I’ll be the first to admit that I’m obsessed with chocolate. Imagine my excitement when I got to play “Willy Wonka” for an afternoon at ChocXO Bean to Bar Chocolatier in Richmond. They are Metro Vancouver’s newest chocolatier and one of only a handful artisanal chocolatiers who make chocolate from bean to bar.
At their chocolate lab cafe, you can learn and witness how chocolate is made during a bean-to-bar tour. Lots of power is used to ground cacao nibs into liquid-form but, oh…the smell of roasting cacao beans. I wish I could bottle it.
If you get to ChocXO’s café, you must try their mocha, complete with house made ganache. I recommend getting a 50/50 mix of milk and dark chocolate (pure milk chocolate tends to be too sweet and dark can be too heavy and filling). While you sip, enjoy the truffle-making progress happening in the adjacent chocolate lab.
This chocolate-centric company’s dedication to sending every customer home choc-full is clear after I had a shot (yes, a shot!) of the liquid form straight from a tap.
As for sourcing, ChocXO’s high-quality beans are from dedicated Central and South American farmers. The beans are then shipped to Richmond or Irvine, California, where their larger-scale chocolate production takes place. The chocolate lab in Richmond uses up to 25 kilograms of beans day – that’s just enough to stay stocked with fresh truffles.
Speaking of truffles…oh, the beautiful truffles! My favourites were the Apple Jack and the Mojito (which had the most natural mint flavours I’ve ever tasted). To me, there exist no two flavours that come together as perfectly as mint and chocolate. As it turns out, ChocXO uses mint grown in their own backyard.
ChocXO is a collaboration between two longstanding Canadian colleagues, choc experts and friends Wade Pugh and Richard Foley. On Saturday, December 6th, you can go on your own chocolate adventure during ChocXO’s grand opening. Look forward to free guided bean-to-bar chocolate tours and other chocolate goodies. Full details here.