This Toronto man is behind the trendiest chocolate company in town
There is a new chocolate maker in the city and he is not making any ordinary chocolate.
Toronto's Chachalate is founded by Ryan Lee who is passionate about real chocolate and its production. The chocolate is made from scratch in Toronto and uses only two ingredients: cocoa beans and organic cane sugar.
The name Chachalate, is pronounced cha-cha-lit, like pronouncing chocolate - but with a chacha!
The brand prides itself on its naturally fruity taste and being beyond fair trade.
Chocolate from the grocery store often uses low-quality cocoa and is roasted heavily with tons of other ingredients.
"Their goal is consistency over celebrating the uniqueness of the flavours. So basically what we're doing differently is really keeping it simple," said Ryan Lee, owner and chocolate maker at Chachalate.
The cocoa beans at Chachalate are lightly roasted and kept single-origin so that the flavour notes are always prominent.
Fun fact: most of the cocoa flavour development happens during the fermentation process and it has over 600 flavour compounds, (more than coffee and wine)!
The two core factors Lee focuses on are ethics and flavours while being as transparent as possible.
"Cocoa beans are actually the seeds of a fruit and have these really amazing flavours, and those are the flavours I am trying to bring out," said Lee.
Lee started his business last year in late August.
"I started making chocolate at home for fun and then COVID happened and I had a lot more free time. That was the moment when I decided to take a leap and see what kind of impact I could make in the chocolate world."
He then ordered eleven hundred pounds of cocoa beans to Toronto and got busy.
"When we say we make chocolate, we really mean it. We get the cocoa beans, crack them open, grind it as we and temperate it and package it ourselves."
This chocolate is very bold and distinct, all at once.
"Our supply chain is very short so we know exactly who is involved and what we are getting."
"We're paying three to five times the commodity price for cacao. By doing this, the farmers can focus on quality because now they don't need to worry about money where their next paycheck is coming from. They can focus on the quality versus just quantity," explains Lee.
The beans are ethically sourced from quality-driven farmers in Tanzania, Madagascar and India.
Chocolate bar flavours range from hojicha-chachalate ($14) which has a flavour similar to matcha, olive oil & fleur de sel ($14), and whisky me away ($15) among many others.
When blogTO asked Lee which bar is his favourite, he answered "It is like choosing between your kids, although our signature bar is Tanzania ($10.75) - is fruity and has lots of red fruit tasting notes, a really eye-opening bar and a good step into the chocolate world."
Chachalate has done collaborations with other local businesses including gelato with George Restaurant, a limited ice cream collab with Good Behaviour, a coffee crunch bar with This Coffee Co., and Anotherland Coffee and many more are on the way.
Chocolate can be purchased on the Chachalate website and from various farmers' markets this season including the Underpass Park Farmers Market every other Thursday.
Lee works out of commercial space in North York and converted it into a mini chocolate factory. In the future, he would like to have a big factory space and offer tours and educational classes.
Willy Wonka would likely approve.
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