The Newfoundland Chocolate Company Experience
When enjoying a stroll in downtown St. John’s, it’s hard not to notice a certain building on Duckworth Street. This whimsical, “chocolate covered” storefront is home to the Newfoundland Chocolate Company, a favourite of many visitors to our fare province. Upon entering you’ll be greeted by a smiling chocolatier who is eager to share their story and talk about everyone’s favourite treat. You won’t find a group of chocolatiers more passionate about great chocolate. And their passion shows.
Each chocolate piece is a creation made by hand, carefully and lovingly with locally sourced ingredients and absolutely no preservatives or additives. With a commitment to making exceptional, decadent, chocolate, the company was awarded the Eat Atlantic Food Product of the Year Award in 2012.
With a delicious product and a bustling shop, Newfoundland Chocolate Company is not prepared to accept the status quo. They designed new product lines and contests for special occasions, amped up their social media, and started focusing on new customer experiences. Their hard work and dedication paid off and they won the Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador 2013 Innovator of the Year Award in February.
Recently I was given the opportunity to take part in a new Newfoundland Chocolate Company experience – a Chocolate Walking Tour of Cape Spear. I explored the most easterly point in North America on a beautiful, warm summer evening (Whales could be seen jumping in the Atlantic Ocean), all while tasting and learning about different types of chocolate. It was definitely a chocolate tasting backdrop like no other.
Upon my arrival, I received a map of Cape Spear to indicate where the chocolate tasting stations could be found. I started on my trek toward the first station just outside the WWII fortification where traditional Mayan Hot Chocolate was being served. The drink was prepared by heating cocoa beans and adding chilli powder. It had a more earthy taste then the typical hot chocolate I was used to drinking. I learned that it wasn’t until 1830 that a chocolate maker discovered a way to create solid chocolate, so traditionally, chocolate was consumed as a drink by Aztec Royals. The believed chocolate to be the “Food of the Gods” and used it as currency.
I made my way to the next station slowly, making sure I could take the time to look at the beautiful scenery. At the next stop, we tasted different types of single origin dark chocolate. Newfoundland Chocolate Company owner, Brent Smith told onlookers a detailed history of the chocolate and how to properly taste each piece. Each sample of chocolate was made with a single kind of cocoa bean from different countries. To try and taste the differences in each, we were to snap the chocolate piece in half, smell the chocolate, and then taste. We were also able to taste the blended origin dark chocolate, which is when different types of cocoa beans are used to make one kind of chocolate. It was all delicious, but my favourite chocolate was from Madagascar (There was a hint of banana flavour!). Yum.
The third station was near the Cape Spear lighthouse and the view was unreal. Milk Chocolate is my absolute favourite, so I was very excited to taste the samples. It was interesting to learn that milk chocolate wasn’t invented until 30 years after people began eating solid chocolate I tasted chocolate from Ghana and Belguim and I had seconds of each.
We finished the tour with the fourth and final station where we got to sample Newfoundland Chocolate Company’s bakeapple and partridgeberry gourmet chocolates. Each chocolate uses locally inspired with their ingredients, decoration and packaging, which are all made right here. A unique product for a unique place. Upon eating one of the samples, a woman taking the tour with us turned to her husband and said “Can we go to the store after?” My thoughts, exactly.
For more information, visit www.newfoundlandchocolatecompany.com