Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti Cocoa
There’s a new kid on the block in the Winnipeg chocolate scene. Aschenti Cocoa had its Grand Opening on December 17, 2016, and introduced itself as the only chocolate maker in Manitoba to grow its own cocoa. Aschenti Cocoa is a tree to bar company, meaning that they grow the cocoa, supervise the stages of its production and make the end product: delicious bean-to-bar organic chocolate bars.
Owned by Christian Mekoh and his wife Fanny Christelle, Aschenti Cocoa grows its own cocoa in the Mekohs’ homeland of Cameroon, the West African central coastal nation situated east of Nigeria along the Gulf of Guinea. Cameroon is the fifth largest producer of cocoa in the world, registering 275,000 metric tonnes of cocoa grown in the country’s coastal region in 2013.
Research reveals that Cameroon is a politically stable country and despite the fact that 70% of its residents are farmers, Cameroon boasts a a good literacy rate of 75%. Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa at about 90% and many other countries have a much lower literacy rate as low as just over 20%.
Christian Mekoh assures me that although child labour may have been an issue in Cameroon in previous years, he only deals with cocoa farmers who have the best ethical and farming practices, and no child labour is tolerated among the Aschenti family of cocoa growers.
winnipeg chocolate now includes farm-to-bar chocolate made from cocoa grown in cameroon
Aschenti grows only Criollo and Trinitario cacao and takes great pride in its Porcelana bars made from the finest quality white Criollo beans. You will find a large range of bars offered on the Aschenti site, but are likely to only find a small number of them available in the shop at any given time as the company ramps up production. I tasted the 42% milk chocolate bar and really enjoyed its creaminess without sweetness. I also enjoyed the 64% dark chocolate bar. I found the 72% bar to be slightly bitter for my palate, but will try it again, as our taste buds differ from day to day and I always believe in tasting any given chocolate more than once. I’m really looking forward to tasting the 100% Porcelana bar and the Porcelana bar featuring Cameroon-grown Soya peppers.
It’s so exciting for Winnipeg to have a shop like Aschenti Cocoa, where you can see real cocoa beans being made into chocolate right before your eyes. The Aschenti shop at 782 Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg features a full glass wall where you can see the different types of equipment in use during the different stages of chocolate production. There is also an overhead television where Christian runs the video of him on the cocoa farm with the farmers. If you’re in the Winnipeg area, do drop in and have a taste of Aschenti chocolate. You will soon be able to also order online via their website.
And while you’re on Corydon Avenue, take the time to enjoy the many other shops and restaurants. Just two doors down from Aschenti is Cocoabeans Bakeshop and Cafe where you will find some excellent offerings featuring chocolate.
If you are visiting Manitoba and want to further explore the world of Winnipeg chocolate, pop over the bridge to Saint Boniface where you’ll find Chocolatier Constance Popp, or Sherbrook Street in the West Broadway neighbourhood where you’ll find Decadence Chocolates. Each offers high quality handmade chocolates as well as a small selection of bean-to-bar single origin chocolate bars.