Xocodiva Artisan Chocolates of Puerto Vallarta

While eating my way around Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in 2015, as always, I had chocolate on my brain. I was told there was only one option worth exploring if I wanted to find the best chocolate in Puerto Vallarta, and that was Xocodiva Artisan Chocolates.

I had the pleasure of meeting Charlotte Semple and Carole Fast, the two ex-pat Canadian chocolatiers who founded Xocodiva Artisan Chocolates in the heart of Puerto Vallarta (PV). Charlotte ran the retail shop with some very friendly staff while Carole made most of the chocolate in the Xocodiva workshop at a nearby location. Charlotte is highly creative, and took pleasure in designing the chocolates and helping develop the recipes for the Xocodiva creations.

charlotte-semple

Charlotte Semple (centre) is flanked by her always-smiling staff at Xocodiva Artisan Chocolates in the heart of Puerto Vallarta.

chocolate in puerto vallarta

The creative team of Semple and Fast–who hail from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada–moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2006 after searching for just the right Mexican location for their shop. With a lot of chocolate knowledge under their collective belts and the goal to create a new chocolate taste in Mexico’s favourite resort town, Xocodiva Chocolates was born. “Our philosophy is to mix European chocolate artistry with Meso American culture,” says Charlotte. “Our chocolates are European-style, but honour the different Mayan gods.”

xocodiva-chocolate

The Ek Chuah 73% dark chocolate bar by Xocodiva is a tribute to the Mayan God of Merchants.

Xocodiva offered five different chocolate bars made from Mexican-grown cocoa, and 38 different flavours of fresh chocolates from couverture that included ganaches, truffles, mendicants, and other confections. I loved the ganache made with locally sourced passionfruit blended with 73% dark and white chocolate. The optimum shelf life of the fresh chocolates is just 1-3 weeks, so enjoying the chocolates while visiting PV was a pleasure for visitors–especially their fellow Canadians!

xocodiva-chocolates

In addition to the fresh-made chocolates at Xocodiva, you will also find a great assortment of chocolate bars and barks, and can even purchase a bag of Mexican cacao beans to savour.

I also loved the maple walnut ganaches, which are a tribute to the couple’s Canadian heritage, as they are made with Canadian maple syrup and are absolutely delicious! Another Xocodiva specialty was the candied orange peel made from locally grown oranges. “We bring the oranges up to a gentle boil, and then let them cool down and repeat the process over the course of nine days,” says Charlotte. “Because we’re in the heart of the tourist district, we get a lot of international tourists , so we cater to them by offering international flavours. In addition to our candied orange peels, the French truffles filled with French champagne is another popular specialty of our shop.”

Xocodiva also makes ice-cream and sells it at their ice-cream shop next door to the chocolate shop. What could be better than salted caramel with candied pecan, their most popular flavour? Look for the “Lix by Xocodiva” sign on Basilio Badillo. And if that’s not enough, Charlotte also coordinates the “Old Town Farmers’ Market” that offers more than 90 booths featuring locally grown and made products. I missed it on my most recent trip to PV. Maybe I’ll be lucky and will find my way to the market on my next visit to Puerto Vallarta, as I find local markets to be a highlight of my travels.

Update to post: I learned that in the fall of 2016, Xocodiva closed its doors as Charlotte and Carol chose to change their focus and move on to a new chapter in their lives. The business has been purchased by a dynamic couple that is now making chocolate in Puerto Vallarta under the Xoxodiva name. They don’t yet have a website, but you can then via facebook here.

Update #2: In 2017, a chocolate museum was opened in Puerto Vallarta. It is part of the ChocoMuseo family of chocolate museums that you will find in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and now Mexico. Visit their website here.

 

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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.

41 Responses

  1. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow that Charlotte stays busy, doesn’t she? Sounds like she has a series of fabulous international chocolates to appeal to the vacationing crowds. And a farmer’s market in PV, oh I can’t even begin to imagine the different delights you’d find there. That sounds like the place to go.
    Susan cooper recently posted…Sera Fina Cellars – Cinque Wines: #WineMy Profile

  2. Kathy Andrew
    Twitter:
    says:

    Sounds wonderful. Chocolate & ice-cream ? Oh my goodness. How great to meet two Canadian expats down there in your field.

  3. Yummy! You have to send me some! We can do a trade for some German chocolate!
    Jennifer McMillen recently posted…How To Save Money Traveling with Kids: Kid Friendly Europe 101My Profile

  4. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    The chocolates look so well presented – almost too good to eat. With Christmas approaching, they will make ideal gifts to the chocolate lovers out there – me me!

    The big bar of dark chocolate has my name on it. I try not to dribble when reading your posts!
    Phoenicia recently posted…Do you embrace your ‘role’ as a woman?My Profile

  5. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    How cool to find expat Canadians making chocolate in Mexico! Their chocolates sound delicious. I’d like to try the one with candied orange peel.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Evoking Travel MemoryMy Profile

  6. Beth Niebuhr
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oooh! My favorite things. Oh, salted caramel with candied pecan! The mix of European and Mexican sounds fabulous. What a great place to check out next time I’m there!
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…How to Survey Your PeepsMy Profile

  7. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love the idea of maple walnut ganache, though each variety sounds utterly tempting. It never ceases to amaze me how many ingredients can be added to chocolate to take it to an entirely new level.
    Jeri recently posted…#LiteraryCriticism: How to Read a Personal Essay (Walmart Style)My Profile

  8. How lovely the packaging and presentation is! I don’t often eat chocolate but if I do indulge it’s dark chocolate so this looks SO tempting. What a marvelous job you have Doreen!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Essential Keys to Unleashing Your Inner StrengthMy Profile

  9. Ken Dowell
    Twitter:
    says:

    I don’t eat that much chocolate and have never considered myself to be much of a chocolate fan. But I have to say your blog posts are making me rethink that. This one is particular sounds delicious.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Vintage Advertising Slogans: A Pop QuizMy Profile

    • Thanks very much, Ken. That’s precisely my goal: To get people to think about chocolate in a different way. It’s not just candy, if you seek out the right stuff. Look for artisanal chocolate that only has 2-3 ingredients (cocoa, a small amount of organic cane sugar, and perhaps an additional flavouring enhancement) and you’ll be on the right track!

  10. These look absolutely beautiful! And we eat with our eyes first, right? And I love the brand name Xocodiva. Charlotte’s life sounds very full and super busy meaning she must have a ton of energy. Maybe the chocolate has something to do with that? Hmmmmm
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Truth… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Absolutely, Jacquie! Pure chocolate definitely gives you more energy, and makes you feel better, too. Couple that with the fact that Charlotte is eating a lot of natural organic foods that she sources through the farmers’ market and she’s definitely on the right track! 🙂

  11. Reading this, I started to itemize the available chocolate in my house…hm…Halloween candy for the kids, maybe a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate…Sigh, nothing remotely as gorgeous and appetizing as what you are presenting here. Love the chocolates and love the story!

  12. Karrie
    Twitter:
    says:

    I got hungry while reading this! haha It’s 2:18 am here in Singapore and there’s no chocolate in the fridge haha Mexico is on my bucket list too and I want to visit the el castillo, chichen itza. 🙂 Thanks for making me hungry, Doreen! kidding! 😀

  13. Linda Paul
    Twitter:
    says:

    The maple walnut ganaches have my name on them. Those sound to die for. The ice cream too!
    Linda Paul recently posted…Perched on the edge of damnationMy Profile

  14. I love their creative idea of mixing European and Meso American culture. And their attitude to take that leap of faith and make the move to PV . That took guts. Kudos to these Ladies!
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…Enhancing Self-Sufficiency In PreschoolersMy Profile

  15. I liked reading your post very much. It did bring up an interesting question I had. You mentioned Maple Syrup, and I was wondering does distance have an impact on candy? Does being further away make the maple syrup candy taste different, or does chocolate take better when it comes closer to the source?
    Just wondering.
    William Rusho recently posted…The Monster Movie/Horror Host; a History and Tribute.My Profile

    • Hi Wiiliam. Thx for your great question, and please accept my reply for a tardy reply. I have been (and am still) travelling in Mexico without a good internet connection.

      The maple syrup that Xocodiva uses in their chocolate is Canadian, so it does indeed have a very special flavour. That flavour will be the same as if consumed in Canada, as that product travels well. When you are dealing with fresh chocolates, overall, they don’t travel well as they are delicate and made without preservative. Therefore, if you are travelling, and wish to take chocolate a long distance with you, it’s best to puchase the solid dark chocolate bars, as they have a shelf life of at least one year.

  16. Erin
    Twitter:
    says:

    So much chocolate!!! And yet I’d go for those maple walnut ganaches first because MAPLE!!!! Yum. Sounds amazing.
    Erin recently posted…Kilmurvey House: The Luxurious B&B At the Edge of the WorldMy Profile

  17. Lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, here it is 5am and I am wanting some of those French truffles filled with champagne. I have a funny story here – my mother used to love those chocolate soldiers filled with rum that came from Holland. Now she was basically a non-drinker, maybe a glass of wine at Christmas but that was about it. Someone gave her a box of those chocolate soldiers and she feasted on throughout the day and she became quite ‘happy’. Wonder if the same thing happens with those truffles – would love the opportunity to try.
    Lenie recently posted…Winter Readiness ChecklistMy Profile

  18. Elizabeth
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow! These look good, especially the dark chocolate! And I love the name- it sounds decadent!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Quick Easy Mekong Inspired Omelette with Peanut SauceMy Profile

  19. The chocolates look so yummy especially the dark one.
    Chocolate and icecream . . . . . Oh lawd!
    What a fantastic job you’ve got Doreen?
    Can we swap jobs?
    SafariOnTheBlog recently posted…The Cocktail Masterclass at The GŎNG Bar, The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard London.My Profile

  20. Oh wow! This is a delightful blog. Thanks for sharing the different, exotic chocolates. Yum!
    Mahal Hudson recently posted…Good life…does it exist?My Profile

  21. Man, salted with sweet gelato has been my ultimate favourite this summer! I have a love/hate relationship with your blog – it makes me reach for the kitchen cupboards after reading! Great post.
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…Hail! No Hail! Uber Glasgow is HereMy Profile

  22. Oh wow!!! Love this post! A very mouthwatering article! <3
    Mary Charie recently posted…11 Ways to Own Your Stay in Yangon, MyanmarMy Profile

  23. Kathleen says:

    update to post . ‘xocodiva’ lives!

    hey this is kathleen, one of the new owners of xocodiva and lix!!! my hubby todd and i vacationed in pv last may (my first time), we fell in love with this gem of a place, walked into a chocolate shop (i’m a chocoholic) which had a sign outside that said ‘how’d you like to own a business in pv? YES YES YES!!!

    so we sold our house, left our careers, hopped in the car with our two greyhounds and said ‘adios’ cold chicago snow! hola sunny puerto vallarta!

    we’re more than EXCITED to be the new owners since february of this year (2017)!!! including hands on… todd’s handmaking all the european chocolate and ice cream mixin’s – it’s AHHH-MAAAZING!!! he’s also experimenting with new flavors (raspberry hazelnut, earl grey tea and mint – so far) and artsy colors!

    we’ll have a new website and fbook soon… in the meantime, contact us for any questions!

    gracias, kathleen
    xocodiva.pv@gmail.com

  24. Kathleen says:

    thanks doreen, can’t wait to meet you and will let you know when our site is up 🙂

    roses are red
    violets are blue
    sugar is sweet
    and chocolate is the best thing in the universe

    xo kathleen

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