Jojo Coco is your destination for curated artisanal chocolate
Joanne Mutter is an admitted chocoholic. The owner of Jojo Coco Chocolate on Terry Fox Drive in Kanata fondly remembers as a child getting sweets sent to her from family in the U.K.
After a career in retail, she decided to make her love of chocolate her retirement.
Mutter attended Ecole Chocolat in B.C. but soon realized that the chocolate-making business wasn’t her cup of cocoa. Selling delicious chocolate from all over the world though seemed like a better idea, especially when combined with her years of retail experience.
Jojo Coco lives by the motto “Bean to Bar.” Mutter explains that every chocolate bar is made from cacao beans but bean-to-bar artisan chocolate is made from quality fair trade beans from specific plantations. Mutter says that artisan makers, “get the chocolate imported to them rather than having it premade, and they determine the flavour.”
Munter says that artisanal chocolate makers can control, “how they’re going to roast the beans, what flavours will be added. The whole idea is to highlight the natural flavour of the bean.”
Chocolate from all over the world is available at Jojo Coco. An extensive map showing the chocolate growing regions of the world is behind the cash. The store shelves include products from the Latin American countries that first produced chocolate, like Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico, and other lesser-known cacao producers like Madagascar and Vietnam.
There are also unique brands like Firetree, which makes all of its chocolate from beans grown in the rich, porous volcanic soil of the Pacific and Oceania islands.
Mutter says that all the cocoa-producing countries are found within 20 degrees of either side of the equator but offer very different flavour profiles.
Mutter loves Canadian-made chocolate. Canadian brand Palette De Bine is her go-to for dark chocolate, along with local company Hummingbird, who she says is the rockstar of her shop.
When asked what her favourite is, Mutter says that most people assume that she eats mostly dark chocolate because it features prominently in her store but she says: “I don’t have a favourite because my taste can change with the day . . . I like up to 100 per cent cocoa with no sugar, but there are days when I really want really creamy milk chocolate with some fruit thrown in, so it just depends.”
Jojo Coco has plenty of different options for Valentine’s Day. On top of the usual chocolate hearts and truffles are unique candy bars, like a caramelized white chocolate and sea salt bar from Iceland or a strawberry chunk bar with pop rocks. There are also Valentine’s Day truffles from B.C. and Newfoundland-made chocolate hearts filled with whiskey, that look more like works of art.
Jojo Coco offers a monthly subscription service. Mutter personally picks out four premium chocolate bars and includes a note describing what makes each bar unique. The service doesn’t run during the summer months but fear not, Mutter also curates chocolate collection boxes that you can order for pick up or buy in-store.
The store’s website offers excellent pairing suggestions for the whiskey lover. From Scotch whiskey to Canadian whiskey and Irish whiskey, there are suggestions on what chocolates best accompany each.
If wine is more your style, there is a wine pairing page and there are also options for pairing beers with the best Jojo Coco chocolates. Thinking that you prefer cheese with your beverages? There are recommendations for chocolate and cheese pairings too.
The diverse range of artisan-crafted products makes Jojo Coco a chocolate store worth visiting.
You might learn a thing or two about were cacao is grown and produced and you can try some Canadian-made brands like Hummingbird for yourself.
Visit Jojo Coco Chocolate at 499 Terry Fox Drive, Kanata or online at jojococo.ca
PHOTO: Mckenzie Donovan