“Come to the farmers market and come to Roberts Creek. Talk to me in person. It is really nice to meet new people and talk about chocolate.”
Take A Fancy Chocolate was the only chocolate brand that was made from bean to bar back in the days when Becks started her business out of the farmers markets 11 years ago. Bean-to-bar was still a rare phenomenon in Vancouver back then and she enjoyed educating people on the concept and connecting them with the stories of small cacao farmers.
Becks started small and she intends to keep things small by making her small batch artisan chocolates only available at the farmers markets and at The Folly Artisan Shop, her quaint brick and motor shop and production space, in the heart of Roberts Creek on Sunshine Coast. She fell in love with the Sunshine Coast community years ago when she was taking woodworking classes in Roberts Creek. After she lost her kitchen space in Vancouver, she looked straight into the opportunity of moving to the Coast. The shop is nestled behind the Roberts Creek “main street” where small shops and restaurants gather and it is behind the Gumboot Restaurant and next to the community garden run by One Straw Society, a local organization working for a sustainable and resilient food system on the Sunshine Coast. It is such an ideal, chill place for the chocolatier as she watches occasional deer crossing while she makes chocolate in the kitchen and uses some fresh produce from the next-door garden. The shop is also big enough to showcase fellow small businesses like honey, candles, jam and other local products.
It is also worth the visit to have her super small batch and French custard style ice creams and vegan ‘nice’ creams made from house made coconut and cashew milk. Serving scoops year round at a takeout window of the shop, it is a perfect ice cream stop just minutes from the beach, especially in the summer time.
Good news is that Becks is as enthusiastic about the farmers markets as much as running her own shop. She makes a trip to Vancouver every week during summer shoulder seasons: May to June and September to October at Kitsilano and Trout Lake Farmers Markets. Winter is her biggest market season as it is a perfect chocolate weather! Don’t miss her at Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium every Saturday, just started from November 6th.
Take A Fancy may be hard to get, but you don’t have to look no further shopping for nice holiday gifts. Once you experience her delicious artisan chocolate and ice cream, you want to share it and gift it to as many friends and family as something very special.
VOICE(V): “Since when did your love for chocolate start?”
Becks(B): “Since forever! When I was growing up, I would not drink regular milk, I always drank chocolate milk. I wouldn’t have vanilla ice cream, it was all chocolate ice cream. I love chocolate, I never get sick of it and I love making it.”
V: “Where are your cacao beans come from?”
B: “When I was starting out, I was the first person in Vancouver doing bean to bar chocolate and it was really hard to get hold of cacao beans. So I did a bit of traveling and tried connecting directly with farmers. One time I came back from the Dominican Republic with 116 kg of cocoa beans in my luggage!
Now I only buy certified organic, ethical and top quality cacao beans through small companies that import cacao beans directly from the farms. I source mainly from Tanzania, Dominican Republic and I just started using cacao beans from Uganda last year and most recently from Vietnam. Vietnamese beans are so good! They are the only one that is non-organic but they have a warm spicy note to them and they are really special. It is amazing how different origin of bean has a different tasting note. Tanzania has fruity citrusy profile and anything with nuts, I usually use Dominican Republic because it has more nutty note to it.”
V: “ Tell us about your chocolate selections.”
B: “I have so many varieties and I keep adding things on! I do mostly in bar chocolate by single origin and by ‘fancy’ flavour. Flavour bars I rotate seasonally but at Christmas I have all flavours available. This Christmas feature is Habañero Caramels. It is a spicy one with habañero and a touch of lime juice and sea salt. I also like doing seasonal themed and shaped chocolates in jars. The quality for shaped chocolates is often neglected, but I do them in good quality and for fun. Jar chocolate is great to eliminate single use container.
For ice cream, I usually have 9 flavours in scoops and pints during the summer time and 6 flavors in winter. It is interesting that I am known more for ice cream here in Roberts Creek and more for chocolate in Vancouver.
I am a chocolate maker more than anything else, so I like to put my quality chocolate in a lot of ice cream flavours. You can pre-order my ice cream for pick up at the market. On every Wednesday, I list all the weekly pint flavour menu online.”
V: “Where is your inspiration coming from for a variety of flavours?”
B: “I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many talented people at the farmers markets all the time and I get a lot of inspirations from other vendors there. Particularly, Genevieve from Le Meadow Pantry and I met through the farmers market and we collaborate a lot together. One of the first ones we did was ice cream using her Blueberry Fir Tip Jam. Her jam is so good that I don’t have to do much work in the ice cream. Currently with Genevieve, we have vanilla ice cream with her Plum Brandy Jam. It is just a joy to collaborate and support each other with other talented local producers.”
V: “What is your all time favorite chocolate flavour?”
B: “85% dark – that is my all time favorite. I really love the single origin dark chocolate, especially right now from Uganda with a note of Concord grapes. I like hot and spicy like Habañero Caramels as well!”
V: “How did the pandemic impact your business?”
B: “It was challenging at first with everything so up and down, I wasn’t sure of anything. We were lucky that we had a window on one side of the shop and we started using it as a takeout window. We changed the whole set up from customers coming inside the shop to ordering through the outside takeout window. It was easy to convert without too much extra work.
People at the farmers markets in Vancouver and also Roberts Creek people have been really amazing and supportive. There are some customers that I haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic but then I met a lot of new customers who started to look around more for local products. People have become little bit more aware of the importance of supporting small local businesses.”
V: “What does Take A Fancy mean?”
B: “I used to live in London, UK a long time ago and it is a common expression over there to say when you take a fancy to something, it means you really enjoy it. It was very unique and I took it to name my brand.”
V: “What is your biggest joy making chocolate?”
B: “It really is connecting with people and I get to eat chocolate everyday, that is a bonus! Being able to connect what you do and what you enjoy doing with other people and with customers, you see how much they love it and enjoy it . People buy chocolates for weddings, birthdays or even a sad occasion when you want to cheer someone up. It is something joyful and it is fun to be a part of people’s lives that way.”