What defines quality chocolate? Is it the pretty box? Is the ‘snap’ when you break off a piece? Is it the melting velvet coating in your mouth? Is the the beauty of a finely crafted truffle? Is it the way the chocolate was harvested, and the wage paid to the farmer in a land far, far away? Perhaps it is all of these things…and more.
Chocolate. The word itself make children and adults alike smile with anticipation- but to have a piece that was made with loving care is really a feeling like no other. Katharina Ortner has found a way to transform her beautiful chocolate bars and truffles into mini masterpieces. Which really comes as no surprise when you hear about her fascinating story and how her business, Anna Tolazzi came to be.
Katharina grew up in a large family in Austria, and worked as a goldsmith, a job that she never really loved. Her passion has always been art, and when she arrived in Vancouver and attended Emily Carr, she knew she had found her calling. She loves to paint more than anything, however, selling paintings is not always a reliable source of income.
She and her partner moved to Kitchener in 2005 and have been here ever since. After developing rheumatoid arthritis, maintaining a career in art became more difficult. While working in a local shop, Katharina was surprised to see that chocolates were commonly being produced with fillings that come in part, or entirely from factories that produce ready made pastes, flavours and concentrates. Bothered by this, Katharina began to experiment with her own fillings that she made from scratch using the highest quality ingredients she could afford. In 2008, she began her own company, named in memory of her mother, Anna Tolazzi.
Katharina has made it her mission to produce all of her own handmade chocolates completely from scratch, using organic and superior ingredients with no preservatives or cheap fillers. She also chooses to use Fairtrade and organic chocolate so that the workers who produce and harvest, receive fair pay for the work they do.
She wants to make the highest quality she can, while making exquisite chocolate accessible to everyone. Her chocolate rivals the finest in the world, and luckily for us, it’s right here, in our own backyards.
With 27 different flavours of chocolate bars, there is no shortage of variety. Creatively blending ingredients is what truly makes the difference. Katharina realized (by accident) that chocolate will take on the flavour of other ingredients if they are stored together. This has led to some incredibly clever infusions, like her Mark Twain bar, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, and chocolate nibs.
She is constantly creating new truffles which are appropriately displayed in a jewelry case at her location in the kitchener Market. The truffles are divine, and stunningly beautiful. Little jewels elaborately decorated and decadently filled.
The Sustainable Market is proud to be able to offer Anna Tolazzi Artisan Chocolate, and encourage all of you to purchase chocolate that you can feel good about eating and gifting.