Friday, January 9, 2015

East Van Roasters: Simple Ingredients, Complex Flavour, Positive Mission.

East Van Roasters is a relatively new, socially responsible bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Vancouver.  They do not sell online, and since I am on a mission to taste all of Canada's bean-to-bar chocolate, I was excited to get my hands on a few of their chocolate bars.

The Canadian bean-to-bar, craft chocolate movement is very new and several of our chocolate makers are still producing rough-textured chocolate, as they get settled and work towards funding better equipment. However, many do make very smooth chocolate (see photo on the right of some great Canadian chocolate makers) and East Van Roasters is certainly one of those.

When I last checked, this not-for-profit chocolate maker was removing the cocoa bean shells by hand, so I was expecting a rougher textured product. I was surprised and delighted when, upon tasting it, the texture was very smooth and full of cocoa buttery goodness. In fact, I liked it so much, I brought it to a tasting session with CBC Radio's Up North afternoon show.

I tasted two of East Van Roasters origin chocolate bars: the Dominican Republic 70% Dark Chocolate Bar (batch: DR115) and the Peru 70% bar (batch P125).  The Peru bar was full of those bold, acidic flavours that I associate with most Peruvian chocolate. The Dominican Republic Bar was fruity and had a hint of citrus-orange flavour. Both were delicious and excellent quality for bean-to-bar, origin chocolate.

They sell bean-to-bar chocolate and coffee roasted on site, and they also sell couverture wholesale to local chefs and businesses. You can find a list of retailers in BC on East Van Roasters website.

What's most interesting about East Van Roasters is their mission: to benefit the women residents of the Rainier Hotel (social housing for addicted and mentally ill women) by providing training and employment. There was a good article published in the September 2013 issue of the Globe and Mail that discusses the good things accomplished by East Van Roasters, read it online here.

East Van Roasters is closed for repairs until January 13th, but definitely will reopen, which is great because I am looking forward to getting my hands on more of their chocolate!

Here are the package details from the chocolate that I wrote about here:

Dominican Republic Dark Chocolate Bar 70%, 50g (Batch DR115)
East Van Roasters
Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter.

Peru Dark Chocolate Bar 70%, 50g (Batch P125)
East Van Roasters
Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter.

These chocolate bars cost $6.49 each in early December (2014) at La Tablette de Miss Choco in Montreal (plus shipping with online purchase).