iN HOLIDAY: New Vernon business making bean-to-bar chocolate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN HOLIDAY: New Vernon business making bean-to-bar chocolate

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A new artisanal chocolate business has opened in Vernon in time for the holiday season. 

The chocolatiers at Turtle Mountain Chocolate make chocolate from scratch, from roasting the beans to wrapping the bars.

“It is part of a movement called bean-to-bar,” said co-owner Tony Abraham. “We roast the beans, crack, winnow, grind, age, temper, mould and hand package every chocolate bar.”

Working out of home in a new, professional kitchen, Abraham and his wife, Ruth, opened the business to the public on Nov. 25, showcasing their handmade product at two markets, and they have a packed schedule bringing their tasty chocolate to more markets this month.

At the heart of the business are quality products and ethically sourced ingredients.

“We source beans that have been selected for flavour where the farmer spends a lot of time growing them using sustainable practices, unlike the high yield beans chocolate manufacturers source,” Abraham said. “Because of the money they make, it helps farmers use the land sustainably instead of having to expand and destroy the environment."

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The pair are certified chocolatiers and also educated themselves, taking an international chocolate tasting course and a course on how to roast cacao beans. They volunteered on a cacao farm in Grenada.

Since their first introduction to bean-to-bar chocolate, they have become part of the bean-to-bar movement and learned more about making chocolate and the cacao industry.

Abraham said flavours differ depending on the region the cacao beans grow.

Tony Abraham, co-owner of Turtle Mountain Chocolate, at the Winter Market at Predator Ridge in Vernon.
Tony Abraham, co-owner of Turtle Mountain Chocolate, at the Winter Market at Predator Ridge in Vernon.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Tony Abraham

“We get really good beans and roast them to a certain tasting profile to bring out the flavours,” he said. “It is like wine, depending on where the bean is grown it’s going to give a different flavour. There are two harvests in a year and the same bean may be different when harvested at a different time. No one should expect the bar will taste exactly like it did last year.”

In the future the chocolatiers plan to do chocolate tastings. Further down the road they hope to connect with wineries in the Okanagan to do chocolate and wine pairing tastings.

Abraham and Ruth moved to a house on Turtle Mountain in Vernon in October. By November they had all the machines set up in their house to make chocolate directly from cacao beans.

They have been hustling to get their chocolate made in time for the holiday season since.

They also make treats with the chocolate that are perfect for stocking stuffers, like hot chocolate mixes, chocolate hazelnut spread with cacao butter and roasted cacao nibs to be sprinkled on yogurt or put into smoothies.

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Click here for more information and where you can find Turtle Mountain Chocolate.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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