FAQ

Making chocolate from bean-to-bar, what does it mean?


It means that every step of making the chocolate itself is done by the chocolate maker.

It starts with receiving dried, fermented cacao beans from select cacao growers from around the world! Then the cacao beans are roasted, then cracked to extract the precious cacao nibs. The nibs are then stone ground continuously for up to 3 days, adding some sugar, milk, or spices depending on the chocolate maker secret recipes.

The resulting chocolate is very flavourful. Try our single origin chocolate and discover the unique "terroir” from various cacao plantation!




Where does the cacao beans come from?


It comes from the Theobroma (which means ‘Food for the Gods’) is a tree native to the deep tropical regions of Central and South America. The cacao trees produce pods from which the cacao beans are extracted and turned into chocolate.
The theobroma cacao grows well 20 degrees North and South of the equator, preferably in the shade where the climate is hot and humid! You can now find cacao all over this region on the globe, try our Dak Lak Vietnam and Karkar Island Papua New Guinea chocolate and discover the flavours of these amazing regions!

See more details about each one of our cacao origins




Tell me more about cacao farming!


Most cacao farmers own just a few acres of land each. They tend to their theobroma trees by hand. very carefully monitoring for disease (which they are quite vulnurable), pests and hoping for good polination.

Harvesting is also done by hand, selecting the pods when they are just perfectly rippen. The cacao pods are cracked open and the interior seeds, the cacao beans are collected and sent to a central cacao processing plant. At the plant, the wet cacao beans are poured into large wooden fermentation boxes, stirred frequently, while monitoring the temperature of the mass. The process takes 3 to 7 days. This is where the magic happens and the chocolate flavours develops!




What's fine chocolate as opposed to well, just chocolate?


Over 90% percent of the world's cocoa is for bulk production, it is the chocolate being used commercially. The chocolate flavour produced is rather neutral, a plain tasting chocolate if you like. The remaining 10% of the cacao production that is qualified as fine cacao. This precious cacao is very flavourful, absolutlely delicious and unique to its genetics, the place where it is grown, the fermentation process variation, many factors influence the flavour locked into each cacao bean! This is very much as terroir is for fine wine. Using these fine cacao beans, we are making a very flavourful chocolate that is very satisfying when melted slowly in your mouth as the chocolate melts, the flavour develops deliciously.

Check out our tasting guide and you have yourself a chocolate tasting experience!




Where can you find us?


Petite Patrie is a home-based business near Medford Beach. We have a booth at Wolfville Farmers market where you can meet us and purchase our chocolate. Our chocolate is also available through Wolfville Farmers Market 2 Go where you can have your order delivered at a hub near you (Bedford - Halifax - Dartmouth - Berwick - Tantallon - Wolfville - Canning and Windsor.) Don't forget to check out Our Stockists located throughout Nova Scotia, also in New Brunswick and Ontario.

We enjoy doing chocolate tasting and pairing event at local wineries and venues in Nova Scotia.




Chocolatiers or Chocolate Makers? What's the difference?


Did you know chocolatiers do not make their own chocolate? Only a handful of Canadians make chocolate bean to bar. Petite Patrie actually makes chocolate, it takes over a week to make a small batch of chocolate from the cacao beans. How can you tell the difference? Ask those who sell chocolate confections and bars where they get their cacao beans from, as 98% of all chocolate you consumed is made by large corporations such as Barry Callebaut. Why we make our own chocolate? Because we wanted to understand and know our supply chain. Ensuring our chocolate is made in harmony with the well-being of the cacao farmers, their land and their families. Our cacao is direct traded through MABCO, a fabulous Canadian importer who ensures our cacao is child labour free. This is so important to us as millions of children as young as 6 years old work on farms, because the farmers can't afford to hire as the price for cacao is kept ridiculously low. Fairtrade is the solution for child labour free chocolate.




Do we go to the cacao farms?


While we do go visit cacao farms, such as Divina Vida Finca in Costa Rica where we learn a great deal about cacao farming; we can keep contact with the farmers without meeting face to face.

Many chocolate makers opt for a more earth friendly approach. In Canada, many chocolate makers buy from MABCO, Juan Gonzalez the owner was himself a child working the cacao farms in Mexico. Now Canadian, he understands first hands the challenges of the farmers, we feel that he has the same interest as we do in terms of ensuring our cacao is ethically gorwn, free from child labour, organic or having organic practices.
It is better in our opinion to establish a great relationship with him and also the farmers and let him pick the best cacao and pay fair trade prices as opposed to all the chocolate makers travelling to the farms.

Our carbon footprint is kept low and we have more time to make chocolate for you!




Where should I keep my chocolate bars? (and other shelf-life info)


DO NOT PUT YOUR CHOCOLATE IN THE FRIDGE!!! Chocolate should be kept in a cool dark place, away from heavy scents such as spices.
Chocolate is like a sponge, if it is stored next to your soaps, you will get soap flavoured chocolate... ewww! If chocolate gets too hot, the cacao butter makes it's way to the surface and you will see a whitish finish on your chocolate. This is called bloom. the chocolate is still edible, but might not have the creamy texture you would expect. Dark chocolate can last forever! Some edible bits of chocolate was found into jars during archeological excavations and it was still edible despite being thousands years old. We have a best before date of 1 year for our dark chocolate. Fine flavours tends to get diminished after that point, but the chocolate is perfectly fine for consumption.

Milk and white chocolate have a shorter shelf-life of 6 months. Chocolate confections such as truffles, filled chocolates and ganache have a 1 month shelflife or shorter. Freshness is key for beautiful delicious chocolates! See packaging for details.