Trish is a chocolate blogger (@myic2016 – Eating the Chocolate Alphabet) and she eats even more chocolate than I do.  She sent a small jar of her 2018 Chocolate Solera my way, and I promptly put it up on a shelf to admire it awhile.

The Chocolate Solera sent to my by my friend Trish

So, this Chocolate Solera is quite the thing.  This little jar contained a fraction of the contents from her large jar of Solera.  Over 2018 she kept a piece of every single origin bean to bar chocolate bar she ate and put it into a jar.  That’s a lot of pieces of chocolate.  It included 245 non inclusion chocolate bars, 43 cacao origins, and 136 different brands of chocolate.  So like I said, not just any jar of chocolate. Solera is a process of aging liquids by fractional blending, making the finished product a mixture. This Solera was made with chocolate, not boozy liquids.  So, like I said, not just any jar of chocolate.

Each piece in this pile of chocolate was likely from a different bar, I used them to create four delicious creations.

I looked at this jar on the shelf above my desk thinking about what to do with it, and how it needed to be fun, tasty and unique.

Then one day, not too long after receiving it I doodled a little picture.  A bonbon, a hot chocolate shot, a brownie and some ice cream with chocolate sauce on top.  I put the doodle up beside the jar on the shelf and pondered about it.

The sketch that started this project.

I kept looking at it… for like months!  I had decided that yes it was a good solid plan.  I just needed to execute it.  I kept trying to find time that I was free, and hubby would be around for photos and help.  Sometimes you just need two more hands.  I tried some recipes and altered them a bit to make them work for what I envisioned.  Then a new job, class in Toronto, life all got in the way.  I was hopeful my mom might help me with it when she visited for Christmas but again that didn’t happen as we were to busy having all sorts of fun.

I had decided I would do it the day before my birthday, as a reward for finishing my packing early for a trip I was going on and a birthday treat.  Because chocolate!

Then COVID-19 happened.  My trip was cancelled and then I was just not in a “so happy lets make chocolate mood”. 

The day I was supposed to spend 15 hours travelling to Maui, I cooked this up as a distraction.  To find some good in a day I knew I would want distractions.

Just some of the ingredients I needed to create this tasting plate/chocolate flight.

I made sure we had everything I needed, and I set out a schedule to ‘sorta’ follow so things would all be done at the same time.  Enlisted hubby’s participation, which meant if I call come take a photo or help and got started.

The first step was dividing the jar up into four different bowls, to make each of the four different items.  SO my kitchen scale came out and I began to create.

All ready to begin! One jar divided into four to create some tasty creations.

I started with the Truffle For One, it needed at least an hour of time to sit in the fridge.  Yes, I had figured out a truffle for one recipe.  The truffle was just a simple ganache, rolled in cocoa powder.  Not too difficult but I did have the experience of being a chocolatier (many, many year ago) behind me.  Once I melted the chocolate and added the cream, I put it in a tiny bowl and set it in the fridge to cool.

Creating a ganache like creation to form a truffle from. Nothing like mixing chocolate and cream.

Then it was onto making the Brownie for One.  Okay, this made two brownies, only because I couldn’t find a pan the size I wanted, they were too big or too small.  So I got two tiny brownies out of my recipe.  Also, we can debate if it is really a blondie and not a brownie, since it’s kinda blonde in colour.  This is because I did not put cocoa powder in it.  I melted half the chocolate bits allocated for the brownie and mixed it into the batter (not enough to make it brown in colour, but definitely added chocolate to the flavour).  The rest of the bits of chocolate were added at the end, mixed in before the brownie went into the oven for baking. 

Brownie for one. Full of wonderful pieces of bean to bar chocolate.

While it was baking I had a little break with a glass of water and waited.  Once the brownie was done and had cooled about 10 minutes it was time to get on with the rest of the tasting plate. Then it was time to roll the truffle after it had chilled in the fridge.

This was the messiest bit! I rolled it in cocoa powder once done, then topped it with one piece of chocolate from the jar of solera.

I melted (in a double boiler since it was such a small amount) the chocolate designated for the sauce for the ice cream.  I stirred it gently and waited until it was thick and set it off to the side, where hubby then took over.

A double boiler is always helpful for melting chocolate.

While he waited for the sauce to set and thicken up a bit, I got to work on adding the remaining chocolate to the double boiler and warming it to create a drinking chocolate.  I stirred it as it melted and knowing it wouldn’t be enough to fill my shot glass, I added a small amount of almond milk and incorporated that into it.  By small I mean, tiny bit, maybe a few teaspoons (yeah, I don’t measure so much as to use my eyes and make it work).

Wondering exactly how much almond milk I need to add to fill my small mug of drinking chocolate.

As I was pouring the thick drinking chocolate into the mug, my helpful husband was scooping ice cream and drizzling the chocolate sauce on top of it.  He made an amazing drizzle, super artistic and everything!

A perfect drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Then I obviously set up my tasting plate, took many photos, of everything together, and everything separately, and then sat down to enjoy my beautiful tasting plate made with Trish’s chocolate solera.

All ready for everything to be plated, photographed and then devoured.

I began with the ice cream, followed by the drinking chocolate, then half the truffle and half the brownie, then a bit with truffle on the brownie.

Delicious, the only regret was that there wasn’t enough chocolate to drizzle on top of the brownie.

It was such a fun project.  Planning, creating something special, then eating it.  Tasting it, thinking about the flavours, and finding lots of flavours in it.  The fact that it had so many different chocolate bars it in made it unique and so enjoyable.

The brownie mid bake. A tiny brownie tin inside a mini muffin tin. Plus one of my screen printed tea towels.

If I had to pick a favourite it’d be the brownie, as it brought some crunch and chewiness in the same bite.

This was such fun! Here’s a few more photos of each of the finished pieces. Click here for recipes.

Truffle for One
Drinking Chocolate
Ice cream chocolate sauce.

I think making this chocolate tasting flight has encouraged me to cook and bake with chocolate more often. Maybe I will even share some of those adventures with you in the future.

Which of the four items would you enjoy the most?


Maple and Chocolate

I am a Canadian, and as such I can’t help but love maple syrup. It really is an amazing flavour that we may use more than other countries. I use it all the time in baking and smoothies, however I do also enjoy it with chocolate.

Why yes, this is a one litre bottle of maple syrup, also a block of maple sugar as well as maple cotton candy.

There are so many amazing Canadian chocolate makers in Canada using maple in so many different ways.

Maple is a staple in our house, we have a large bottle of local maple syrup from a farm we visited this year during sugar bush season. Did you know that it takes 40 litres of maple sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup? Plus, the sap only runs when the temperatures are high in the day and lower over night. Some years the season is longer than others.

A selection of bean to bar chocolate using maple.

Different chocolate makers use different techniques to add in maple. You can often find bars with maple sugar sprinkled on top of the bar, but my favourites are when the maple is incorporated throughout.

Palette de Bine has an interesting bar that has maple sugar and fir tips. It’s not always availble, but if you can get your hands on it you are in for a treat. The 70% bar uses single origin cacao from Bolivia and combines it with maple sugar and fir tips(that have been ground down) to create a very unique and woodsy flavour.

Palette de Bine, located in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, also has a Bines a l’erable, maple chocolate bar that is wonderful.

It’s the bar pictured above, and it is delicious.

Shown here are 6 bean to bar chocolate bars using maple, 1 maple bonbon, a maple candy and maple sugar.

Next up we have Hummingbird Chocolate. Hummingbird uses maple sugar from Fulton’s Sugar Shack which is down the road from the chocolate factory.

Hummingbird Chocolate

The bar I picked up from E’tat de choc in Montreal recently is made using Chocolats Monarque 65% Belize chocolate with a sponge like meringue in it. This gives it a very lovely texture on the tongue.

One of the other bars is the 65% Belize bar from Chocolats Monarque, which is lovely all on its own. The chocolate flavour matches beautifully with the maple.

Chocolats Monarque Erable (Maple)

There is also a Raaka bar; Maple and Nibs featured here. I really enjoy it and find the nibs give it a great texture and a bit of a darker feel.

There is a piece of white chocolate from Petite Patrie Chocolate; Maple White Chocolate with Almonds. Petite Patrie is in Nova Scotia and uses Nova Scotia maple syrup. The almonds in this bar give it a crunch.

Plus a white chocolate bonbon filled with a maple cream. I wasn’t looking for this, but sometimes chocolate just finds me. This one jumped off a shelf at a store in Jean Talon Market in Montreal.

A block of maple sugar that is grated onto food, maple cotton candy, and maple sugar.

Clearly you can tell I have a thing for maple. Chocolate and maple can be such a wonderful combination, that is truly Canadian.

Now, as much as I love maple and chocolate, I do love maple, and quite possibly maple taffy on a stick is one of my favourite treats. Maple taffy, which is thicker than maple syrup, is warmed up, then poured onto snow where it is left a minute or so before being rolled up onto a popsicle stick. Then you enjoy it. Usually a mess is involved.

Maple taffy on a stick. Maybe better than chocolate.

Maple taffy stand along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

After skating the canal, a hot chocolate is a great treat. If your chocolate is a bit bitter or you want to sweeten it up, you can always add maple syrup, maple sugar, maple cotton candy, or, in this case, a maple marshmallow.

Maple marshmallows to sweeten this hot chocolate.

And that my friends is a bit about maple and chocolate and some ways chocolate makers have used the two ingredients together. I hope you get the chance to experience a maple bar of chocolate soon. Let me know below if you have tried maple taffy before.

I’ll leave you with one last photo of that delicious maple and chocolate tasting plate.


A Golden Bean

Maybe this is what inspired me, what made my brain begin thinking about golden beans. Maybe it was holding this beauty last fall.

It had been a long time since I had seriously made jewellery, and a few weeks after seeing this I had several ideas for chocolate themed sterling silver jewellery pieces.

Now gold is a different story. Gold is a whole different game. I do and have worked with gold, but it’s an expensive metal. Precious. But in my mind I had golden bean floating around. I might have made it for myself, however yellow gold has never been my favourite metal. My own wedding bands (that hubby and I designed together and I made) are made of 14KT white gold. So still the ‘golden bean‘ floated around in my head.

Then, one day came a message from a customer who had purchased a silver cacao bean, ‘Can you make it in gold?’

An 18Kt Gold Cacao Bean, this is the side where part of the husk or shell has been removed.

‘Yes’ So off I went finding out the market value of gold since it changes daily, yes daily, it’s gold!

I sent off a quote a few days later and waited to see if the customer was still interested.

Indeed they were. So, once the piece was ordered I went about making it happen. Ordering gold, getting the casting part of the process moving, a quick trip to Montreal for all things jewellery related. (There may have been a chocolate stop or two along the way!)

Then, there it was, in my hands, a golden bean, a golden cacao bean.

It wasn’t pretty at this point, and if you had seen it you may not have thought it was gold. It still needed a lot of work to become a work of wearable art.

Cacao bean in the works, not at it’s pretty place yet.

So work on it I did.

Gold is gold, and in the process I lost some gold, trying my best to catch it and keep it. The beauty of metal is that it can be remelted and reused, so any ‘extra’ goes into something else in the future. It’s actually kinda cool.

Some days the glitter in my hair is actual gold dust.

Once the sawing, filing, touching up, tumbling, polishing and shining were all done the piece looked amazing. So, so good. I almost wanted to keep it for myself.

Ready to polish, each metal has its own buffs, and this is the messiest part of the whole process.

Instead I took many photos, then I wrapped it up to protect it and sent it off to another country. It was destined to be added to a charm bracelet. Hoping it made the journey safely, waiting to share the photos until the customer had received the piece.

The husk side of this 18Kt Gold cacao bean.

I had such a great time making this piece, and I hope you enjoyed all the photos of it. Let me know if you have any questions or have an idea for a custom piece.

The unshelled side of this 18Kt gold cacao bean sitting with cacao nibs on top of the hand made paper I make from chocolate bar wrappers and cacao husk.

Where to find Canadian Chocolate

I love all chocolate, but I do love to support our Canadian chocolate makers. Anything chocolate always has me excited. Desserts, chocolate bars, bean to bar chocolate, chocolate treats, or even just a drizzle of chocolate on top of something.

Maybe I have a problem?

So lets talk about Canadian chocolate. There are so many amazing chocolate products out on the market, where do you start?

If you head to the malls all across Canada you’ll find several larger chocolate companies that make great chocolate. Purdys Chocolate, Laura Secord Chocolate, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are all easy to find at many malls.

Purdys in Rideau Shopping Center in Ottawa. Offering chocolate and ice cream.

These companies all make great chocolate treats, are great for picking up a box for the office to share or a thank you gift for the chocolate lover in your life. Or if you need, just one bonbon to go or eat on the spot. I know how tempting a whole box of chocolates can be, and how sometimes just buying one is a win. Sometimes these shops will also have several bean to bar products or fair trade products.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is in Byward Market in Ottawa for all your chocolate and ice cream cravings. There are often Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores in many Canadian airports as well.

There are often smaller unique chocolate shops around too, check out the chocolatier in your neighbourhood. Their bonbons are usually delicious, small batch, and full of unique flavours. These little independent chocolate shops are some of my favourite places to visit while traveling, letting me explore the beauty and art of the bonbon as well as fun flavours, often specific to that area of the country. Chocolatiers get to play around with so many flavours and change up what their shop carries often, so visit regularly! Plus, so many chocolate shops make such beautifully coloured bonbons, it is like a box of art to go, but you can eat it!

Anna Stubbe is a newer to Ottawa chocolate and confectionery story.

Bean to bar chocolate is harder to find in our everyday lives. It usually means a trip to a specialty store and isn’t easily found in the malls. The best places to find bean to bar chocolate are often places foodies would visit. Cheese stores, farmers markets, market stands (think Granville Island, Jean-Talon Market, and places that are similar. Health food stores often carry some bean to bar chocolate as well (less additives folks with it usually having just three ingredients). Smaller independent grocery/food stores that support local producers are also a fabulous place to find excellent chocolate.

Maybe you are super lucky and are near a bean to bar chocolate producer (I’m jealous), maybe you can walk to a shop, chat with the chocolate maker and pick up a bar or three. In places like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal there are many easily accessible shops to visit. If you aren’t that close I urge you to visit a bean to bar chocolate maker if you have the chance. I have visited many bean to bar shops now and the smell alone is worth the visit. Seeing the process however is very eye opening. It is a long process where the chocolate maker puts in much care to create the end product. The closest chocolate maker to me is about a 45 minute drive away. It is always worth the drive, and usually the shop has a few more offerings that you might find other places the chocolate maker sells their product. Some chocolate makers have regular shop hours, others may work on their own schedule, so it’s always wise to check before you visit.

Smaller shops like Alicja Confections in Ottawa offer a great selection of bonbons, bars and chocolate treats.

Many stores also have bean to bar as well as bonbons and other chocolate products available, which is a winning combo in opinion. Jojo Coco has a selection of both here in Ottawa.

Whatever kind of chocolate you prefer, be it bonbons or bean to bar chocolate, be sure to enjoy it. Take time to savour the taste and flavours the chocolatiers and chocolate makers have worked to create. Let the foodie within you indulge in fine artisan chocolate.

See my Instagram account for Canadian Chocolate Makers near you, or send me a message if you have questions about where you can find craft chocolate.

Also check out my blog post on Chocolate for ore information on chocolatey things.


Diary of a chocoholic ~ Week 1

August 1st, 2019

~ 7:30 am – One of my favourite rituals is beginning my day with a cup of hot chocolate. I may say cup, but usually it’s closer to about 1/4 cup liquid. Sitting and savouring a cup of hot chocolate while thinking of all the things I am grateful for has been a ritual for me this year. I intentionally looked for a way to add time to my mornings to enjoy chocolate – just enjoy it. It’s usually something different each day. Really I pretty much wing it. This morning I used an Ancient Chocolate Drink mix I picked up while I was in Hawaii earlier this year on a tour with Maui Chocolate and Coffee Tours. This mix has spices added to it as was the ancient style of making hot chocolate.

~ 10:18 am – I sampled four chocolate bars with raspberries in them. I took photos of them all before eating them, and for photos I prefer two pieces of chocolate as it shows a cross section as well as the top of the bars. So in this photo, I only ate one piece of each kind of chocolate. The other four pieces were shared with a friend. I ate the four pieces over about an hour, allowing my mouth time between bars to better enjoy their flavours and textures.

Chocolate and Raspberry

~ 4:34 pm – Not chocolate, but chocolate related, I had some Cacao Juice (1/4 cup) mixed with some bubbly water from my Soda Stream (3/4 cup) as a refreshing drink after spending a few hours out on the water on my SUP. Cacao juice is not ‘chocolatey’ at all as it is made from the pulp of the cacao pod. It’s very bright and acidic and different. Worth a try!

August 2nd, 2019

~ 7 am – A few sips of hot chocolate before heading to work. It was a mix of various pieces of bars I had kicking around. I love mixing it up sometimes.

~ 8:11 pm – I supported a kick starter campaign for Mary’s Brigadeiros earlier this year and arrived home to find a box of treats as part of my reward. So exciting. Besides the expected treats there was a Brigadeiro tart in the box. It had a few bumps in its travels from Toronto to Ottawa, but I happily pulled it out and shared it with hubby for dessert this evening.

August 3rd, 2019

~ 9:45 pm – Yes that is correct, no chocolate until the evening. I do eat a fair amount of chocolate and some days I choose not to have any. I had a small glass of tea instead of hot chocolate. Truthfully I am still learning to enjoy tea, but it gave me a moment of mindfulness this morning. This evening though, I ate a Tree of Sweetness from Tulip. I knew it was in our plans to visit the restaurant tonight, and I was expecting great things. I wasn’t disappointed. It was beautiful. Chocolatly and unique, it was a flower pot full of chocolate mousse, covered with chocolate crumbs, with a chocolate tree trunk, topped with a purplish cotton candy canopy. Stunning. A work of art. I hope to indulge in it again.

August 4th, 2019

~ 9:44 am – I had a mug of hot chocolate, this time a hot chocolate mix from Soul Chocolate that I added almond milk to. On the side I had a mini banana chocolate chip loaf that I baked the day before. A lazy start to a Sunday.

~ 8:43 pm – I indulged in several Mary’s Brigadeiros, I had three and there were white and dark chocolate beauties in the bunch.

Mary’s Brigaderios

August 5th, 2019

~ 9:15 am ish – Today is a holiday here in Canada, so it was a later than usual morning. I did some yoga on the deck beginning about 8:30 and afterwards I had a bite of a Pisa bar from Palette De Bine with a glass of water. I absolutely love eating chocolate right after yoga as I find I am distracted and my tongue and pallet pick out flavours I may not have caught previously.

~ 9:45 am – I had hot chocolate made from the same Palette De Bine bar with hubby, who had tea, while we shared a few more Brigadeiros. Yay for holidays and starting the day slowly with delicious treats.

~ 10 pm – One Brigadeiro before bed after returning from a 20 km bike ride, I wanted a little snack.

August 6th, 2019

~ 9 am – Hot chocolate. This was a few bits of 100% bar of chocolate to which I added some water and maple syrup (to sweeten it up a bit).

~ 2:33 pm – a small bite of Hummingbird’s Maple bar as I worked at my desk.

August 7th, 2019

~ 8 am – A mug of hot chocolate to start the day. Various pieces of chocolate mixed with warm water to create a tiny drink. I just took pieces from my random jar of chocolate bits and I am sure there was a bar with pine in it. My drink had a distinctly tree flavour to it today.

~ 1:15 pm – A few bites of Sirene Chocolate’s Dark Milk bar at Parliament Hill after doing a yoga practice there.

~ 2:50 pm – Some Mary’s Brigadeiro spread on some fresh bread I picked up while I was out.


Diary of a chocoholic

Yes, it’s true, I am a chocoholic.

I eat chocolate almost everyday.

A chocolate tasting plate that has a lot of great chocolate on it.

I love the flavours, the texture, the creativity I find within chocolate.

So, I have decided to start a chocolate diary. My goal is to document the entire month of August, however I may continue after that. We’ll see how it goes.

My plan to share with you all the bites of chocolate I eat, the ones that end up being put on Instagram and the ones that don’t end up there. The chocolates I choose to eat and others that just happen into my days unexpectedly.

Please feel free to ask questions or make chocolate eating suggestions 🙂

Sometimes chocolate is in the food I eat, like this chocolate chip banana cashew bread I baked.

A Silver Cacao Pod

My goal for January had been to publish a blog once a week…. but then time escaped me.

At the beginning of December in 2018, I had an idea to make jewellery with a chocolate theme.  What you may not know about me is that I am trained as a Goldsmith and for many years owned my own business.  As life changed I stopped making jewellery as a full time gig and moved onto other easier, more practical, jobs that worked into my life a bit better.  Yet I have all my jewellery supplies, and a nice studio in our home where I can still make and create jewellery.

In November I made some life changes.  I went from working at three offices as a Dental Assistant to only working at one office part time.  I think this helped ease a lot of stress for me and gave me a bit of time to relax and slow down.

Then one day, several weeks after slowing down, it just came to me.  Chocolate themed jewellery.  I jumped up and went to find paper and within half an hour had the rough idea for at least 12 pieces of jewellery.


At that point I had to decide what to do about these ideas.  I had quit my jobs with the intention of beginning a chocolate tasting business in the Ottawa area, I even have an almost complete business plan ready. However, this jewellery thing was calling loudly to me.  Apparently, now is the time.  So I talked about it with a few people – my partner says I was straight up giddy about my ideas.  Then, I thought about it, how to do it, where to start, and friends, here it is, my first limited edition chocolate themed jewellery piece.

But first, here’s my new logo!


I put lots of happiness into making each and every cacao pod.  Each one has its own shape and character, each piece is a one-of-a-kind creation.

My goldsmithing background and my love of chocolate come together to create wearable chocolate art. Hand crafted in small batches with my own two hands.  This sterling silver Cacao Pod is a limited edition and there are only 100 available.

Shown are several of the limited edition sterling silver cacao pod necklaces.

Each is unique as I free hand each pod, first with pencil, then with a saw blade, sometimes following the lines, but mostly using them as a rough guide.

Using my jewellers saw to cut out the cacao pods.

After I have a pod pieced out of the sheet of sterling silver, I drill holes, one for each cacao bean in the pod.  That’s a lot of holes.  These holes are also done randomly, looking at each piece and letting my tools guide me to let me know if this pod has 7 beans or 15.

A pile of pods on my workbench waiting for their round holes to be made oval. The paper on the silver helps protect from scratches as well as being a guide for me.

Then I thread my teeny-tiny saw blade into each hole and make it oval, just like a cacao bean. After all the beans are to my liking I then file and tweak each and every pod to be sure it is unique and smooth.

Using my saw to make the bean shapes in the cacao pod.

Next on to the finishing stages: filing, sanding, making and soldering rings, polishing.

Filing the inside of all the cacao bean details.
Making the ring that the pendant hangs from.

After everything is done, chains are added, then the item is packaged.

A view of my workbench these days.  Fueled by m&ms.
A close up view of one of the sterling silver cacao pod pendants.

I have paid close attention to all the details of this project.  One of my favourite parts was making the paper the pieces are displayed and packaged on.  I made paper once before when I worked in a daycare center, a very long time ago.  So after a few videos on the internet and a few pieces of trial paper, I decided what worked best and went with it.

Our dining room table covered in wet paper.

I created all the paper backing for the jewellery pieces from recycled chocolate bar wrappers.  Yep,  I kept bunches of them and finally found a way to use them.  Making the paper was actually pretty cool.  It took me a few days, as the paper dries slowly, but I am very happy with the result.  Each sheet is unique, some very different from one other.  Cacao husk has been added to it as well so it had chocolate in it.

An example of the papers created.

I love how this has turned out, and it was a great way to upcycle my used chcocolate bar wrappers.  I can’t wait to make more!

You can purchase my Sterling Silver Cacao Pod here.

Hot Chocolate Mugs ~ Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers

This month there is a little something fun going into Happy Mail Envelopes. Something I picked up last year when visiting Montreal. Too cute not to pick this item up, but how to ship it nicely and safely in an envelope. Sometimes that is the hardest part of putting things into envelopes.

So, obviously I designed something to protect it on its journey instead of just wrapping it in tissue paper. Which I suppose was an option, it’s just my idea was more fun and could and would likely be used again.

Multi purposeful. Cut these cute tents in half and use as gift tags!

I made some mini mugs to hold it. These mugs can later be used to hold other things, and are actually going to travel inside out to protect the item they surround.

I started with short mugs, but on testing them felt they weren’t quite enough protection. So I made them be tall mugs, and decided they should say hot chocolate on them. Perhaps they could have had more drawing on them, but I am a fan of clean and simple. 

These mugs are so cute and fun. You could use them for so many things once they arrive. Cut its tent like structure in half and make two tags. Keep it standing up in it’s tent on your desk with a pen held in its slots, depending on the pen you may need to make the slits a little longer to accommodate it. You can pass it along to someone small who may want to have a tea party with it. You could also use it as a bookmark. There are likely other things you can use it for as well that I haven’t even thought of.

The making of this cute little hot chocolate mug.

I found a mug image on the Cricut Design program, which uses free images that folks are able to use without being charged (though I do pay for access, so while they say ‘free’ it is really included in my membership). Usually I make my own designs, but in this case I just altered a ready made design.

Then I build a little tent out of paper to measure how big I needed cuts to be and how far apart they should be to hold the object.

Useful after arriving as packaging use the slits in this paper mug to hold a sign, pencil, or straw.

Next I made a copy of the mug, flipped it, attached it, added a score line where they joined and then added the words. Then I cut one out to test it. My first test was with a short mug, and my second test was with a taller mug. After the second test I adjusted the bottom of the mug as it rocked slightly, so I made it have a flat edge. Then I added some words to it and made it be more hot chocolatey. I set my Cricut machine up to score, draw and then cut the design out. After removing it from the cutting mat I folded it along the score line and tucked something fun inside it to travel in Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers to chocoholics around the globe. I actually folded them backwards to cushion the item within.

These paper mugs were designed as packaging that can also be used after it served it’s purpose for shipping

I can’t wait until Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers subscribers find these in their mailboxes with the special treat they hold. They have already arrived to some subscribers.

To read more about Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers check out these blogs and pages:

Morning Mugs ~ Blended

Do you have a favourite bar of chocolate?

A chocolate bar with nibs and toffee on its surface, broken up and ready to use, broken into pieces, beside an empty mug.
A chocolate bar broken up and ready to use to make a hot chocolate, but what about all those nib and toffee pieces?

Have you ever wished it was available in a drinkable form? I often crave my favourite bars, like this toffee and nibs bar, and sometimes I want them in a drinkable form.

There are a lot of drinking chocolate and hot chocolate mixes on the market these days, but you don’t really need them. You can make a beautiful flavoured chocolate drink with any flavoured bar.

You can use infused bars, bars with bits in them, or simply a plain bar and add a bit of flavour.

What do you do if the bar of chocolate has things it in? Maybe it’s a maple pecan bar with large chunks of pecans. Not the first bar you might think of melting into a drinking chocolate.

These bars are great for tossing in the blender with some hot water, hot milk, or milk alternative. I tend to use hot water as then I don’t cover up any of the flavour of the bar with the flavour of the milk, but adding milk can be great to make it creamy.

A photo of a mug of drinking chocolate about to be enjoyed.
Mixed in the blender gives it a smooth, fuller, airy texture.

What you will need:

  • 30 grams of a chocolate bar, in this case I used one with large inclusions in it
  • 3/4 cup of boiling water
  • blender
  • towel
  • mug

First, break up the bar and place in the bottom of the blender.

Second, top with water.

Third, blend, being careful, and having a spot for steam to vent. I cover the opening with a towel – it will get dirty.

Fourth, pour into a mug and enjoy.

Adding pieces of the bar and some hot water to a blender (with a vent) can be wonderful. Not only will the blender make those large pieces of pecan (or other inclusion) smaller and drinkable, but the mixing will help to add extra froth to your drinking chocolate, which has always been a desired feature of drinking chocolate. The more froth the better and a blender is great for creating this.

Looking down into the blender to see the blade and mixed hot chocolate (brown liquid).
Looking down into the blender of the just mixed drinking chocolate.

Experimenting and blending hot chocolate can be amazing. Tips to help with blending are to chop or break up your bar into quarter size pieces to blend. Be sure to use a blender with an opening to allow the steam to escape, my preference is to cover the hole with a towel to be sure there is no splatter.  Be careful! Hot liquids and a blender can be dangerous. Safety first.

A mug of hot chocolate on the right and the inside of a dirty blender on the right.
After. A beautiful morning mug of drinking chocolate.

Once blended, pour your drinking chocolate into a mug, sit back and enjoy.

Check out these other blogs about Hot Chocolate:

Monthly Calendars ~ Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers

Each month Digital Bytes subscribers to Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers receive a calendar on the 2nd of the month as one of their digital treats.

Here is a sneak peek behind the scenes of one of next month’s goodies.

Obviously it is very much a chocolate-centric calendar. I research on the web about upcoming holidays or special occasions that touch a tiny bit on chocolate.

Where it started, a tiny calendar and a background photo.

The calendars are always different and for this one I found a springish photo with chocolate in it that I had taken recently to use as a background for the calendar. I transferred that to my computer and opened up Canva to create a calendar. I had fun playing and modifying the template I chose to work best for April’s calendar.

I played around with the layout a lot, trying the numbers portion of the calendar a few different places before settling on where it would go and then figuring out where to add the chocolate days of note. I tend to draw on anything that is related to or uses chocolate to celebrate. Now realistically I know this could be everyday, as some people, myself included, like to celebrate everything and anything with chocolate.

When choosing these days I particularly look for days that a chocolate business can use for promotion, special items, or even to add a new product to their line. I personally am not a fan of licorice day, but I know a lot of people who mix licorice and chocolate in various products. Of course, the major chocolate holiday in April is Easter, as all our social media feeds have been full of chicks, eggs, and hens the last while.

A photo of a computer screen with an April calendar on it with many dates circled.
In the process of making the calendar and circling all the ‘chocolate’ days in April for Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers.

My hope is that by including this calendar each month it helps Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers subscribers to plan for and celebrate some of the products they may already have in their stock, or to think outside the box and try something new and fun.

It’s a perfect resource for any chocolate business or chocoholic, and it is just one of the 4-5 digital treats that arrive to subscribers’ inboxes each month. The calendar comes each month in two sizes, one printable on an 8 1/2 x 11 page and the other set for a computer desktop screen, so you can choose which one works best for you.

Printed out April calendar for Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers on my desk as well as the same calendar show above as a desktop background.
The calendars arrive two ways so you can choose to use it as a desktop background or print it and have a paper copy.

Want to know more about Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers?  Subscriptions start at $5 CDN per month.

To read more about Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers check out these blogs and pages:

Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers ~ Everything you want to know is here

Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers ~ The 100 Day Project

Inspired by Chocolate ~ the creative chocoholic

Previous Blog 2022 ~ Happy Mail

Morning Mug ~ Celebration Edition

Are you ready for an over the top morning mug? This is it!

Celebration Hot Chocolate

Shhh, my birthday is this week and I may have started celebrating early with this drinking chocolate.

This is a special occasion drinking chocolate. Party because it needs some extras, but also because it is far more sugary and sweet than my usual go-to drinking chocolate.

What you will need:

  • One 60-70 gram chocolate bar
  • 3/4 cup cream, I used a 10% cows’ milk cream
  • Ice cream of your choice (I made a brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with dairy products)
  • A large mug
  • Sauce pan
  • Spoon/Spatula/Whisk/Blender/Handheld Frother
  • Whipping cream (make it yourself or buy already made)
  • Spice grater

First, use your small spice grater to grate some of the chocolate bar, about a teaspoon. Then chop the rest of the chocolate bar into smaller pieces and set them aside. I like them to be about the size of a dime at most.

Second, whip the whipping cream and put it aside in the fridge so it is ready when you need it. You are welcome to add sugar and vanilla if that is your preference, but I chose not to as this is already pretty sweet.

Third, warm up the cream on the stove top, stirring as it warms to keep the bottom from burning. Once it has come to just below a boil, take it off the stove and set aside. You are wanting a thick and creamy, European style drinking chocolate here. I used one dark milk 60% chocolate bar for this to get a consistent flavour.

Here you can add the chocolate into the pot now on the stove and whisk it if you like until it is all melted. You need to keep it over a low heat as you do this. I used the saucepan and whisk method and used a mini hand frother for the final mix up. You don’t have to do this step, I just find it helps to make it a bit more airy.

Alternatively, you can add the chocolate and the hot cream (carefully) to a blender and blend. This adds much more air to the drink and makes it fuller, frothier, and fluffier.

Once your drink has been mixed or blended, set aside briefly and grab your ice cream and whipping cream from the fridge and freezer.

Scoop one scoop of ice cream into your mug/bowl, or two small ones as I did here, pour chocolate drink over top, add whipping cream and top with chocolate shavings.

A truly celebratory chocolate drink to enjoy for special occasions.

I really enjoyed this as a weekend treat to start my birthday week, it was extra sweet and decadent, and felt like I was truly taking some time to celebrate with chocolate. I really debated making a chocolate ice cream to go with this, but ended up thinking that may have been too chocolatey for my tastes.

Ice cream, hot chocolate, whipping cream, and chocolate shavings, the perfect way to celebrate with hot chocolate.

If you are making it for kids, top it with coloured sprinkles instead of chocolate shavings and watch their faces light up.

I used a brown sugar cinnamon ice cream I made myself this weekend, but this is lovely with so many kinds of ice cream. Vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, mint, whatever you want and like to put with chocolate would work. You may want to watch out for ice cream with large pieces of things in it, like nuts or candy as those will make for a lumpy hot chocolate.

I am lucky enough to have an ice cream maker, so I made ice cream the day before and froze it overnight to be sure it was extra hard and frozen when making this fancy hot chocolate. Above are a few of the photos I took.

Check out these other blogs about Hot Chocolate:

Chocolate Basics ~ Where to find good chocolate

Sometimes there isn’t a nearby shop that sells just chocolate. Then what?

Here is a list of places you can look for fine and artisan crafted chocolate.

  • Chocolate festivals
  • Speciality food shops
  • Farmers or local markets
  • Cheese Shops
  • Kitchen shops
  • Cafes and coffee shops
  • Specialty pastry shops
  • Wine stores
  • Olive oil shops
  • Craft markets

Chocolate goes with so many things that specialty shops often stock great bars that you can add to your basket as you shop. Some of my favourite places to look for locally made chocolate when visiting is in high tourist areas. Public markets, tourist destinations, even airports sometimes. Be sure to check packaging to find out if it was actually made locally, as often things may have packaging reflecting the location, but not have been made nearby. Look at the ingredients and the expiry date on the package as well.

Usually, smaller independent shops are the ones to have artisan and hand-crafted chocolate from a local chocolate maker. You can also find a lot of pop up shops or collaborations between businesses and chocolatiers and chocolate makers.

My favourite way to find new chocolate is just to poke into shops I have never been in and see what they have, especially in high traffic and touristy areas.

If you are lucky enough to have a specialty chocolate shop nearby, try and support them as much as you can.

One of several walls of chocolate at Etat de choc in Montreal.

You can also choose to shop online as well, and I will get into that more in a future post.

Interested in learning more about chocolate? Check out the other blogs in this series.

How it’s made ~ Stickers & Magnets

I have tried all sorts of mediums of art over the years.  From pottery, lamp working (glass beads), to wood working, and glass blowing, but I had never really explored watercolour painting. 

I had used water colour paint in my time working in daycares, but cheap tempra paints, in very primary colours, and never with time to sit and really explore.

So, when a group of chocolate lovers came together over the pandemic to create art and it was decided watercolour would be the medium I was excited to try. This group of artistic chocolate peeps joined from around the globe and we painted together once a month for awhile. It was fun getting to know people as we painted together. The only common thing each month was that somehow what we were painting had to do with chocolate.

I painted the chocolate covered strawberry with this group at one meet-up and the cacao pods at another. 

While I do enjoy exploring watercolours and how they work and bleed and layer, it is not my preferred way of creating. I love to work in 3D forms, which suits my goldsmithing perfectly, so working on a flat surface and getting texture and shape was a learning curve.

It was fun, and the pieces that turned out lovely I made into stickers that I originally included in Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers Monthly Envelopes.

Orange cacao pod magnet, chocolate dipped strawberry sticker and orange cacao pod sticker on an orange background.
Chocolate lovers sticker pack.

These are three of my favourites, made from scanning watercolour paintings into my computer and editing them slightly. This really means just touching up the edges to be sure they are smooth. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of editing photos or art work. Touching up colour isn’t my thing, so these are pretty close to the originals, just a few edges or smudges on the paper were cleaned up digitally.

The larger cacao pod sticker is one I sell often.

Sometimes they are sold to folks who work with chocolate and they add it as an extra or just because to orders. They are great stuck to anything, notebooks, water bottles, or even your laptop. I have them professionally printed so that they are high quality, and durable. I have had one stuck to a travel mug for well over a year now and it barely shows any wear.

The cacao pod magnet is a smaller pod, and the painting style is freer and looser. It’s got a bit of fun to it. A little style of its own you might say. The strawberry has all the little seeds which were fun to learn to paint so they looked like they popped. The cacao pod sticker was created from layers and layers of paint to get all the little details right. These items were created surrounded by other chocolate lovers, with much love and fun going into them, as it goes into everything I make.

You can find these all in the shop right now.  They are also available wholesale at any time, if you are interested send me an email and we can talk.

Now if you could have any chocolate themed sticker what would it be?

Check out the other blogs in the How It’s Made Series:

How it’s made: Wooden Cacao Pod Earrings

Cacao Bean Necklace – silver, bronze, or patinaed bronze

Chocolate Basics ~ Shopping for Pastries

Let’s talk about shopping for pastries, cakes, baked goods and other items that have chocolate in them. If you are shopping in a shop, bakery, café, or chocolate shop it is very likely that the items you are purchasing are made on the premises, and that the ingredients used are nearby.

This makes it easy to ask questions as the staff know where to find the answers.

A photo I took last year in Paris of all the beautiful pastries.

The kitchen may have many different kinds of chocolate that the pastry chef and others use to create the beautiful cakes, muffins, eclairs, etc., that line their shelves. Different confections have different needs to make them their best, so many different forms of chocolate may be used. Chocolate blocks, chocolate discs, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, tempered chocolate, decorative chocolate, and so many other forms.

Ask about the chocolate.

Staff at small shops are usually happy to answer questions you have.

Who makes the chocolate you use?

This is one of my favourite questions to ask. I am happy with whatever answer they give, usually extra happy if it is made by a local chocolate maker. If it isn’t made by a local chocolate maker I am very likely to still purchase the treat, but I do like to ask if they know if there is a local chocolate maker nearby. 

Suzy Q brownie ice cream sandwich. The brownies are made with local Hummingbird chocolate, but the toppings are not. Often you may find a mix of various chocolate and that is a great start.

I find that this helps pastry chefs to think outside the box, that hmmm, maybe their customers want local chocolate. 

It is often likely that bakeries in particular use local or locally milled flours, so asking about other ingredients doesn’t surprise them at all. If I know a local chocolate maker I ask if they have thought about using that chocolate in some of their products.

The world is shifting to wanting to know about all the things we eat and consume. Chocolate is no different and by asking the questions it shows there is interest in those products. It is likely products made with local products like chocolate and flour are a little bit higher in price, but also easily traceable.

So go ahead and ask. 

Then make choices when you shop.

This brownie from Adam Bakes is amazing, and made with local chocolate from Hummingbird Chocolate.

I often buy pastries and treats from a local baker who uses locally made chocolate. I want to support folks who are making little changes to be more local.

I just had to share my favourite pastry from Paris, this Chocolate Mousse from Cedric Grolet.

Enjoyed this blog? Share it with a friend or check out the other blog posts in this series:

DIY ~ Chocolate Bar Wrapper Mini Envelopes

The problem with eating a lot of chocolate is having a lot of chocolate bar wrappers.

I hate throwing things away and love to reuse, repurpose, or if need be, recycle anything I can in our home.  So when I started the 100 Day Project almost two weeks ago I had the bright idea of using chocolate bar wrappers for holding the supplies I would be needing daily.

Reusing chocolate bar wrappers to make mini envelopes.

So, many chocolate bar wrappers come in the form of a heavier paper envelope. I know some friends who make them into pockets, others who use them to tuck surprises into, some who carry business cards in them, make them into postcards, or simply use them as an envelope for something else once the chocolate has disappeared.

You may have to eat the last piece so you can reuse the wrapper.

This inspired me to make a few different-sized envelopes to house all the pencil crayons, papers, and finished artwork as I work my way through the project daily. These fun envelopes are perfect, you can make them in so many sizes. These are quick and don’t make much mess.

Make them to hold anything: business cards, birthday cards, notes, paper clips, post it notes, gift cards, receipts, plus so many other possibilities…

Supplies you will need:

  • Chocolate bar wrappers, envelope style
  • Scissors
  • A pencil or marker to mark cut lines if you want
  • A ruler
  • Clear tape

First, decide on the chocolate bar wrappers you want to use and think about where you might cut them.

This chocolate bar had a straight line which made it a great place to cut.

Draw a line where you want the cut to go. I recommend pencil, I used a marker here so you could easily see it.

If your chocolate bar wrapper has an opening you can tape it closed. I chose to go around the corner as well to make sure it was fully closed along the bottom of the envelope. Using clear tape means you don’t even notice the tiny bit of it that wraps around to the front.

Think beyond the straight line. 

Is there something cool on your chocolate bar wrapper or package that you really like and want to draw attention to? With this chocolate bar wrapper I chose to cut around the clouds and sailboat instead of cutting a straight line. This is a bit of ‘fussy cutting’ and is sometimes easier with smaller or thinner scissors. I found bowing/pillowing the envelope made it a bit easier to get cleaner lines with my scissors. I drew a line with marker so you can see where I was planning to cut. Not right along the lines that were there, I opted to leave a bit of a boarder. I also trimmed the back of this envelope as it had a dip in it. I am thrilled with the end result, and it holds the pencil crayons I have been using most for this project.

The added bonus I hadn’t even counted on is that the widest envelope I made today will fit all three of the others, so I can set everything together on my desk without it taking up too much space. This makes it so much easier to get everything ready and work on #100CacaoPods each day.

Three envelopes inside each other holding everything I need for my project.

Want to see my 100 day project? You can see it there, scroll down and you will find the post. You can also read a bit about it in this blog.

Want to customize these? Paint or draw on them to give them your own unique flair!

What would you put in these? What chocolate bar wrapper would you choose to reuse?

If you enjoyed this you may also enjoy these DIY projects:

Chocolate Basics ~ Tasting Resources

Tasting chocolate is always a fun and enjoyable experience.

If you are new to chocolate tasting it can be a bit overwhelming. Finding flavours doesn’t always come naturally, so as you learn or continue to explore flavours in chocolate sometimes a tasting guide or map or flavour wheel is helpful. I wrote more about how to taste chocolate in this blog post.

These resources are great for helping you to find words for what you are tasting. Sometimes the words just pop into our heads as flavours we have tasted before and are in our memory. Other times they may elude us a bit, so a place to start is useful.

If you are buying bean to bar or craft chocolate from a specialty chocolate shop or chocolate maker ask them if they have a tasting wheel or guide. They are usually happy to add one to an order and are excited to know you want to learn more. Many companies have their own postcard-sized ones for sharing.

Using the IICCT flavour map printout.

Here are a few of my favourite free resources.

This flavour wheel from True Chox is a great place to begin and is free to download.

The International Institute for Chocolate and Cacao Tasting (IICCT – photo shown above) has this flavour map that you can download or use online (hover over a circle for other flavours in the same category).

This map from Barry Callebaut is interesting and sometimes helpful as it breaks things down into taste, aroma, and mouth feel.

There are a lot of chocolate flavour profile maps if you Google it.

There isn’t just one set of flavour notes for chocolate, so each is slightly different, and all helpful. I personally love a colourful visual flavour map, but there are also other forms available.

There is no need to go out of your way to find something if you don’t have it. These are all meant to help you find and describe tastes in the chocolate you are enjoying.

Some examples of chocolate tasting flavour maps, printed, in books, and a mini one from an Advent calendar.

Many chocolate books have flavour maps inside them, and there are other resources you can purchase like The Chocolate Tasting Kit or Taste With Colour Flavour Map. If you want to know more about any of these or other chocolate related resources you can find many in my Blog Series 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers.

There are resources made just for chocolate, but you can also use flavour maps or guides made for coffee or wine, they are slightly different but will help you to put words to what you are tasting.

Whatever you use when tasting use your mind, memories, and mouth first.

Watch for future blogs that dive in deeper to chocolate and ways to enjoy it.

Happy tasting friends!

Other blogs in this series include:

The 100 Day Project ~ Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers

Artists around the globe began #the100DayProject that runs from Wednesday February 22nd until June. I have done the 100 day project previously, finishing some projects and not finishing others. 

This year I decided to jump on board with something simple that won’t take a lot of time each day. Last year I complicated the project and that made doing it anywhere a lot harder, especially while I was travelling.

Super simple this year. I decided to have a cacao/chocolate focus, no surprise there really, and to make it small. Pencil crayons aren’t really a medium I feel comfortable with, but one I want to improve, so I decided this year to use them. They are also easy to pack if need be, and bring colour to whatever I create. I want to explore more shading and drawing with them. Honestly I prefer to create in 3D forms over drawing any day. I actually didn’t ever take art in junior high or high school but was a band geek, which I enjoyed, and can now play many instruments. However, art has a special place in my heart and over the years I have explored various mediums like clay, pottery, glass (blowing and lampwork), watercolours, crayons, chalk, and others. Jewellery obviously is my main form of expressing my art and I took several years of school to be trained as a goldsmith in my early 20’s.

All set up and enjoying a hot chocolate before I began the 100 day project on February 22, 2022

Back to the 100 Day Project, each piece will be approximately 2 ½ by 3 ½ inches, making them easy to do in less than 30 minutes a day.

I am giving myself some freedom to change the topic/theme at any given point if I get tired of drawing similar things each day. Not sure if this will happen but I think around 50 I will make the decision.

The other freedom I am giving myself is to create 7 pieces in a week, not always being one a day, as my migraines are sure to mean I am unable to create some days. So, 7 a week keeps me on track and lets me create on days I can think straight and rest the days when I am unable to focus.

Testing out some colours on a scrap paper to see what I want to use, with chocolate for inspiration and to enjoy as I draw.

Sharing art and having people support artists is a big part of the 100 day project, and I have chosen to share my art on the Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers Patreon page. Each Wednesday I will make a public post that anyone can read that includes one of the pieces from that week. I invite you to pop over there to see what I am up to. Subscribers to Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers will get to see all 7 pieces I make each week and see the project behind the scenes and in the works as the 100 days pass.

I am excited to work on this project and hope some of the tiny daily pieces excite you as much as they excite me. I appreciate all likes and comments to keep me motivated to keep going.

Waiting until day 8 of the project to share what I have chosen as a starting place. Can you guess from the colours what it might be?

Shh, it’s still a secret what I am drawing each day, but I will share that this Wednesday when week one in done. Watch the Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers Patreon page for more about this project, and watch here for a blog each month that will show you the behind the scenes making of something for the following month’s Happy Mail for Chocolate Lovers.

***It’s all about cacao pods. Maybe it will be 100 cacao pods, or maybe 50. I am having such fun creating these little pieces of art each day.***

Have you ever taken on a lengthy project? Or a big art project? Creative or otherwise I would love to hear about it. If you are joining in on the 100 day project I’d love to hear what you are doing. Leave a comment below, or maybe you want to guess at what I may be drawing.

Curious about my journey to get here? Check out My Chocolate Story.