Launched only last year at the first Invermere farmers’ market of the 2017 season, our superior quality, ethical production, and innovative streamlining, is making a pretty big ol' ooey gooey chocolate mark – and quickly! – on the region and the rapidly emerging bean to bar methodology of chocolate making.
Food production, generally, is fast becoming a defining sector in the Columbia Valley, particularly with epic local success stories like that of Kicking Horse Coffee. Given the rise of food in the region, literally from farm to table, the culture is friendly and ripe for new visionaries wanting to get in on the game.
Enter our own Glen Davies, founder and visionary of Wild Mountain Chocolate, dedicated husband, father and entrepreneur. With his rather intimate knowledge of Kicking Horse's incredible success – wife, Helen, is the popular roaster's Chief Financial Officer – and his profound desire to build a business based on ethics and quality, while not being hemmed in by geography, in exploring business opportunities found himself drawn by the sweet, dark, seductive lure of chocolate.
“There were a couple of opportunities that were a good fit, but I found it just wasn’t the right time for the seller and I wanted to get into a business fairly quickly.”
“People always have to eat, and food production across the country is a strong industry,” he states. “There is a lot of potential, especially within the natural quality food sector. People are starting to think about what they’re putting into their bodies, so there are constantly opportunities arising from that.”
Ever the innovator, the foundations of Wild Mountain reflect Glen's DIY, maker mentality, where he marries his background in the automation industry with his talent for seeing the possibilities and problem solving.
Small batch organic bean to bar chocolate fit perfectly with Glen's vision, principles, and aspirations. Specializing in origin chocolate using quality, organic ingredients, Wild Mountain Chocolate lives in a nondescript building behind a bright orange door in Invermere’s Industrial Park. In keeping with Glen's love of innovation, the state-of-the-art production facility is complete with a roaster from Kicking Horse Coffee that he refurbished himself alongside Italian-made industrial chocolate-making machinery.
If you're unfamiliar with the term 'origin' as it pertains to chocolate, it refers to the country from which the cocoa beans came. For example, our first three bars are made from cocoa beans from Ecuador, Peru and Madagascar. Glen is incredibly proud of the fact that he's been to these regions, shaken the hands of the farmers and witnessed their operations first-hand.
“I’m doing origin chocolate right now as it’s a unique product, but I also love the flavour. I’m trying to show what chocolate is about on its own and what it can be. It’s really wonderful.”
The origin can be traced, all of which are from organic, sustainable farms from some of the world’s greatest cacao-producing countries. “We are making real chocolate,” says Glen. “We keep it simple and do it right,” he says describing the operation. Quality raw beans are imported, and everything from roasting to pouring moulds happens by hand, right here in Invermere.
The beans are shipped to the facility and roasted on site, a crucial detail in the bean-to-bar manufacturing process as Glen meticulously oversees every step of the chocolate-making process.
It's been only a year since launch and Wild Mountain Chocolate can be found at stores and cafes up and down the Valley, in Alberta and the Lower Mainland. Not only that, but Glen has already been approached by a national distributor.
Glen is incredibly grateful for the support he's received from local businesses and organizations such as AG Valley Foods and the Invermere Farmers’ Market, which he readily credits for the fast evolution of the business. These have been Wild Mountain Chocolate's first and most significant launching pads and Glen can’t say enough about the Columbia Valley and the positive reception he's enjoyed.
“There’s a real opportunity to use our natural surroundings, it’s a naturally marketable location. There’s nowhere else like it, it’s stunning, and it’s a very good target market that comes to this area.”
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