At Denman Island Chocolate we believe in the importance of beauty in all aspects of our business. We start with our factory. Think factory and you might imagine concrete blocks and smokestacks. Well, we wanted to do things differently. Our factory is perched on top of a bluff overlooking ocean and mountains. We are surrounded by trees that are protected by a permanent conservation covenant we put in place in 2006. The building itself is all curves, with lots of wood and glass. We have used building materials and techniques appropriate for our bioregion, including recycled fir boards and Paperstone countertops (made of recycled cardboard and cashew shell resins) in the staff kitchen. We use a heat pump and wood stove to keep our factory warm in the winter and natural ventilation and tree cover help keep us cool in the summer. We love being surrounded by this beauty. We also think that it is important to create and be a part of beauty in order to make a product that we can make and send to you with the realisation that it doesn't just taste good; it is good.
the chocolate factory
Yes, there really is a Denman Island. It is one of the northern Gulf Islands, a string of small islands dotted through the Salish Sea, which lies between much larger Vancouver Island the British Columbia mainland. It is a short ferry ride from Vancouver Island to Denman Island, where residents and visitors find themselves in a little rural Arcadia. It's green - although heavy logging that took place in the 1990's is only now starting to look a little less brown - and we have lakes and lots of beautiful beaches. Everyone knows everyone else - and everyone else's business - and we don't lock our doors.
Denman Island may not be the simplest place in which to run a chocolate factory, but it has its perks. The factory is nestled on top of a ridge among arbutus and Douglas Fir trees, with an understory of moss, salal, ferns and - in season - calypso orchids and chocolate orchids. Yes, really. We see deer walk by our windows almost every day. Bald eagles and turkey vultures ride the thermal currents that sweep up the ridge. And, in the summer, if we're really quiet, we can hear the thin arbutus bark crackle as it peels off the trees. It's a great place to work.