Accessible Fine Chocolate & Fine Chocolate Education!
1) The Finest Bean to bar dark chocolate
I offer both my house made micro-batch chocolate and fine chocolate from other high calibre makers, all used in my workshops, classes, meetups, and chocolate subscriptions (coming soon!).
The house made chocolate contains only 2 ingredients (fairly traded cacao and sugar), is plant-based, and organic when possible. The chocolate made by other makers reflects similar values.
2) The Finest Evidence-based education
If we desire a world of quality, then we have to learn how to support it, and that comes simply from learning the facts and thinking for yourself. Instead of blindly following social media trend setters, focus on the men and women who actually dedicate their lives to genuine work and research within the industry.
I focus my curriculum on peer-reviewed research articles, research based books, first hand experience, and communicating with makers and researchers directly.
Although I understand that quality comes at a cost, this idea is often used an excuse to highly inflate prices. This is a great deterrent to getting more people to appreciate fine chocolate.
My services and products are offered at the most reasonable and sustainable price possible to ensure I can continue to offer them, while also giving you the best value for what you purchase. The fine chocolate industry is not just for pretentious chocolate snobs, but for anyone willing to appreciate the craft.
Connect with Geoseph
I love answering questions, receiving feedback, and helping you on your journey with chocolate.
Video chat right here on my website, from anywhere in the world! It’s as easy as 2 clicks.
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Classes, Workshops, & Meetups are held at various locations, such as The Italian Cultural Centre and others. Private Events can be held anywhere within the Greater Vancouver Area.
About Geoseph Domenichiello
Master Chocolatier · Chocolate Sommelier · Bean To Bar Maker · Educator
I grew up in the Italian community of Woodbridge, Ontario, where quality craftsmanship, Southern Italian food, and the spirit of sharing surrounded me. From this grew my belief that chocolate should unite beautiful flavour with skillful craftsmanship; something worth sharing.
My lifelong passions of animals, art, and food steered me towards studying Biology, Zoology, and Fine Arts at the University of Toronto, where I received my Bachelor of Science. Upon graduating, my passion for food drew me toward George Brown College, where I honed in on my skills in the Pastry Arts Program. It was here where I came across a job posting for a chocolate sommelier, and after taking on the position in 2008, I have been forever dedicated to chocolate. I have also completed teaching education courses at Vancouver Community College.
For over a decade, I’ve worked for top and internationally acclaimed chocolateries, winning awards for my work. I have been lucky to work in Toronto, Vancouver, & New Zealand. During this time, I have continued to research and educate in the name of fine chocolate, while developing my own chocolate curriculum.
My passion is currently focused on educating others on fine bean to bar chocolate. Understanding fine chocolate is the foundation for mastering anything else in the world of chocolate. My goal is to break down misconceptions while elevating the level of knowledge of chocolate for the general public. I’m always open to collaborating or finding new ways to educate others on fine chocolate.
I work in Vancouver as a chocolatier & chocolate educator, conducting tastings, bean to bar classes, chocolatier workshops, and bean to bar meetups. I continue to work on my research blog, host private events, teach online with my CWG live video chat, as well as develop innovative tasting tools. My goal is reach out to as many people as possible to introduce them to the satisfying world of fine chocolate.
Outside this realm, my time is spent staying active (need to balance out the chocolate consumption!) and non-stop reading. My non-chocolate experiences have included work such as working in the balloon industry, herpetology, crisis counselling, and even in a guppy behaviour lab. Life is about exploring.
In The Media
+ Do you make your own chocolate from bean to bar?
Yes. I use this chocolate in many of my chocolatier classes and tasting workshops. I source high-quality single origin or single estate cacao that is fairly traded. My dark bean to bar chocolate only contains cacao beans and just enough sugar, no extra cocoa butter or other ingredients. I don't currently sell my chocolate in bar or bonbon form yet.
I also use fine chocolate from other bean to bar makers to help expose you to the different ways chocolate can taste, as well as to help support my fellow craftsmen and highlight those I believe are worth supporting. These bars are used in tasting workshops and also available for retail through my site or at certain events.
+ What ingredients do you use in your chocolate?
My house made micro-batch dark chocolate (made in 4 kilo batches or less), is made from high quality fairly traded single origin cacao, and just enough sugar to bring out the flavour. Just these two ingredients. I do not add extra cocoa butter, any lecithin, "natural" or artificial flavourings, gluten, or any additional fats or non-cocoa butter fats, or any colouring agents. Unless otherwise stated, most of my chocolate is dark and plant based.
When I select fine chocolate from other makers to use in my workshops or tastings, I only select other high calibre makers who focus on using high quality and fairly traded ingredients, with similar values to my own.
On the other hand, chocolate confections (truffles, etc.) made in my classes will include dairy, nuts, or gluten depending on what we are making. However, the chocolate used in these classes will most often be dark chocolate made from cacao and sugar only.
I do teach some other chocolateir classes at other establishments, and in those cases use the couvature chocolate offered by them.
If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
+ Are you or this website affiliated with any organization?
No, including myself and my website. I am an independent researcher and chocolate educator, learning and teaching since 2008. I have a passion for science, knowledge, and chocolate, and combine these together to offer you an honest look into the world of chocolate. I have nothing against many chocolate or cacao related organizations, but I'm not working with them.
+ What is the purpose of this website?
To educate you about fine dark chocolate industry, in order to make you a more informed and confident consumer. I feel this will allow you to enjoy more satisfying chocolate while also supporting those business with values inline with your own.
Many talented and skilful researchers, chocolate makers, chocolatiers, and many others, are overlooked due to the fact that their energy is focused on quality, transparency, and fairness to those in the industry. Putting your trust in labels, marketing, and certifications often directs you away from those who care most about the integrity of the chocolate than their image or bank accounts.
+ What are your qualifications?
I'm a professional chocolatier, chocolate sommelier, bean to bar chocolate maker, and chocolate educator. I have been creating and educating for over a decade. This is long before any credential based certifications existed for chocolate sommeliers. My training as a chocolatier came from where most receive it, a little in pastry school and the rest on the job! I obtained my BSc from the University of Toronto with a focus on biology, and received college level training within the realm of pastry and teaching, all of which have helped shape what I do and teach.
What sets me apart from most chocolate educators is that I pursue my own research revolving around the science, history, and manufacturing of chocolate. I delve into research based books (not blogs, magazines, or social media), published research articles from scientific journals, and correspond with researchers and chocolate makers directly. Going to the source of the information is the only way to be objective, confident, and relevant within the industry. Most chocolate educators, or their mimics (such as trendy lifestyle bloggers or self-proclaimed journalists), don't base their knowledge on evidence, but on recycled information that is never fact-checked.
There really isn't any one body that governs credentials for a chocolate sommelier at this point. There are a few emerging today, but this has occured long after I and others began this journey of fine chocolate education. It will take time for these organizations to be accepted as legitimate.
Currently, anyone who trains or educates others to be chocolate sommeliers or connoisseurs are self taught themselves (with varying levels of skills and expertise). Chocolate sommeliers who base their knowledge on primary research (scientific articles, well cited publications) as well as first hand experience within the industry are the most qualified. Often, the most trusted are the most transparent about their credentials.
+ Does being a Chocolatier conflict with being a Chocolate Sommelier?
Yes. It does.
You may ask "How can you talk in your workshops about quality and dark chocolate, and later make sweet confections and colourful bon bons?"
For one, I'm not a purist. I understand the degrees of quality within chocolate, and although my values lean closer towards the purist, I'm also a realist. I don't believe it's somehow beneath me or hypocritical to enjoy chocolate others might consider lower quality. It's still food, and it still serves a purpose. To consider it garbage is to consider the work of the people who helped make it worthless, and their work in vain.
I have the utmost appreciation for a higher percentage, dark chocolate bar made from quality beans, processed by a skilled chocolate maker, and contains an array of distinct, clear, and harmonious aromas. To me, there is no chocolate more wonderful and worth seeking.
I also crave the world of craftsmanship. Since I was a child I worked with clay, wax, and wood to create all sorts of creatures. Chocolate is my medium to quench that desire in me. As well, my work as a chocolatier is often framed within my place of employment, and the expectations they have of the chocolate they wish to sell. Some I've worked for prefer the "purist" route, while others prefer the showy bright cute confections most people still seek.
I will always be a purist at heart, but I feel being a purist encourages self-righteousness, which is a huge turn off to the very people I'm trying to reach.
+ Why do your workshops focus only on dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate (containing cocoa bean and low amounts of sugar) allows you to appreciate the aromas that exist within the chocolate which originate from the cocoa bean and how it was processed. This is an area that most people either never experience, or don't have the tools necessary to experience it.
Adding other ingredients such as milk, vanilla, or nuts, would distract from the purpose of many fine chocolate tastings. This is similar to drinking espresso to appreciate the coffee beans, or a wine tasting. It allows you to taste the complex flavours without being distracted by additional ingredients.
That's not to say milk chocolate or other chocolate is somehow beneath dark chocolate. You can have a milk chocolate tasting as well. However, my tastings often focus on appreciating your chocolate "neat." If you want to fully understand chocolate, you need to start with the fundamentals, the basics, and go from there, and plain dark chocolate allows you to do that.
An artist learns to draw and shade before they paint, a musician learns chords and scales before playing a song, and in order to move forward with chocolate, you first need to learn how to taste dark chocolate!
+ Who are the workshops intended for?
Honestly, everyone. Whether you just love to learn about food, have a passion for chocolate, want to improve your skills at home, or want to open up your own chocolate shop, my classes and workshops can help you acheive that.
Although I developed these workshops to increase the level of knowledge for the consumer, the truth is, the level of information offered in my classes exceeds the information found at most culinary institutions. If you have any questions about which class is right for you, contact me, and I'm happy to answer any question you have!