It all began with an unforgettable bar of fine chocolate in 2016. Since then, Petite Patrie Chocolate founders, Gabrielle Breault and Peter Austin-Smith, have been on a quest to discover and master the art of making chocolate using only the finest cacao beans. Gabrielle attended classes at the Chocolate Academy in Montreal, and trained with world acclaimed Master Chocolatier Mark Tilling at Squires Culinary School in Farnham, England. Both attended Ecole Chocolat’s Master Chocolate Program in Costa Rica, widely recognized among the world's best chocolate schools. They continued their education at the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting in London, England where they became certified Chocolate Tasters.
Connecting with her Acadian heritage and homeland (or “patrie”), Gabrielle’s vision was to create extraordinary chocolate that showcases the origin and terroir of the fine cacao, with a unique Nova Scotia flair.
Ready to grow, the team expanded in 2021 to welcome production and hospitality team members to our recently opened chocolate factory and café in downtown Kentville. Here, we showcase espresso and chocolate-based beverages, house made bonbons, and of course our signature chocolate.
We believe in building our business sustainably and responsibly through environmentally conscious decision making in all stages of our procurement and processes. Our cacao is Pono Certified which means it is free from slave and child labour. Our cacao importer Juan Gonzalez, who as a child worked in cacao farms in Mexico. Now Canadian, he understands first hand the challenges cacao farmers face and has the same commitments as we do in ensuring our cacao is ethically grown, free from child labour, organically certified or demonstrating organic practices. Through Mr. Gonzalez, we are able to purchase our cacao at fair trade prices, while being mindful of our environmental impacts.
We are proud to be making chocolate in Nova Scotia, and grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate our environmental and ethical values through our business practices. Since our inception, we have proudly donated 1% of our sales annually to the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.
Over 90% percent of the world's cacao is used to manufacture bulk chocolate for commercial production, resulting in a chocolate that is rather neutral, and subdued. The remaining 10% of cacao production qualifies as fine cacao. This precious cacao is very flavourful, absolutely delicious and is uniquely influenced by its terroir, the fermentation process, and numerous other factors that develop the flavour in each cacao bean.
We are bean-to-bar chocolate makers, meaning that every step of the chocolate making process is carefully performed by us. We turn dried, fermented raw cacao into flavourful, fine chocolate. As artisans, we pay tribute to the cacao growers, their plantations, and celebrate their unique terroirs through our Single Origin chocolate series.