Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti Cocoa

Winnipeg’s chocolate scene continues to grow and evolve, and it’s great to see the Manitoba capital taking strides to become a true chocolate destination. Back on December 17, 2016, Aschenti Cocoa had its Grand Opening and introduced itself as the only chocolate maker in Manitoba to grow its own cocoa. This was a game changer for the city, as Aschenti Cocoa is a tree to bar company, meaning that they grow the cocoa and supervise the stages of its production (for most of the bars they produce) and make the end product: delicious bean-to-bar organic chocolate bars. Alas, on December 3, 2019, Aschenti announced to its subscribers that its Corydon Avenue shop has closed. You can still purchase their bean-to-bar chocolate via their website and at local craft events.



Christian and Christelle Mekoh are the owners of Aschenti Cocoa in Winnipeg.

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.


Christian Mekoh shows us a Trinitario cocoa pod in his shop at Aschenti Cocoa in Winnipeg.


The cocoa beans are grown in Cameroon, where they are harvested, fermented, and dried before being shipped to Canada by air.

winnipeg chocolate now includes farm-to-bar sustainable organic 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. In addition to the plain 42% bar, you’ll find one flavoured with vanilla beans and olive oil. I loved it!

I also enjoyed the 64% dark chocolate bar. In addition to the plain 64% bar, you’ll find the Boyo Espresso bar (my favourite Aschenti offering) flavoured with buttermilk and roasted coffee beans. It is delicious!

I found the 72% bar to be slightly bitter for my palate, but it has improved since I first tasted it two years ago when the shop first opened. It is always important to taste any given chocolate more than once, as our taste buds differ from day to day and I always believe in tasting any given chocolate more than once–unless I truly dislike it. I’m really looking forward to tasting the 100% Porcelana bar and the Porcelana bar featuring Cameroon-grown Soya peppers.

In 2017, Aschenti began making chocolate from cocoa grown in countries in addition to its homeland of Cameroon, which now include limited editions with cocoa from Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

It’s so exciting for Winnipeg to have a chocolate company like Aschenti Cocoa–the only 100% made in Manitoba bean-to-bar chocolate in Winnipeg that roasts and processes its own cocoa beans to create sustainable chocolate right before your eyes. The Aschenti shop previously located at 782 Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg featured a full glass wall where chocolate lovers could see the different types of equipment in use during the different stages of chocolate production. There was also an overhead television where Christian ran a video of him on the cocoa farm with the farmers. Although the Aschenti shop is no longer open, you can still order online chocolate via their website, and also purchase the bars at different venues you will find listed online.


Also in the Corydon neighbourhood, I really loved the mocha cupcake at Cocoabeans Bakeshop featuring coffee beans from Manitoba-based Greenbean Coffee Imports. Everything at Cocoabeans is gluten free and delicious.

winnipeg is an emerging chocolate destination

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, Mordens’ Chocolate on Sargent Avenue and Purdys Chocolatier in St. Vital Shopping Centre and Polo Park. Melt Chocolate Company is another great Winnipeg chocolatier, but doesn’t yet have a retail shop. You can read about them here. Each of these Winnipeg chocolate companies offers high quality handmade chocolates as well as a small selection of bean-to-bar single origin chocolate bars. It’s wonderful seeing Winnipeg and Manitoba forging forward to becoming a true destination for chocolate lovers and offering a great selection of Made in Manitoba chocolate options.





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.

82 Responses

  1. Not only do I now about the chocolate maker credentials of Winnipeg, I got some great insights about Cameroon in this post. Thanks for the information as well as my current chocolate craving (primarily due to the cupcake pic).

  2. You’re my chocolate goddess, Doreen. The fact that Aschenti Cocoa is ethical makes it all the more delicious.

  3. I really like the from bean to bar aspect of Aschenti Cocoa. Interesting story and sounds like tasty chocolate, too.

  4. I like the way that Aschenti Cocoa know where their raw materials come from and can make sure that they are ethically sourced.

  5. Tom Bartel says:

    I do enjoy your chocolate tour stories. One of these days I’m going to have to get together in person and educate myself more. I do love chocolate.

  6. Janet says:

    I loved the Espresso bar that Aschenti makes. I found the combination of buttermilk and coffee beans was a perfect blend. The texture also was very smooth.

  7. Any place that earns the title of “emerging chocolate destination” is a must-visit in my book! I had the opportunity to visit a bean-to-bar chocolate shop recently and the difference in taste really is astounding. Hoping I get the chance to try Aschenti’s chocolate soon!

  8. noel says:

    I love supporting small companies like this that also support communities that need to have their economies supported, this is fantastic.

  9. Eleanore says:

    Doreen recently hosted a Wine and chocolate tasting event with us and by far, the groups favourite chocolate was from Aschenti! The chocolate was wonderful with a hint of coffee taste to it! We are definitely taking the trip to visit their store and are so proud to be able to support local!โค๏ธ

  10. jane says:

    My first visit to Winnipeg was last January, pre-Aschenti chocolate. A definite miss for me since I loves me some good chocolate!

  11. Kemkem says:

    You keep giving me more and more reasons to revisit Canada! I have come to look forward to your chocolate posts. I love that this couple achieved their dream with Aschenti Chocolate! I so want that red velvet cupcake. I can not find a decent one here :-).

  12. I love seeing people follow their dreams and wish them all the luck in making Winnipeg a chocolate destination with Aschenti Chocolate. Would love to try one of their red velvet cupcakes. YUM!

  13. Wow, Doreen. You continue to thrill us with your discoveries. We love bean to bar chocolate companies and Aschenti Cocoa looks like a great one. Thanks for sharing.

  14. What an interesting concept for one company to take the chocolate from beginning to the final product. I appreciate too your information about the farmers involved in the process. I am sure Aschenti Cocoa is destined for great success!

  15. Nice to know they have this already in Winnipeg. BTW, am in Brussels. Is Leonidas truly the best chocolate here?

  16. Fanny says:

    Thanks for this great article Doreen. We want Manitoba to be known as a chocolate destination and hopefully we can help achieve this through our farm to bar chocolates and our new crowdfunding campaign.

  17. My sis and husband did a great job with the sharing of the making of Chocolate from the seeds to the mouth ๐Ÿ™‚
    I had the pleasure to taste and that’s refreshening. You can taste the natural coffee mixed up with other natural products like vanilla or Boyo coffee.
    Will taste more when I’ll drop by in Winnipeg!!!

  18. “Beans to Bars” – What perfect way to control the quality of ingredients. My mouth was watering as I gazed at those delectable cupcakes! You are fortunate to have their new shop so close to you. Word of mouth and lovely posts like this truly help new businesses.
    Suzanne Stavert recently posted…An Invitation to an Italian Cooking School ~ Tuscan Women CookMy Profile

  19. Great article Doreen. So far I’ve only had a chance to try their chocolate at #LoveLocalMB. I really enjoyed it, and am hoping to get down to their store on Corydon soon.

    • Thx for your comment, Donald. Very nice to see you here. I’m sure that Christian and Christelle would love to see you in their shop as well. It’s so exciting to see the artisanal product line expanding in Winnipeg. They will only survive and thrive if we help support them by spreading the word.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  20. How wonderful to have this new place. The story of the owners is as interesting as the story of the place, and all of its delectables. Thanks for the tour of the area, too. Looks like you have some great places for chocolate goodies!

    • We do indeed, Christine. 2016 was a transformative year in which Winnipeg went from being a city with just one artisan chocolatier and a chocolate confectioner, to a noteworthy chocolate destination with a number of worthwhile stops.

  21. I love reading stories like this–where you can trace the product from source to taste buds. Sounds like one more reason to journey to Winnipeg!

  22. I would of never guessed Cameroon as a cacao producer. It makes sense when you think about it, but I would not of thought of it before.
    I often wonder, if temperature outside (even during transportation), atmospheric pressure (say from altitude) has an effect on chocolate making?
    William Rusho recently posted…2016 a Look Back: Medieval/Renaissance FairesMy Profile

    • Very interesting question, William. Most cocoa beans are transported by large freighters. Amsterdam is the largest cocoa port in the world! Aschenti is the first company I’ve known that is using aircraft to transport their beans. I will look into that and see if anyone has done a study on what types of conditions will affect flavour, and if so, how. Happy New Year to you!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  23. Mimi says:

    It is so great to hear that the farmers get what they should get! Great initiative from Aschenti. These are the types of companies that people should support.
    Mimi recently posted…Beautiful concept store in Dubai @ Comptoir 102My Profile

    • You bet, Mimi! Companies like Aschenti are not just making chocolate, they are changing lives. They are the kind of company I will be profiling in volume II of Chocolatour. Happy New Year to you.

  24. I am so glad to hear that the farmers are starting to get the cut they deserve instead of the majority of the profit going to the greedy, unethical middlemen. Chocolate companies like Aschenti provide a good incentive for the farmers to be ethical and avoid child labor. This makes me want to buy chocolate from them rather than from the big corporations.

    • You bet! That’s precisely why I have taken on the mission of telling the stories of these small and amazing companies. They are the heart and soul of the world of artisanal chocolate. Happy New Year to you!

  25. Aack, I did it again. Read one of your blog posts without having some snacks on hand for the eventual chocolate cravings that occur during and immediately after your posts.

    Interesting facts about Cameron and Zimbabwe. Wonder why the literary rate is so high in both those places?

  26. Sushmita says:

    Own grown cocoa lovely ya! Loved the cupcakes although these days every day is about chocolate and loving it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sushmita recently posted…Sharing the Lessons, I learned in the past few years!My Profile

  27. Wow, would love to try these. As for the other chocolate places, I wish I had known about them when I was living in Winnipeg last year. Guess I’ll have to come back ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Matthew and thanks for your comment. Up until last year, Constance Popp was the only Winnipeg-based chocolate shop. Decadence and Aschenti both opened in 2016. The future for chocolate lovers in Manitoba is now looking very bright! Lots of positive changes in Winnipeg. Have you been to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights?
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  28. neha says:

    I love cocoa and those delicious cocoa made stuff – all of them ๐Ÿ™‚ Was interesting to read this story of where some of them come from and how ๐Ÿ™‚
    neha recently posted…10 must do in Rajasthan that we missedMy Profile

  29. Hi Susan. When you eat as much chocolate as I do for my work, you definitely do encounter some that’s not as good as others. I honestly cannot eat chocolate candy anymore as I find it much too sweet.

    Regarding the growing of cocoa, it can only be grown 20 degrees north or south of the equator (give or take a few degrees). We’re sitting at about 49 degrees here in Winnipeg, so cocoa wouldn’t have a chance in surviving our climate.

    Happy New Year to you, and may 2017 offer you much great chocolate and wine.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  30. Beverly says:

    Manitoba has more and more to boast about surrounding chocolate. I would love to visit all the shops you mentioned in your article. Thanks for keeping us informed about the chocolate scene in Winnipeg.

  31. At first i thought you meant Aschenti Cocoa grows its own cocoa in Manitoba. I was wondering how that would ever work. lol Nice to hear they grow their own cocoa in Africa and concern themselves with the child labor. I’m with you on the tasting any chocolate more than once….but i think maybe four or five times. lol Never met a chocolate i didn’t like. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Linda Strange says:

    Wow ! This means here in Osborne Village, that all 3 of the chocolatiers you mention are within a very few minutes drive from me . So glad you asked about the child-labour practices as they are a real sticking point for the cacao producing industry.Thanks so much, Doreen.

  33. Phoenicia says:

    With all the chocolate I have eaten over the Christmas period, I would still make room for this!

    I find with luxurious chocolate that you only need a few squares/bites as it is so rich.

    It must be amazing visiting so many countries.

  34. That is cool. Good to see a West African country associated with best practices when it comes to cacao cultivation. Maybe it’ll put some pressure on the big guys. I hope to visit the shop with you one day.

    • Thanks for your comment, Virginia. I believe the large chocolate companies like Nestle, Cadbury and Mars have already made a significant effort to eliminate the child labour practices once the situation made its way into mainstream media. But small growers and chocolate companies like Aschenti have a much better chance of making sure that they are dealing only with farms that use ethical and environmentally friendly practices. Plus, it eliminates the middle man, so more money goes directly to the farmers and less to unethical go-betweens.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  35. Pat says:

    Will be adding their shop on my next to see list when we come back for a visit. Great location for them!

  36. Wendy Peck says:

    This is a timely article, Doreen. My grandson is in town this week, and I’m adding this to our stops. I love showing him behind-the-scenes on anything, and chocolate is one he is sure to care about. He is nine now, and Wow! is getting harder to find. Thanks for keeping us aware of what is happening on the Winnipeg chocolate scene.

  37. Mar Pages says:

    This is just such an amazing story. I love that they grow their own beans in Cameroon and then bring them through to sell in Manitoba. Bean-to-bar organic chocolate is most definitely the best kind in my books, because then the farmers get the cut they they deserve – no middleman or cheap (child) labour. Looking forward to their online store popping up.

  38. Frances says:

    Great article! I am so interested in “farm to table / bar” businesses. I will definitely make a visit on my next trip to Winnipeg!

  39. Catarina says:

    Would be really good if more chocolate makers start growing their own cocoa in Africa. Will be interesting to see if that’s a new trend.
    Catarina recently posted…Holiday Reading: Balance and harmony through the artsMy Profile

    • Hi Catarina and thanks for your comment. I do indeed think this is a trend that is slowly sweeping the continent of Africa. I know that there are chocolate makers in Madagascar who are making chocolate with locally grown beans, and the same in Sao Tome. All the best to you in 2017, and thanks for being a frequent commenter on this blog.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  40. Trendisoft says:

    That’s a real gift for Winnipeg City to have Achenti Cocoa opening!
    Enjoy the real chocolate from natural beans.

    Doreen Pendgracs did a great job covering this chocolate factory venture in Winnipeg!

  41. Interesting: plant to bar. And the child labor exclusion…that was great…thanks
    Marvin Dittfurth recently posted…The Cable in the DirtMy Profile

  42. Excellent coverage of several important issues in this article, Doreen. Thank you for asking about child labor and looking into the facts about Cameroon for us.
    TammyJo Eckhart recently posted…Desserts for National Card Playing DayMy Profile

    • You’re very welcome, TammyJo. It is very encouraging to see that the African countries in which child labour was a real issue have truly begun to change things around. Definitely on the small producer side it is easier to control, as in the case of Aschenti, they are growing most of the cacao that they are using to produce their cocoa, and are buying the rest from farmers that they know. All the best for you in 2017.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Winnipeg welcomes Aschenti CocoaMy Profile

  43. Sounds wonderful. There’s nothing like that in my end of the country!

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