Funny things happen when you’re not paying attention. After we entered all the data for the Canada National Competition of the International Chocolate Awards, I got a sneak peek at the winners. There were your usual suspects: Beta5 and Christophe Morel, who did really well in the 2012 competition. But out of nowhere, here was The Violet Chocolate Company. Even better, its chocolatier, Rebecca Grant, had RSVPed for the awards ceremony.
At the ceremony, grand jury member David Mincey did a preamble to say how pleased we all were to give a medal to a new-to-us company, and for an excellent piece. I was watching Rebecca’s face when we announced that it was for The Violet Chocolate Company’s rosemary honey bar, and she clearly wasn’t expecting it. I met with her the next day to get to know her better, and I learned that she’s not only a talented chocolatier, but also a lovely person. She’s got a great palate and top-notch technique, and she’s constantly learning and improving.
Rebecca’s company is only a year old, and I can’t wait to see what she does next. She’s definitely one to watch.
What does The Violet Chocolate Company do?
It’s a small artisanal chocolate company in Edmonton. We have a line of chocolate bars in unique flavours that you can’t find anywhere else. And truffles. We sell at farmer’s markets and there are a couple of little boutique stores in Edmonton that sell the bars as well.
How did you come to chocolate?
Kind of by fluke. I won the job through a friend, kind of fell into it and have been doing it for the past 4 1/2 years now.
Tell me about your truffles.
I don’t do them all the time. I do them for special orders. I do unique flavours. I like the challenge—if you can give me a flavour, I’ll try and make it work in the chocolate. So I did some sushi roll inspired truffles once. I had a wasabi truffle, avocado, a sesame one. It was weird. It worked though.
You won a gold medal in the 2013 Canada National Competition of the International Chocolate Awards. Tell me about your winning bar.
The honey rosemary bar, it’s my favourite, but it’s so underappreciated. It’s all fresh stuff: Fresh rosemary from my garden that I grind up right before I temper the chocolate. I use Alberta clover honey, it has a bit of a clover taste to it. It’s a really dark milk chocolate so it’s not super sweet.
People are hesitant…they don’t want to try it. When we first started making it, everyone said it reminded them of Thanksgiving dinner. I think it brings back those happy memories. With the medal, now they’ll have to try it.
What’s the best part of your job?
Surprising people. When they see the chocolate and fall so in love with it and having them come back, that’s the best part. Just making people happy. And I get to be really creative too, which I love.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Probably the consistency, because I do make it all by hand. I don’t use any tempering machines or anything.
What do you do when you’re not making chocolate?
I make wedding cakes on the side so that keeps me busy too. I like to draw and paint a little bit, too.