Hummingbird Chocolate wins best in the world!
In honour of National Chocolate Day, I dedicate this post to one of my favourite chocolate makers, Hummingbird Chocolate of Almonte, Ontario.
I first met Erica Gilmour of Hummingbird Chocolate in 2013. She’d come to my Ottawa hotel room to bring me chocolate to taste, as at that time, they didn’t have a factory or a storefront location. She and husband Drew were making chocolate bars in the basement of their home, and selling them at local farmers’ markets in the Ottawa Valley. It was all kind of intriguing!
What a long way Hummingbird Chocolate has come in that short time, having won three awards from the International Academy of Chocolate in 2014, nine awards in 2015, and six Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2016 in addition to the coveted Golden Bean Award for “Best Bean to Bar in a dark chocolate bar.” That’s a total of 19 international awards in just three years!
Hummingbird Chocolate’s accolades have continued to accumulate, and as of 2018, they have won close to 60 international awards for their incredible chocolate. Considering that Hummingbird Chocolate has only been selling its handcrafted artisan chocolate bars for just over five years, that is truly remarkable!
What I love about Hummingbird Chocolate in addition to the powerfully pure taste, silky texture, and really cool packaging:
- Erica and Drew are genuine hardworking people who are making chocolate because they love it.
- The Gilmours have a really interesting history, having met while doing international aid work in Afghanistan.
- Ethics and sustainability are front and centre in the philosophy of Hummingbird Chocolate. They purchase their cocoa beans directly from farmers or cocoa cooperatives that provide them with top quality organic beans.
- They are always striving to improve their craft by introducing new flavours of bars, perfecting the thickness of their bars, improving their packaging, and whatever it takes to meet their own high standards.
- Hummingbird Chocolate is now making couverture (bulk packaging of their chocolate for use in commercial kitchens.) What a great way to spread the love and give people a chance to enjoy and re-enjoy the many flavours of Hummingbird Chocolate.
- They are Canadian! We Canadians are known for not blowing our own horns, for our humility, and humbleness. It’s so nice to see a small Canadian company making it big on the international stage.
- Not only is Hummingbird Chocolate, Canadian, but they are small town Canadian! That really appeals to me, as I, too, have lived in rural small-town Canada for the past 34 years and I know how hard it is to get noticed when you live (or work) outside of a major centre. Hummingbird Chocolate is located in Almonte, Ontario, a tiny historic community located about 40 minutes from the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
Hummingbird Chocolate won the Golden Bean award in 2016 for its 70% Hispaniola dark chocolate bar, which also won Gold in its category. This bar is made from Trinitarian beans grown in the San Francisco de Macoris region of the Dominican Republic and offers flavour notes of deep cherry blended with light citrus. I love it! They also offer a fabulous Reserva Zorzal bar made from the same beans grown on a bird sanctuary, but with slightly different processing, you’ll taste flavour notes of apricot and pecan. So delicious.
Another super origin that Hummingbird is working with is Guatemala. Their Alta Verapaz bar offers hoppy notes blended with bright fruit. And in recent years, a Haitian bar, the Copán bar from Honduras, Oh Mama! bar from Nicaragua, and a Vietnamese bar, have been added to the origin roster. You will always keep learning, and keep developing your palate with the offerings from Hummingbird Chocolate.
Hummingbird Chocolate also creates an assortment of limited-supply confections and such unique flavour bars as the Maple Bar that features chocolate naturally sweetened with maple sugar made from concentrated Almonte-made maple syrup and the Honey Lavender Bar featuring honey from the Ottawa Valley and lavender oil from the Prince Edward County region of Ontario. It doesn’t get any more Canadian than this.
Have you tried Hummingbird Chocolate? If not, what chocolate maker are you saluting today?