Meet the Maker: ChocoSol Traders
Toronto's best stone-ground dark chocolate.
The maker of one of Toronto’s best tasting chocolate, ChocoSol Traders, isn’t interested in being a candy company. Located at 1131 St. Clair Ave West, ChocoSol makes bean to bar chocolate from stone ground cacao. But they don’t view it as candy, to them “Cacao is the Food of the Gods”, a statement that is stamped prominently on each and every package. Their chocolate is pure and minimally processed, making it seem more like an act of wellness rather than an guilty indulgence.
ChocoSol’s story starts in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2001. The founder of ChocoSol, Michael Sacco, was in the mountainous region as part of a solar energy project. By luck, the oven they were building and testing was used to roast some local cacao beans. Enchanted by the rich flavour of the Oaxacan cacao, Micheal was intrigued and started to develop relationships with the cacao growers and eventually built out a supply chain. By 2006, ChocoSol was working with farmers in Oaxaca to bring sustainably grown cacao to Toronto to make a chocolate bar that celebrates the Meso-American Indeginous cultures.
Beyond Oaxaca, ChocolSol has expanded its supply chain to include sustainable cacao producers in other regions in Central America, including Ecuador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. 100% of ChocoSol’s cacao is grown by small scale farmers using sustainable growing practices. The cacao bean is native to Mexico and Central America where it’s a critical element of the natural ecosystem. ChocoSol has started a grassroots movement that is focused on restoring the native ecosystem through a practice of forest garden agriculture. Not only does this growing system produce a better tasting cacao bean, but it also promotes biodiversity and provides habitat for native animal species such as birds and even jaguars, which have become threatened due to decreasing habit loss due to large scale farming.
Chocosol isn’t like a typical bar of chocolate, nor is it even trying to be. The flavours of the cacao bean are celebrated, instead of masked with sugars. Ranging from caramel nutty, to deeply chocolate-ly and bordering bitter, ChocoSol makes a bar for every chocolate lover. We love how clean the ingredients are, free from any synthetics, preservatives or artificial flavours. Most chocolate makers (even the high end ones) will typically use questionable ingredients such as soy lectin and palm kernel oil. But ChocoSol’s mission is to create a sustainably grown cacao product that celebrates the rich history and incredible resilience of the Indigenous communities in Southern Mexico and Central America. Their chocolate is made from real whole food ingredients that are minimally processed resulting in some intensely flavourful chocolate that varies with the seasonality of the cacao beans.
This Valentine’s Day, make the choice to support a local company that is creating delicious, socially-just, ecological, and dignified chocolates. Stop by one of our stores, or place an order online. We’ve got sales on ChocoSol until Feb. 20th, 2020.
To see for yourself where the magic happens, sign up for one of ChocoSol’s tour & taste on a Friday night.
Contributed by Ellen Osborne, basicallyhealthy.com