"Chocolate runs in my veins!"
From Cologne, Germany
Cacao & Me
Meet Chocolatier Mara Mennicken
I am a chocolate lover and health enthusiast. I believe in nurturing my body with the best I can find because I want to turn 100 healthy years old. I am so captivated by the advancements of the world that I can't wait to see what all of us will create in the next 70+ years. I hope that with a fairly-traded, organic, and plant-based product I can contribute to a sustainable future that is based on high quality and coated in sweetness :)
Raised into an ethical life way, I was always concerned with the story behind a product. I wanted to know how it was produced, what was in it, and whether my consumption would have a positive or negative effect in long term - on the environment, on other people, and on myself. I found that quality matters more than quantity and that 'Organic' does not imply 'Ethical' at all.
I went vegan in 2012 after my Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand. During this time, I also discovered my deep indulgence for dark chocolate. The more I was becoming an intuitive eater, the more I noticed that my body wanted chocolate as much as my mind and mouth did. Score!
Then I came to Canada as a student, and along with that amazing transition, an opportunity that I am now fully committed to: The Good Chocolatier. My final project at University was around Social Enterprising and how to turn a small business into a social enterprise to change some of the existing power balances in our current system. Long study short, it works! Ask me about how if you are curious to learn more.
Our chocolate production starts with the harvesting of the golden-orange cacao pods from the magical tree Theobroma cacao. Our Arriba Nacional Criollo cacao is from the upriver areas of the Guayas River in the lowland provinces of Ecuador. The bean has a very fine flavour profile and distinct floral aroma. Climate, soil composition, the amount of sun and shade, time of harvesting and fermentation are all factors that contribute to its exquisite flavour notes. The fruits grow best when they are protected from direct sunlight in between other tropical trees like coconut and plantains. Small farms pay attention to the tree's needs as part of a larger ecosystem.
At The Good Chocolatier, we started with cacao form Bali, Indonesia.
Founder Pierre Gruget traveled with his wife and three boys to a family-run cacao plantation. Fortunately, he got to learn from the owners directly about the harvesting, winnowing, fermenting and roasting process of the bean. He recognized that the practices they were using were authentic and responsible. Since we work exclusively with small-scale fair trade farms, we occasionally change our supplier due to bad weather conditions and other natural barriers. Our second and now main supplier grows their cacao in Ecuador. The taste of the bean is similar to our Bali products and the ethics of the farm align with our values. We are constantly building new relationships with the growers in Ecuador.
Even though cacao does not grow close to home, we source most of our other ingredients from British Columbia, Canada. Using what is native to Canada differentiates our chocolate from other manufacturers. Our blueberries come from Hakkak's Organic Farm in Richmond, the Ice Wine is from the Okanagan, we use Wild Honey Ale from a brewery in Nelson, and our maple-syrup sweetened bars create the extra Canadian experience. We are proud to introduce the world to BC's specialities in the form of chocolate.
In Partnership with PALS Autism Society
The PALS Social Enterprise started two years ago and operates out of the PALS Adult Program in Vancouver, BC. It was started in order to overcome a number of the workplace barriers experienced by the students who possess a variety of skills, but for various reasons, cannot go out to a conventional job placement.
In June 2018, PALS began packaging The GOOD Chocolatier’s chocolate bars on a weekly basis. This was a monumental step not only for PALS enterprise, but for the students as well as some of them had never been in a paid position before. Over the last 24 months, our partnership with PALS Autsim Society has flourished with now six students on payroll. Not only has our partnership allowed for six students to receive paid employment for their work for the first time, it has also provided the opportunity for these students to learn a variety of new skills previously not in their repertoire.
With the growth of The GOOD Chocolatier, employment for PALS continues to expand.