Petit Patrie Fine Chocolate
By Genevieve Allen Hearn
Gabrielle Breault has a fascinating story – one of overcoming obstacles and finding her passion. In 2017, she became the only person making bean-to-bar chocolate east of Quebec. Made in Medford, her chocolate bars offer a very different experience than eating mass produced candy bars. Much like drinking a fine wine, it requires mindfulness in order to appreciate the nuance and complexity. It took me to a whole new level of chocolate indulging!
The Grapevine (GV): What compelled you to start a chocolate making company?
Gabrielle Breault (GB): I was medically released from the Canadian Forces in 2009. It took me years to overcome some medical challenges and when I did, I started thinking about a having a second career. In the Spring of 2016, I read an article about Bean-to-Bar chocolate and it peaked my curiosity. Like most, I thought chocolatiers were making the chocolate they use in their chocolate confections. I soon learned that in fact, chocolate makers are the one actually making chocolate. So I went online and ordered some fine bean-to-bar chocolate from Hummingbird Chocolate in Almonte, Ontario. This was the absolute best chocolate I had ever tasted! Bean-to-Bar is the process of making chocolate from dried fermented cacao beans all the way to the finish product. I started looking locally for fine chocolate and discovered that there were only a dozen chocolate makers in Canada and none east of Quebec. So, I blindly set out to make it myself! Little did I know, chocolate making is anything but easy!
GV: How long have you been making chocolate?
GB: I started taking various courses in September 2016 through Ecole Chocolat based in Vancouver and on location in Costa Rica with other aspiring chocolate makers from around the world. My training took me to the Chocolate Academy in Montreal for chocolatier training and I trained with one of the best in the world, Master Chocolatier Mark Tilling from Squires International Kitchen in England who introduced me to making elegant chocolate showpieces. My husband Peter has joined me in some of the training and we both received our level 2 Chocolate Taster Certification from the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting in London England last November. We started manufacturing fine chocolate bars in the summer of 2017. Amy Dukeshire, a talented food scientist, joined our team in September and is currently in training to become a certified Chocolatier this Spring.
GV: How would you describe your chocolate?
GB: The cacao beans we use is considered fine cacao, traded fairly, and always organic! We make micro-batches, which means it takes a week to make a batch of 100 bars! Each bean is scrutinized, so only the perfect ones are used in making our fine chocolate. Our 72% Single Origin Honduras fine chocolate comes from an association of 600 small-holder farmers in the Copan region of Honduras. This bar has delicate notes of roasted walnut, caramelized sugar and bread. These flavours come from the beans naturally and no other ingredients are added. It’s like a brioche in a bar! Our second bar is a 53% Coconut milk from Mexico. This bean originates from the Tabasco Region of Mexico from Hacienda Jesus Maria operated by a mother and her son. Real Mexican vanilla beans are added for a tropical indulgence for your senses. So creamy, this lightly sweet chocolate will take you on a tropical journey through coconut groves, vanilla orchids and lightly spiced chocolate. Both are Vegan and dairy free.
GV: Ok, my mouth is now watering. Where can I buy your chocolate?
GB: We sell our chocolate online through our webpage www.petitepatriechocolate.com and at a few select locations in Nova Scotia including The Farmhouse Inn B&B in Canning, the Grand Pre National Historic Site, Planters Ridge Winery in Port Williams, and EOS Natural Foods in Wolfville.
GV: What’s next for Petit Patrie Chocolate?
GB: I am heading to Costa Rica at the end of January as a chocolate consultant with a cacao farmer. We’re also active partners with Planters Ridge Winery which whom we’ve done pairing and chocolate education. We are doing chocolate pairing with the Quarterdeck Villas near Liverpool in March, and chocolate tasting events in the Valley. In due time, we intend to open our bean-to-bar shop in Kings County. Chocolate is our passion. We do not aim at being the largest chocolate making company, we just want to make the best chocolate humanly possible!
Gabrielle is hosting a chocolate tasting on Saturday Jan 27 at the Kingsport Community Centre between 7pm and 8:30pm. Visit petitepatriechocolate.com or @patriechoco on Facebook for more information.