This article was originally posted on Chatelaine.com
There are certain countries known for having the best chocolate: Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, France. Now Canada is edging its way onto that list. Two homegrown chocolatiers recently won international awards for their top-shelf bars: Almonte, Ontario’s Hummingbird Chocolate Maker nabbed gold at London’s Academy of Chocolate awards, while National Geographic voted the Toronto-based Soma one of the world’s top 10 shops. Here are the winners, plus three more shops making absurdly artisanal treats.
Hummingbird Chocolate Maker
The tiny Almonte operation took home six awards at the Academy of Chocolate Awards for their bean-to-bar creations. Top prize went to their Hispaniola bar, an 70 percent cocao bar. Also extra-special is their Honey Lavender bar, made with Ottawa Valley honey and lavender from Prince Edward County.
Recently named one of the ten best chocolate shops in the world by National Geographic, the multi-award winning chocolatier currently has two Toronto shops. Their products range from traditional truffles and bars to this chocolate birch branch filled with hazelnut butter crunch and blackcurrant jelly.
Chocolates X Brandon Olsen
Toronto chef Brandon Olsen just opened a new boutique, focusing on handmade bonbons with unique flavour combos, like popcorn-peach, pineapple–Thai basil and raspberry-rose-fennel.
Palette de Bine
Another bean-to-bar producer using cocoa from all over the world, this Mont Tremblant chocolatier turns out micro batches by hand. Their 70 percent dark chocolate bar recently won gold at the International Chocolate Awards.
Sirene Artisan Chocolate
This Victoria, B.C. label uses cocoa direct from farmers in Africa and Central America. Their Dark Milk bars, which are not actually milk chocolate (generally only made with up to 25% cocoa), but serious dark chocolate with milk added for a creamier texture, recently took home awards at both the International Chocolate Awards and the Academy of Chocolate Awards.