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Katie and Kyle Wilson never thought of chocolate as a career choice. For them, chocolate was commercial candy bars, giant factories, and conveyor belts of mass-produced bars. That was, until a fateful trip to New Zealand opened them up to the world of bean-to-bar chocolate.

During their trip, the couple was blown away by the complex and diverse flavours of single-origin chocolate from around the globe.  It was a new experience, and one that helped them envision a clearer picture of what they wanted to do.

Upon their return to Canada, Katie wasted no time in acquiring a refiner and experimenting with recipes. Through trial and error, she created test batches of the hand-roasted bean-to-bar chocolate that would later become Soul Chocolate’s signature offering.


Katie & Kyle Wilson in their Toronto shop



Katie and Kyle have come a long way from the “aha” moment experienced 14,000 km away in New Zealand. The couple spent months studying the art and science of chocolate as they navigated the challenges of being a new small business. In addition to being successful entrepreneurs and creating delicious chocolate, they also remain true to their vision of shifting the way people think about chocolate.

How do they do this? They love to educate chocolate fans about their bean-to-bar process -  from sourcing the cacao at origin, all the way to refining, tempering and moulding the chocolate at their tiny shop in Toronto, Ontario.



We recently caught up with Kyle to chat more about what’s new with Soul Chocolate, and to find out how their chocolate gets from bean, to bar, to inside our delicious chocolate gifts.

What’s the best feedback you’ve ever gotten about your product?

My nana gave the best feedback, as she typically eats only commercial milk chocolate. She is a brutally honest woman, which I can appreciate, so when she said she loved our bars, it meant something pretty big!

What gets you excited about going to work everyday?

Each day is really never the same. Today for example, I finished testing some chocolate croissants for our shop (yum). Even the challenging days are great, because I know we can overcome them and learn something important.

What sets you apart from other chocolate makers?

We are here to make chocolate with no sacrifices, adding as little as we can into our bars, so you can really experience the terroir of cacao. It’s quite fascinating to try chocolate from Madagascar beside some from Ecuador, because they are wildly different.

A rainbow of cacao pods in a marketplace in Peru.
Source: Soul Chocolate on Instagram


Sustainability is also number one - that is from the paper we use for our wrappers, to making sure the farmers we work with are paid enough to stay excited.

Quality cacao obviously makes a difference in your bars. How do you source your cacao?

We currently buy most of our cacao through those who are transparently sourcing cacao. They are able to buy in container loads, and share the cacao with businesses like us. Directly sourcing takes a certain scale to the business for it to make sense. We are getting close to that now. We have an upcoming trip to  Colombia that should allow us to finally make the face to face deals we have been talking about for some time. The closer we can get to the grower, the less hands the cacao travels through, allowing more money to end up at the farm itself.

We have found it difficult in the past to just show up in a country and find the right connections. Over the past year, our process has changed, and we are spending more time finding the right people to talk with beforehand. That way when we are committing to flying somewhere, we can spend more time tasting cacao, finding what we love, and then getting it shipped back to Canada.

You and Katie travel a lot for your business - tell me about what that’s like.

We rarely go to the same place twice, which keeps it exciting. I am eager to head down to Colombia in November this year. We have met a coffee producer named Chalo Fernandez, who now spends part of his time in the GTA. His family has a farm in Colombia, and although he is coffee focused, producing some of the top coffee from Colombia, he has offered to help connect us with local producers of cacao.

What are some of your favourite travel memories?

When I reflect back, Kenya and Tanzania had the most of an impact on me when traveling. These countries are where we first saw coffee and cacao for the first time, in person.

In Kenya, we visited coffee plantations. I actually used to brew the coffee from these plantations when I worked at Te Aro Coffee Roasters. It was eye opening to see that come full circle. And although I worked on fruit farms in my teens and early 20s, I never thought that so much work would be involved in something most drink on a daily basis.

Tanzania was a tougher travel experience. We took a lot more trains and buses, and it was hard to find the right areas for cacao. We ended up in the Southwest region of Tanzania, named Mbeya, and from there we were able to connect with a couple of individuals who helped us get to the growing regions. Once again, it was eye opening to see cacao as a fruit, because it looks so weird, and tastes so good (the fruit itself is sweet yet tart, kind of like lychee, or a jolly rancher). Connecting with those who are growing the cacao really makes you connected to the whole process. You look at the final product through a different lens.


Sampling fermented cacao in Peru
Source: Soul Chocolate on Instagram


What’s next for Soul Chocolate?

Our big goal is to open a production space / tasting bar in Niagara, on the wine route. We are from the region, and would love some space to return to, so we can grow everything we need to add into our chocolate.