What, why and how. Those little inquiring minds never seem to run out of questions. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, get in a pre-emptive strike by letting local bean-to-bar chocolatiers, Hummingbird Chocolate, show you how a bar of the really good stuff is made.
We knew from the first rich whiff of chocolate in the air that this was no simple candy factory—Hummingbird makes high-quality dark chocolate, the kind that delights the palette like fine wine. Although their new facility in Almonte is small, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch the staff create top-notch confections by hand. Drop by at 11:30 on a Saturday morning, don a hairnet and shoe covers, and go on a walk through of the entire process, from bean sorting to roasting to grinding to tempering. Several stops on the tour involve machines of the company’s own invention, a perfect opportunity for your little engineer to get inspired.
Once the tour is over, be sure to taste some of the different flavours produced in the plant—we were amazed at how different bean bases can make such a difference in flavour, and impressed that it’s all gluten, soy, and dairy free. There are maple bars made with maple sugar from nearby Fulton’s, Zorzal bars that help support a bird sanctuary in the Dominican Republic, and—our personal fave—bo-nib-ia bars, featuring cocoa nibs sprinkled directly into the bar for a wee bit of crunchy goodness. It’s a far cry from grocery store chocolate bars, but your discerning little foodies just might discover a new flavour passion.
Can’t quite make it out to Almonte? You can still get yourself a Valentine’s treat at several local shops around town. Bon appetit!
Stocking up for Valentine’s Day? The search ends here: we’ve got 12 more Spots for Sweet Treats in Ottawa.