Wheeling and dealing irresistible indulgent treats for ten years and counting, the Newfoundland Chocolate Company proudly carries the torch for local culture
As a kid, there are two universal truths when you think of Easter. Sure, many of us attended Easter Sunday service or the Sunday School sessions in the leadup, but for a kid, it all comes down to bouncing bunnies with their brightly adorned eggs and chocolate.
Springtime sweet stuff
You can’t beat chocolate at Easter time. From the egg hunt, to the hollowed out bunnies that you’d garb down to the point of illness, the sweet stuff and this particular period of Springtime go together like peanut butter and jelly, or fish and chips and malt vinegar!
Few do chocolate better than Newfoundland Chocolate Company, who celebrated their 10 year anniversary in 2008.
Becoming a Newfoundland institution in relatively short order, the story of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company is one that rose from humble beginnings, born in the basement of husband and wife team Brent Smith and Christina Dove.
“It started as a hobby more than a business,” Smith tells The Herald. “The first ambition was to sell enough chocolate to get the kids to Walt Disney World. That was it man. Christiana and I were both in jobs, careers, trying to make ends meet. We started the chocolate as a little hobby, and it’s an easy hobby to get into. We’re both passionate about great food, have a love for great chocolate having had some travels in Europe a few years ago. Once you taste the really great stuff it’s hard to go back to the ordinary.”
Excursions to Europe would change the couple’s opinion on chocolate tenfold. No longer would Hershey’s be able to cull the cravings for high quality sugary stuff in comparison to the rich indulgent chocolates of Belgium.
“It completely changed it. Growing up in North America, there’s an American pallet for chocolate, which was really established by Hershey. Hershey became the go-to chocolate for the everyday man back 100 years ago. Until then, chocolate was basically out of reach for most people. Hershey made it affordable, so there’s a certain taste that’s associated with Hershey that the rest of the North American producers basically followed suite. The European chocolate went a different way though. It’s no added oils, higher coco butter content, better coco beans. European chocolate does tend to be sold at a premium, and there’s a reason for it. It is better chocolate. Once you taste it you can’t go back to the Hershey’s kisses.”
From day one Brent and Christiana have strived to merge high quality chocolate and indulgent local ingredients with a branding that celebrated the very fabric of what it means to be a Newfoundlander and Labradorian. Putting our name in the forefront then meant a commitment to excellence.
“From the start we married this idea of wanting to marry together fabulous chocolate and wanting to put Newfoundland’s name on it. Therefore there was a responsibility there that we can’t be making a sub-par chocolate. We want this to be an ambassador product for Newfoundland. We want this to be a product that people are proud to give and say it’s from this place. The two things married very well.”
Newfoundlandia is the cornerstone of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company brand. To the decadent boxes of chocolate that spotlight and celebrate local regions, to highly popular bars packaged in notable local sayings, there’s a level of commitment and respect to Newfoundland and Labrador that carries through with each and every item sold through the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.
“It’s the big why of the company. It’s one of those ah-ha! moments for the company early on of realizing that to grow and to continue to be passionate about what we’re doing, we had to be able to articulate why we’re doing it and why we got into business in the first place. We recognized it wasn’t to make money. The big why was to celebrate Newfoundland and chocolate was a vehicle for doing that. We do use the word responsibility a lot and we do see ourselves as ambassadors for Newfoundland. The chocolate has to be top notch, but the branding has to be top notch as well. It has to be respectful.”
And yes, the Newfoundland Chocolate Company celebrate the sweeter side of the holidays unlike few others. Easter is a particularly high profile time of year for the brand. Rollin’ out hand painted chocolate eggs, and mouthwatering bunnies with unique flavours to connect to baymen, townies and even come from aways, indulging has never been sweeter thanks to the little-engine-that-could brand that has become a household name.
Recipe for success
The company motto of world class chocolate meets Newfoundland pride is carried through with each sumptuous bite of chocolate. And that is and always will be the recipe for success.
“We’ll never be disparaging towards our culture, it’s celebrating. We love taking those bars up to the mainland and educating mainlanders. What does stun as me arse mean? It started off as very important and to this day, that and the quality of the chocolate are the two most important things we never lose sight of.”
For more visit newfoundlandchocolatecompany.com or visit their Duckworth Street and Avalon Mall locations in St. John’s