Greetings from the owner
By Takanori Chiwata
March 23, 2021
How did you get to know about us? Were you introduced to us by one of your friends? Or did you spot us at a farmers market? Perhaps you found us while surfing the internet?
Nice to meet you. My name is TAKANORI CHIWATA, the owner and the chocolate engineer at COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.
COCONAMA CHOCOLATE is a chocolate shop located in North Vancouver in B.C., Canada.
We manufacture unique flavoured chocolates, treasuring every one of our customers at Farmers’ Markets, local grocery stores including “Whole Foods Market”, and many others.
Our creations include products such as the melt-in-your-mouth “nama chocolate”(Japanese ganache truffles), flavorful chocolate bars with a rich aftertaste, and our “Bean-to-Bar” chocolates, a creation made with full our passion and using our unique and specialized method of roasting and conching raw cocoa beans.
We have been growing ever since we opened our business in 2010, now we share the enjoyment of our products at over 300 farmers markets and over 30 local grocery stores.
Over 300 markets and 30 stores may seem like a large number, but actually, we are a small company consisting of eight employees including the owners (my wife and I).
However, we continue to create high quality products that are second to none with a taste which one cannot experience at any other place. These products are handmade and hand packaged along with our deep appreciation towards our customers.
The reason a small company like ours was able to produce chocolates these past eight years is thanks to our dear customers who took pleasure in our chocolates, and shared about us and our products to many others.
We thank you for the support throughout these years and for your continuous support from the bottom of our hearts.
From here on, I would like to take some time to talk about “what we value the most when making chocolates”.
When one mentions chocolate, you may imagine the colour black, brown, or white, its sweet taste, the nuts filling, etc. Indeed, chocolates are made from cocoa beans and dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and those with nuts mixed in are generally the most common. There are many delicious chocolates out there.
But we strive to create chocolate that astonishes customers, remains in their memory, and drives them to want to share their experience with our chocolate to others.
The smooth texture of our nama chocolates that slowly melts in your mouth with its natural yet powerful taste cannot be experienced at any other stores, and the vibrant colour makes it hard to believe that it does not consist of any artificial colouring. Our “Bean-to-Bar” chocolate of high quality maintains its natural fruitiness that reminds people that the cocoa bean is a fruit. This is only possible through our use of the finest quality of raw cocoa beans and attention to detail when roasting and conching.
Coconama’s chocolates demonstrate its difference from others as soon as it enters your mouth. It fills you with the desire to share the exciting experience of our chocolate with others.
That is exactly what is expressed in our concept, “Connect People with Chocolate”.
There is also one other important meaning hidden in our concept of “Connect People with Chocolate”.
We have visited areas of cocoa production many times.
Cocoa is farmed in tropical regions near the equator. At actual cocoa farms, there are hardly any machines for agricultural use. Unlike other produce cocoa cannot simply be shipped after the harvest. Once the cocoa pods are harvested, farmers must crack the pod, extract the cocoa beans, collect the beans until it reaches a few hundred kilograms, and ferment them for one week. During this period the farmers will have to stir the cocoa beans a few times. Of course, these processes are all done by hand due to the absence of machines. The farmers have no choice but to stir a few hundred kilograms with their very own hands. Once this process has been completed, these beans will be sun dried for several days, sorted into sacks, and finally be shipped out.
This is tremendous work, yet it is still done by hand. For this reason, cocoa beans of the finest quality can be created.
“Connect people with Chocolates” represents that the producers of cocoa beans, us chocolate makers, our customers, and those who use our chocolates as a gift for others are all connected.
If you take a close look at our logo, you can see that the cocoa pod is shaped by human figures. This represents that the joy that is brought through cocoa and chocolates is made possible only through the connection of many people.
The consumers essentially have no need to know any of these things. They only need to enjoy our product.
However, we want people to know. To know what kind of people produce cocoa with what kind of feelings, and to know what thoughts that we, Coconama Chocolate, have for our customers and cocoa producers when creating our chocolates.
What we value the most is communication. If people can communicate through chocolate in an entirely new way, we could not be any happier.
Many of our products have been inspired by our customers. Concerns for the chocolate melting during the summer lead us to the idea of ice packs and cooler boxes, and the demand for a variety in dairy free products resulted in the creation of, at the moment, up to ten dairy free items on our menu. We also created the wasabi flavoured chocolate upon request, and salmon flavour as well through a demand for an additional “Canadian” flavour aside from maple, but these are just a few of our many stories.
We do take particular care in our chocolates, but this means nothing unless they can please our customers. We hope and look forward to learning from our customers’ unique ideas in the future as well.
I majored in food science at a graduate school, and after completing my master’s degree I worked for Japan’s largest chocolate manufacturer “Meiji” as a chocolate researcher. Being able work at one of the top laboratories in Japan for food was very stimulating and enjoyable, but I felt detached from the customers and their voices, which was my initial worry. My research and product development seemed to inevitably be a product of mere self-satisfaction. I continuously questioned myself if my research would do any good for the customers.
So I left my company and came to Vancouver seeking a work environment that allowed me to stay within the reach of our customers. That decision I made proved to be correct. Although our company is small, I am given the chance to interact with our customers everyday, and I am able to feel that I am making products that are appreciated by our customers on a daily basis. My life in Canada is happy as it can be.
Since our company is very small it is difficult for us to merchandise nationally or internationally. However, because we are small we have an advantage of being flexible to our customers’ needs.
For example, some gifts such as wedding gifts can be a once in a lifetime event. It is only natural to have special feelings and thoughts toward it.We not only offer our usual gift wrapping, but also personalized wrapping upon request. The personalization of the selection of flavours is also possible.
We have received good reviews regarding the use of our chocolate as corporate gifts, which can influence the image of the company. We’ve received good reviews from corporate customers who gave our products as gifts to clients who were very pleased to receive our one of a kind products.
As our background is food science, our fundamental knowledge for chocolate is scientific. If you have any questions or concerns regarding chocolate, please feel free to contact us any time.
We Coconama Chocolate hope to be the most familiar chocolate shop for our customers.
We are able to be reached through email or phone at any time.
Please feel free to contact us about delivery services and other requests as well.
I hope you will be able to encounter chocolate just for you.