Hummingbird Chocolate wins best in the world!

I often get asked by readers and friends as to what chocolate I recommend or “is the best.” To help you with your seasonal shopping, and in honour of the great chocolate being handcrafted in Canada, I dedicate this post to one of my favourite chocolate makers, Hummingbird Chocolate based in Almonte, Ontario.

hummingbird-chocolate

Erica and Drew Gilmour of Hummingbird Chocolate are happy to welcome you for tours of their chocolate workshop in Almonte on Saturdays, but please book ahead as space is limited. Tours are not happening at present due to COVID. Curb-side pickup and expedited delivery are available at present and done efficiently.

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! Since then, Hummingbird Chocolate has continued to wow the world each year and has won more than 90 international awards to date including six in the 2020 competition.

hummingbird-chocolate

Hummingbird Chocolate bars now come in a larger 60-gram size, replacing the original 28-gram size. On the wrappers, you’ll find some interesting info about chocolate making, photos of the cacao processing equipment, as well as the flavour notes for each bar.

 

hummingbird-chocolate

Hummingbird chocolate has added cocoa butter to make it super silky as it melts in your mouth to reveal the unique flavour notes of each cocoa varietal. 

What I love about Hummingbird Chocolate in addition to the powerfully pure taste, silky texture, and really cool packaging:

  1. Erica and Drew are genuine hardworking people who are making chocolate because they love it.
  2. The Gilmours have a really interesting history, having met while doing international aid work in Afghanistan.
  3. 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.
  4. They are always striving to expand their offerings and 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.
  5. 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. You can also buy roasted cocoa beans and cocoa nibs from Hummingbird, if you’re looking to taste pure unadulterated cocoa.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 since 1982 and 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.
almonte-ontario

I loved strolling through downtown Almonte. The town is situated just 40 minutes from Ottawa, and a great place to spend the day during your visit to Hummingbird Chocolate.

 

almonte-ontario

Almonte, Ontario, is a super scenic historic town situated on the (Canadian) Mississippi River.

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.

Hummingbird works with a variety of cocoa origins including Guatemala (I loved the Alta Verapaz bar offering hoppy notes blended with bright fruit.) And in recent years, a Haitian bar, the Copán bar from Honduras, Oh Mama! bar from Nicaragua, the hot and spicy Mayan bar (now) featuring Peruvian cacao, and the Tumaco from Colombia have been added to the flavour roster. Try the delicious Dark Milk Tumaco bar which won a gold award from the Academy of Chocolate in 2020 or the new Mocha bars. You will always keep learning, and keep developing your palate with the single origin offerings from Hummingbird Chocolate.

Hummingbird Chocolate also creates an assortment of limited-supply confections such as the delicious Vodcow chocolate-covered caramels. You’ll also find unique infusion bars such as the Maple Bar featuring 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 that.

This holiday season, I treated myself (and my friends!) to the three flavours of “chocolate salami” created by Hummingbird. The Chocolate Cherry and Brandy salami features cream and hazelnuts. I love the crunchiness of the hazelnuts, the creaminess of the chocolate ganache, and the tartness of the dried cherries and brandy. I also love the Pistachio and Date chocolate salami rolled in sesame seeds and am looking forward to tasting the Fig and Rosemary flavour over the holidays. Just three more reasons that Hummingbird Chocolate remains at the top of my Christmas list for giving and purchasing for myself. 

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Gourmands and chocolate enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the savoury side of chocolate in these chocolate salamis. They come complete with pairing suggestions. Another thing I love about Hummingbird Chocolate. You’ll find pairing suggestions with many of their products. They were sold out of the salamis the last time I checked the site, but I’m sure there is a waiting list for more. During the pandemic, Hummingbird is offering 10% off your complete order if you sign up for their newsletter and free shipping on qualifying orders. What a great incentive to support this small Canadian company that has chosen to be “industrious, not industrial” in everything they do.

Have you tried Hummingbird Chocolate? If so, what’s been your favourite flavour so far? If not, what are you waiting for?

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

81 Responses

  1. What a lovely write-up! They sound like folks you want to wander around with for a day, sampling anything they plate in front of you. I’ll keep my eyes open (when I get to stores again) to see if it pops up anywhere around here.

    • Hi RoseMary and thx for your comment. I don’t believe Hummingbird is sold in US stores, but I do think they ship to the US. It’s really great chocolate. Let’s talk over the holidays.

  2. Beverley Phillips says:

    Thanks for another mouth-watering slice of chocolate life, Doreen. I will check out the Hummingbird site right away. By the way, Almonte is also becoming known as a favourite shooting location for Hallmark Christmas movies — another reason to visit when we can travel again. Looking forward to your next post!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Bev. Merry Christmas to you and Howard! I wonder if any of the Hallmark Christmas movies were filmed in Almonte? It is indeed a lovely historic town. I wish I’d had more time there. but I was on a mission to visit Hummingbird Chocolate and taste all their new offerings with Erica. The chocolate salamis are well worth ordering when they’re back in stock. Really unique.

  3. Bruce Smith says:

    We really enjoyed the Hummingbird cherry and brandy chocolate salami. The chocolate is smooth and melts in your mouth leaving the delicious cherry bits. I can taste why you so highly recommend Hummingbird products! Packaging the product in a salami format is very intriguing.

    • Hey, Bruce, I’m so glad you enjoyed the cherry brandy chocolate salami! Hummingbird Chocolate is such an innovative small Canadian company that is continually coming up with terrific chocolate offerings that I have no trouble recommending.

  4. Linda Paul says:

    what a cool small town, small operation choclateer! Those Hummingbird Salamis look fascinating!

    • Hi, Linda. Yes, it’s always an incredible find for me when I discover great people making fantastic chocolate in a noteworthy place or setting. Those components are the experiential foundation of Chocolatour.

  5. I get asked that, too, but I always reply, “I can only answer based on what we’ve received this year to test.” That’s why we do a best of the year. I always enjoy reading your experiences here with different chocolates. Thank you for keeping this up.

  6. beverly@mmts.net says:

    It is always very satisfying to see people or a company experience success. You always educate your readers with your posts.

    • Thanks so much, Bev, for always being caring enough to offer a comment on one of my posts. I truly am appreciative and love to hear your thoughts. As you know, it is part of the mission of Chocolatour to introduce readers, event attendees, and tour participants to the people and places behind the chocolate. To me, that’s equally as important as the chocolate itself.

  7. Debbie says:

    Thanks Doreen for the Dark Milk Tumaco Chocolate Bar. It was so good I ate it all in one sitting. Usually dark chocolate is bitter, but this was not the case with this one. It was also very rich and creamy. What does Tumaco mean?

    • Hi Debbie. So glad you enjoyed the bar. I LOVE dark milk chocolate, and apparently you do, too! Much healthier for you than milk chocolate. Tomato is a region in Colombia where the cacao is grown.

  8. Marlene Van Helden says:

    Thanks Doreen for the exquisite bar: Mayan, A touch of Spice, a hint of Heat, 68% cacao by Hummingbird Chocolate. Like many others have stated, the bar is a sample of art, smooth, elegant and very good.
    Highly recommended!

    • Hi Marlene. I’m glad you enjoyed the Mayan bar. It’s interesting to note that it’s made with cacao from Peru. Very often, Mayan chocolate is made with Belizean or Mexican cacao. But I agree. It’s got just the right amount of heat and spices to make it a most enjoyable bar.

  9. Vyjay says:

    The chocolates are crafted so skilfully that they look like works of art. The texture looks so smooth and silky. If I had one in my hand, I would feel guilty to bite into it. It looks that good.

  10. Jessica says:

    Given all your reasons, they truly deserve the 19 awards they have and will surely increase as they strive for the love in chocolates. I love the design of the bars as it’s not the typical rectangular shapes. It also easily sells their name. Just brilliant! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Jessica and thanks for stopping by. Yes, it’s truly wonderful when you see nice, honest, hardworking folks getting rewarded and acknowledged for their efforts. It makes my work all worthwhile. Cheers!

  11. I’m addicted to chocolate. There’s nothing better than a cup of quality coffee and chocolate. I would love to try Hummingbird Chocolate, for sure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Kassie says:

    Wow this chocolate brand sounds amazing! Love trying local chocolates as they are always 1000% better than big brands. Next time I’m in Canada I will be sure to check this one out ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Sushmita says:

    Thanks Doreen for introducing me to Hummingbird Chocolates, would be interested in trying some.

  14. I am glad you are supporting local small town Canadian chocolate makers. Looks perfectly delicious

  15. Claire says:

    There is an International Chocolate Day? How did I not know this?! I sense I have a lot of making up to do…
    I’d never heard of Hummingbird Chocolate before, but I know of a Canadian shop in London so I’ll definitely have a look next time I’m there!

  16. lenie says:

    Doreen, I wish I had heard about Hummingbird Chocolate a month ago. My son and his family went on a week long trip driving to places of interest in Ontario. They did visit Ottawa and my daughter in law, a true chocoholic would have loved sliding over to Almonte.
    I’ll definitely pass this information on to them, possibly for their next Ontario trip.

    • Hi Lenie. So wonderful to hear from you! I hope you are doing well. Ottawa is truly a hotbed of Canadian chocolate. I was so impressed with the various chocolate options there (which I will cover in a future post.) I hope to launch volume II of Chocolatour there next year. Not sure where your son lives, but Hummingbird Chocolate does have an online store and mails throughout Canada. Cheers, and thx again for stopping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Susan cooper says:

    Hi Doreen, I’m with you. I like to support local, small companies too. Especially when they have a great product. It’s nice seeing them really take off with their businesses. To win all those awards so soon, they should be very proud of their success.
    Susan cooper recently posted…Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs: #RecipeMy Profile

  18. Congrats for Hummingbird! I love that they went from working in their basement to winning this award. Bravo!
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…The Library of Congress and More DC DelightsMy Profile

  19. A regret I have is not following one of my many ideas to become a chocolatier! Instead I eat copious amounts of it. Love your website!

    • Thx so much for your kind words, Murissa. Glad you enjoy my site. I hope you’ll subscribe. We’ll all about chocolate travel here, so I guarantee you will never be bored! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it’s never too late to try making chocolate on the side. That’s how the Gilmours got started. They used to make small amounts in their basement and sell it at country fairs. Look where they are now!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Hummingbird Chocolate wins best in the world!My Profile

  20. I LOVE these guys!! The chocolate, their ethics, the different flavours. I totally agree.

  21. I know how much chocolate means to you, so Happy Chocolate day. The Hummingbird chocolate sounds great. I live just across the border, when I go to Canada where can I get some?
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  22. I’ve never had Hummingbird Chocolate, but it’s sounds wonderful. It’s also wonderful that a small chocolate maker from a small town won this prestigious award. It’s quality not quantity — just because you might live and work in a big city doesn’t automatically make you the best.

  23. Wow – looks amazing. I read an article about their chocolate and was really excited that Canadians won such a prestigious award. I have not had Hummingbird Chocolate but would love to try it!

  24. Ami says:

    An interesting story about the chocolate and town. I love chocolates anyway and the social responsibility bit makes this one attractive. Adding to that is the charm of the gorgeous town – waterfalls and heritage buildings. Nice one!
    Ami recently posted…10 tips for traveling with kidsMy Profile

  25. Tuhin says:

    19 international awards in just 3 years? wow! This shows their dedication and sincerity!
    I wish them all the very best for their future projects!
    And Happy Chocolate day in advance, Doreen!
    Tuhin recently posted…Are You Doing Justice To Your RelationshipMy Profile

    • Thanks very much, Tuhin. And yes, it really is remarkable that a small new company like Hummingbird Chocolate is making a very strong entrance onto the world stage of chocolate. I am so thrilled for them, and for Canadian chocolate lovers who have ready access to their quality bars.

  26. Chris says:

    How gorgeous does Almonte look, and to think you can get delicious chocolate there as well!

    Nice combination!
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  27. Sounds interesting, but I noticed in your list of why you love it…you didn’t list how it tastes ๐Ÿ™‚
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  28. Mar Pages says:

    I love the logo! It does look incredibly smooth, I’d definitely give it a try.

  29. Erica says:

    I did not know international chocolate day was this week. I will make sure to celebrate!

    Love the Gilmours’ story. And it is always great to support not just a good product, but good people. The name Hummingbird chocolate is great too.

  30. Phoenicia says:

    The Hummingbird chocolate looks delicious. I like the wrapping, it reminds of chocolate wrapping from the 50’s or 60’s – very authentic.

    I wish this couple all the best in their business venture.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Consistency โ€“ is it underrated?My Profile

    • Hi Phoenicia and thx for your comment. Yes, eating fine chocolate should engage all the senses. The look of the wrapping and the chocolate itself should engage the sense of sight. You inhale the aroma of the chocolate to engage your sense of smell. Feel the silkiness of the chocolate in your mouth as it melts. Can you feel your senses tingling? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Hummingbird Chocolate wins best in the world!My Profile

  31. I enjoy reading your descriptions of the way the various chocolatiers you introduce to us ply their craft, Doreen. It is so obvious how much you love what you are doing! I am not familiar with Hummingbird chocolate, but now that I’m back on the mainland I’m looking forward to discovering many new things!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Setting Boundaries: How to Make Yourself HeardMy Profile

    • Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Marquita. I’,m glad that my passion shows through in my work as I am indeed totally enthralled with the world of fine handcrafted chocolate. Welcome back to the mainland. I hope the transition was a smooth one.

  32. Ken Dowell says:

    That is truly a chocolate success story and they sound like people who deserve it. Would love to try their chocolate sometime.
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    • Right on, Ken! These are indeed the kind of wonderful stories we like to hear and share. I am so thrilled to be able to help share the amazing success story of Hummingbird Chocolate, and do hope you’ll be able to taste it soon. Sabrina says she found an outlet in NYC, so that may be convenient for you, too.

  33. Sabrina Quairoli says:

    I can see why you like their chocolate. It’s so nice to be able to connect with the creators. I will have to check them out when I am in New York City visiting. It looks like they have a place in NYC that carries their product. Great pictures too. =)

  34. Kate Savory says:

    Will do!
    Kate Savory recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

  35. Kate Savory says:

    Mmm…that big chocolate bar looks delicious! Thanks for covering this, Doreen! I had no idea there was such an award, but glad there is! Almonte was already on my “what to see in Canada” list because of the natural beauty there–now there’s also a tasty reason to visit!

    • Right on, Kate! Yes, Almonte may be small, but it’s really charming and I wish I’d had more time to hang around and explore the shops more. If you are visiting, be sure to be in touch with Hummingbird Chocolate ahead of time to ensure they have chocolate. They were closed to the public the day i was there.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…more great mexican chocolateMy Profile

  36. We’ve never had the honor of featuring this company on our site but they sound neat and a huge Congrats! to them for winning this recognition.
    TammyJo Eckhart recently posted…Are You Ready for International Chocolate Day?My Profile

  37. I love hummingbirds, I love dark chocolate, and I love entrepreneurs who love their work and approach it ethically! While I can’t taste this chocolate, I can appreciate it from afar! Here’s to International Chocolate Day!

    I can’t get the Comment Luv to work, but here’s a link to a recent post: http://www.tropicaltravelgirl.com/scuba-diving-on-looe-key-reef-florida-keys-a-sanctuary-for-sea-life/

    • Hi Debbie and thanks for your comment. (I’m not sure why Comment Luv isn’t working for you. Hopefully for the next post!)

      Yes, hopefully, Hummingbird Chocolate will eventually be available beyond Canada. I know that the Gilmours are struggling whether to continue to grow slowly and organically, or put the peddle to the metal and open up the floodgates. I believe they are favouring the slow steady growth model, but it may be difficult for them to keep back the masses, as there has been a tremendous about of media attention and public interest since they won the big award.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Hummingbird Chocolate wins best in the world!My Profile

  38. Linda Paul says:

    Doreen I love this post from start to finish. I think it’s my favorite of all your posts so far. I love the backstory of Hummingbird Chocolate, their organic success, and their principles. I wish Hummingbird Chocolate were available here. I’d be buying a batch of bars as we speak!
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  39. Beverly says:

    How special to read about two Canadian chocolate makers! I love the fact that their product is always evolving with the introduction of interesting and delicious new flavours.

  40. Catarina says:

    How nice, Doreen. Your favourite chocolate maker is bound to produce delicious chocolate. Delighted that they are recognized for doing so.
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  41. We loved the Fleur de Sel bar pictured above – just the right amount of salty. I’m looking forward to trying the hispaniola once the wait list at The Candy Bar dies down.

  42. Thanks to you, I know about Hummingbird Chocolate, but haven’t tried it yet. I see a road trip in my near future. Almonte is not that far from here. I will be sure to tell them that you sent me.

    • Thanks, Christine. I know you will enjoy not only the journey, but also the chocolate as it is truly the healthy kind. By the way, I know you like Giddy YoYo, and I’m pretty sure Joanne stocks that, too, at JoJo CoCo in Kanata.

  43. Donna Janke says:

    I can understand why you love Hummingbird Chocolate. The maple bar sounds interesting. Is their chocolate available anywhere in Manitoba?
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