Chatting Chocolate – Local Chocolatiers in Hamilton share their chocolate journey

Beloved in most societies and comm-unities, chocolate has been enjoyed since the time of Mesoamerica in 1900 BC. Over the years, cacao (aka Chocolate) has been prepared in a variety of ways, percentages and qualities, but the feeling it brings to us is the same and chocolate products continue to have a huge following around the world, including here in Hamilton.

Owner and Master Chocolatier of Beanermunkey Chocolates in Dundas, Lori Eisenberger, started the business eleven years ago in the Downtown Hamilton Farmer’s Market. Demands for her chocolates were so high that she opened her shop in Dundas six years ago. Finding that her Dundas location didn’t have enough space for the workshops she wanted to do (Kids in the Kitchen, Confections 101, Wine and Chocolate Pairing, Designer Chocolate Shoe, and more) she found herself on the search for another historic, walkable downtown location. She opened her second location in Waterdown two years ago.

Beanermunkey produces all of their chocolates and confections completely by hand, with no assistance from machines, and by Certified Chocolatiers who have undergone years of chocolate training. This means they can create a large variety of designs that can’t be done with automation, and it gives the chocolate a distinct look and amazing taste. Beanermunkey has a passion for using local ingredients wherever possible, including culinary lavender from Weir’s Lane Lavender and Apiary, wine from Malivoire Wine Company and organic lemons from Picone Fine Food in Dundas. Though customers drive  from far and wide for Beanermunkey’s Bear Claws, Caramel Dipsticks, PB Cups and Cocoa Caliente (chili infused chocolates), their most popular item is their Fork-dipped Artisan Chocolates. These aren’t easy to make though! Creating their fork-dipped artisan chocolates is a three-day process; day one to make the centre, day two to temper the chocolate and dip them, and day three to decorate, cup and box them.

Ka’Kau Chocolate Company has been on Locke Street for over eight years. It may have had a different name, but the delicious chocolate has stayed the same. Manager Tina Stanley believes that starting their products out with high quality chocolate makes all the difference, and this has helped them maintain their popularity through the years. Their unique flavour combinations such as lime and chili also keep people coming back. Their flavour creation process involves a lot of trial and error – listening to what customers want, thinking about the savoury side of things and what flavours go together, and a lot of instinct. When
they bring in a new ingredient, it’s all about finding balance within the chocolate – and of course, utilizing really, really good chocolate. Their signature item is their Meltaway bars.

Sheryl Cronsberry opened up her chocolate shop on James Street North, Chocolat on James, in July of 2015. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of positivity and support from the James Street North Community, and Hamilton as a whole. And who can blame them? It’s impossible not to love Sheryl’s handcrafted chocolates made from high-end couverture chocolate from Normandy, France. The deliciousness of the chocolate they use is paralleled only by what they do with it: sweets that are created with a mixture of trial and error, and lots of experience. The team is in a constant state of trying new things with flavour combinations and decorations.

When asked about their top products, Sheryl says it’s hard to choose just one but their top shelf in their display case always goes over well – which includes their Peanut Butter Cups, Chocolate Tortoises and Fudge Meltaways. Her unique chocolates with creative ganache and flair fit right into the unique collaborative community that we have in Hamilton. There’s no place Sheryl would rather be.

Local Links
Beanermunkey Chocolates, Dundas & Waterdown

Ka’Kau Chocolate Company, Hamilton

Chocolat on James, Hamilton

Written by Heather Peter

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