Beyond the mass-produced Hershey's, Lindts and Cadburys of the world you can find passionate chocolatiers close to home who are creating innovative and exquisite treats. Supporting local has been a buzz term popularized over the past couple years by grocery chains, our city mayor Naheed Nenshi, but most importantly, Calgary consumers.
People love to buy local because they can see that their dollar is a vote in favour of supporting their fellow neighbours and communities. There's magic in unwrapping a piece of chocolate that has an origin story, a face to the name, and was handcrafted by someone passionately working to drive our economy forward through small business. It's more than commerce, it's connection. That's why we wanted to highlight 6 local chocolatiers that you may or may not have heard of or purchased from, but definitely need to be on your "it" list the next time you're looking for a delicious gift or to satisfy a craving.
Who they are: Geordan Spicer is the fierce female behind the biz. She developed a passion for chocolate at a young age and her first job was working in a chocolate shop. She also has past work experience at the rustic-chic Model Milk. Originally launching as Moth chocolate, she has rebranded to Kinpod.
How long they've been around: 4.5 years
What they're known for: Kinpod is dedicated to making exceptional chocolate from bean to bar. Using ethically sourced beans they care about where they come from and who's producing them. Making high quality small batch chocolate is their M.O. and it shows. They have five Gold and Bronze Medals from the International Chocolate Awards under their belt. Kinpod offers chocolate bars, drinking chocolate and chocolate chippies.
Quick Wins: Organic, Gluten Free, Vegan options, Chocolate Skulls
Buy Online: https://www.kinpod.ca/shop.html
Find In-Store: https://www.kinpod.ca/stockists.html
Who they are: Anne Sellmer is the talented mother and wife behind Cochu. (Her son's names actually make up the letters of Cochu!) Cochu is dedicated to "creating beautiful and amazing things to eat". Anne has spent countless hours training, researching, testing and perfecting her artisanal chocolates and it shows. She has been awarded 57 national and international awards for her skill and artistry.
How long they've been around: 3 years
What they're known for: Creating international award-winning bonbons using local and seasonal ingredients. They have a wide selection of bon bons, bars and bites.
Quick Wins: Local Ingredients, Gluten-Friendly Options, Variety
Buy Online: Currently unavailable.
Find In-Store: https://cochu.ca/pages/where-to-buy
Who they are: Experienced Pastry Chef Nicole Buckton is behind Those Chocolates. She previously worked at a couple of Calgary's favourite hot spots including Hotel Arts and Heritage Park. Passionate about creating delicious and delightfully fun chocolate, she gets inspired by dessert menus, combining interesting flavours and sometimes even takes suggestions!
How long they've been around: 1.5 years
What they're known for: Artisan style chocolates that taste as good as they look!
Quick Wins: Made fresh to order with high quality and some local ingredients like Fratello Coffee
Buy Online: https://thosechocolates.ca/shop
Find In-Store: Avenida Market
4. Light Cellar
Who they are: Malcom Saunders is the owner, creative visionary and instructor at Light Cellar bringing almost 20 years of experience working in the field of food and nutrition. Besides a whole host of other health food items, they offer small-batch, bean to bar handcrafted chocolate with a superfood twist.
How long they've been around: 10 years
What they're known for: "Small-batch, bean to bar, craft chocolate makers using Ecuadorian Heirloom Arriba Nacional Cacao stone-ground in-house to produce superior and delicious Superfood chocolate to which they add medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps and Lions Mane." Focusing on the incredible health benefits of chocolate, Light Cellar also teaches chocolate making classes where you can learn about ingredients and what superfoods you can add to your own blend. Some additives they recommend include: Medicinal mushrooms for overall optimal health, decreased stress and an immune boost, Maca for hormonal balance and energy, Mucuna for happiness or Astragalus for an immune boost and energy.
Quick Wins: Small-Batch Bean to Bar Superfood Chocolate, Chocolate Making Classes & Kits
Find In-Store: Light Cellar
Who they are: Mehrzad Afshari is the creative Founder behind Hermana Chocolates. She originally has a degree in computer science but after losing her job in IT she took a chocolate workshop and as she describes, "was love at first bite!". She turned her new-found passion into Hermana Chocolates and believes small business is what brings identity and character to a city.
How long they've been around:
What they're known for: Their mission is to create beautiful and delicious chocolate treats in the hope of bringing a smile to your face. They focus on natural, fresh and locally produced ingredients mixing creativity with knowledge to make their chocolate treats both beautiful and delicious.
Quick Wins: Artisan, hand-crafted chocolate confections with real ingredients & Saffron Flavour Chocolate Bon Bons
Buy Online: https://hermanachocolate.ca/shop
Find In-Store: https://hermanachocolate.ca/locations
6. Dwarf Stars
Who they are: Gerrit Janssen and Kathryn Kozody make up the Dwarf Stars partnership. Gerrit is a red seal chef with over 13 years experience in the culinary industry. You may have indulged in his gastro-creations if you ever dined at Hotel Arts' Raw Bar or Foreign Concept. Originally hailing from Germany, this European's innovative experiments coupled with a family peanut allergy (and my lactose intolerance - you're welcome) led to the creation of our special Dwarf Star recipes. The other half of the biz is the voice behind our online and digital content (Kathryn). I have a background in business and marketing and am also a highly experienced chocolate eater.
We have been friends for over 12 years and found a way to align our deep passion for entrepreneurship through Dwarf Stars.
How long they've been around: 2 years
What they're known for: We believe in creating a world where everyone can share chocolate. That's why we offer chocolate that is vegan, free from the top 10 priority food allergens with a sugar free chocolate (keto chocolate) line. Our delicious and nutritious pumpkin seed butter cups are a healthier treat alternative and spin on a peanut butter cup leaving you feeling energized and satiated.
Quick Wins: Vegan, Free from the top 10 Food allergens (peanut & tree nut free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free), Sugar Free Keto Chocolate Options, 5 regular flavours with a rotating seasonal
Buy Online: https://dwarfstars.ca/
Find In-Store: https://dwarfstars.ca/pages/store-locator
Do you have any local favourites that we missed? Comment with your favourite local chocolatier or chocolate shop below.