In the summer of 2016 Cécile and Stan Mozoluk set out on a 30-day challenge to travel across the Maritimes to play around, pairing combinations of local ingredients and chocolate-making. They used ingredients like blueberries, hot peppers and sauerkraut, visited farms and wineries and explored the region, ultimately falling in love with it. You can still follow the path that led them here on their blog, chocolatehackers.com.
"We felt like we had to get off of the classical road of France," Cécile says. The couple, French nationals, had been living in Paris when they started to learn about chocolate, but wanted to open the borders of their imagination and, as they put it, "break the code." This meant finding out where chocolate came from and investigating everything that they could do with it.
It all began when Stan learned the art of chocolate-making from award-winning master chocolatier Christophe Berthelot-Sampic at his bean-to-bar workshops at his unique educational chocolate shop, Atelier C, in Paris. But then, Stan says, "we wanted to break free and do something a little wilder. We travelled a lot in the country and then to South America, Madagascar, Indonesia. We travelled the world as we wanted to collect as much information about cocoa as possible."
"France is a nation of good food and strong culinary heritage, but we didn't feel the freedom to create like we do here," says Cécile, who is self-taught. Together they decided to start a sort of open source chocolate company, to share their knowledge with chocolate lovers in Nova Scotia through Chocolate Hackers.
"We want to be 100 percent transparent about our products," Cécile says. They source the cocoa powder and cocoa butter they use in their single-origin chocolate from a plantation in Madagascar and use fruits and flowers in Nova Scotia to make products—mostly vegan—that have no additives and that showcase natural colours and flavours.
Along with wanting to teach people the art and process of chocolate-making, they also want to make their chocolate as accessible as possible, meaning they are totally open to customizing flavours.
"We have three flavours for now for the coloured chocolate," Cécile says. "Blueberry and ginger is purple, we have a strawberry and vanilla, which is a peach colour, and we have a raspberry and white rose which is a creamy pink. We have our process working and ready to do pretty much anything. And that's really our thing, to make chocolate that is customized for our customers. We could go in many directions. It's a huge playground for creative inspiration."
Cécile has developed dozens of recipes using their chocolate, from candies and cookies to pastries and pies, but this Valentine's Day their inspiration centres on wine. "The martini is a good recipe," Stan says. It combines sweet, buttery maple wine with dark chocolate and blackberry. "It's my pick for Valentine's Day."
The couple is also collaborating on an event with Avondale Sky Winery in Newport on Saturday, February 10 which will see their colourful new chocolates paired with some of the winery's offerings."It will be a good time for lovers," Stan says, "Or even just wine lovers or chocolate lovers, too."
Ingredients (for two glasses)
70 g dark chocolate 70 percent organic
50 g sugar
15 cl water
25 cl maple wine
6 + 2 blackberries
1 tablespoon of cream
Put the glasses in the freezer for one hour.
In a pan, melt the chocolate on low heat with the water and sugar. Leave to cool. Once the chocolate syrup is cold, mix it in a shaker with the maple wine and ⅓ of crushed ice. Mix it well. Mash six of the blackberries and mix with cream. Pour the cocktail in two glasses and carefully pour blackberry cream on top. Decorate with a fresh blackberry. —chocolatehackers.com