We began in 1999 as a passion project to bring awareness of issues in the chocolate industry to a wider audience. Today, we’re Canada’s largest craft chocolate retailer and educator!
As a young chef and restaurateur, David Mincey had gained a great following at his Victoria restaurant “Camille’s” for locally sourced farm-to-table cuisine. For ingredients that couldn’t be grown locally, he found reputable, traceable suppliers.
There was one exception: chocolate. David found it impossible to get any chocolate at that time which did not come from big industrial processing plants in Europe. This is chocolate that was not traceable to a country of origin, a species of tree, or a particular farm. In fact, it seemed to purposely be designed to hide those facts.
David knew there had to be an alternative. He kept searching, and over time realized there was an underground world of chocolate makers who were trying to save chocolate from the big industrial corporations. They were making small-batch craft chocolate in little shops all over the world. They were using rare, heirloom strains of cacao and working with farmers to create a better crop.
He wrote to them (an actual letter, on paper, with a stamp) and ordered some. Their chocolate tasted nothing like the stuff we had all grown up with. An obsession was born.
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After getting a chance to travel and delve deeper into the chocolate world, David felt confident enough to start speaking about what he’d learned to small groups of foodies in Victoria. These classes morphed into lectures at larger centres and then a multi-week chocolate course at the University of Victoria.
He would often feature bars that he had discovered in his travels during these classes, but at this time craft chocolate, was almost impossible to obtain in Canada.
It became clear to David that being able to taste, compare and purchase good chocolate on a regular basis is critical to the creation of a knowledgeable, discerning chocolate lover. He partnered with local businesses in Victoria to set up mini-chocolate stores inside of their stores. We are truly grateful to these visionary owners for giving us our start.
Today, the Chocolate Project carries a curated selection of over 350 different bars from more than 60 bean-to-bar artists from around the world. We can’t wait for you to join us on our journey.
David Mincey is the founder of the Chocolate Project. As a chocolate judge he has to be open minded about all chocolate, but personally he prefers bars on the dark side with tropical, boozy notes. His current favourite cacao source is the Semuliki Forest in Uganda.
If you've been in the store before, you've probably met David already. Always happy to talk about chocolate, you'll learn something new every time you talk to him!
Madison has been working at The Chocolate Project since May 2022 while studying Geography at UVIC. Originally focused on climate change, she hopes to make lasting impacts in the craft-chocolate industry that will heal natural ecosystems and help support cacao growers. Madison is combining her passion for geography and chocolate through her work with UVIC’s Geography Environmental Governance Group.
Madison enjoys surprising tasting notes in her chocolate such as strong tropical liqueur notes in Manoa’s Mililani 70% and bergamot in Amano’s Dos Rios 70%. She also enjoys uncommon flavour combinations such as Askinosie's Salted Licorice Dark Milk bar, the Ritual's Juniper and Lavender bar, and Kasama's Tanned Muscovado bar.
Sophia started working at the Chocolate Project in February of 2022 and is currently studying neuroscience at UVIC. Being that she is passionate about the environment as well as sustainable production practices, Sophia has thoroughly enjoyed becoming more immersed in the bean-to-bar chocolate world and connecting with all the amazing people involved in it!
In terms of chocolate, Sophia enjoys warmer, more earthy bars, with a hint of dried fruit, particularly the SOMA Semuliki Uganda bar. A new favourite of hers is the Fruition Bolivia Beniano dark bar sourced from Tranquilidad, Bolivia. Such a delicate, elegant, and complex bar! She was lucky enough to meet the people behind the magic of Fruition at the 2022 Northwest Chocolate Festival.
Avery has been working with the Chocolate Project since February 2022 whilst studying Theatre and Education at UVIC. She is elated to explore a whole range of her interests from acting, to travel, to special needs education and of course chocolate!
Avery leans to either extreme of chocolate tastes, flipping from citrus fruity explosions like Qantu’s Gran Blanco bar, to rich, molasses, mocha notes in Letterpress's Tranquility bar. She would love to meet any of you happy humans who enjoy all things chocolate.
Sid has been partnered with the Chocolate Project since September 2022 as a master's student in UVIC Geography's Environmental Governance Group. His research focuses on supply chain transparency and how craft chocolate companies talk about cacao origins, and he's thrilled to be diving deep into the world of craft chocolate!
Sid is partial to texturally creamy chocolate bars like Castronovo's Honduras Dark Milk bar and Finnia's Ariari 70% bar, but he's also a huge fan of chocolate with particularly interesting flavours like Rózsavölgyi's Sushi bar!