This story is part of a feature that first appeared in print in Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine’s March 2023 issue. Read the entire e-edition here:
For the month of March, we bring you two businesses blessing our community with sweet treats: Moondilly Treats and RIVA Chocolate.
When it comes to their delectable hand-crafted creations, RIVA and Moondilly products have something in common: they’re not made to satisfy the masses. Artisan goodies come out of these shops in carefully curated batches, using the finest flavours and fastidious care in ingredient selection.
Revelstokians may recognize Josee Zimanyi from Moondilly Treats’ beginnings at the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative summer farmer’s market. Captivating crowds with her delicious handmade doughnuts, Josee opened Moondilly at 427 Second Street East in October 2022 to continue supplying the community with heavenly treats.
A little about Josee: this isn’t her first rodeo. She’s been a pastry chef for over 30 years, baking and cooking your day better. She was co-owner and founder of the Modern Bakeshop and Café. She’s fed hungry skiers, hikers, tree planters and everyone in between at remote backcountry lodges, private celebrations and high-end restaurants, and spent time as a chef during two Olympics for the Canadian national cross-country skiing team. As she puts it, “a baker must bake.”
“I love baking and cooking, connecting with customers, and seeing joyful faces eating delicious baking,” she says. “I source the finest ingredients, organic, local and seasonal when possible. Moondilly specializes in combining tradition with innovation to produce exquisite flavour and strives to improve recipes by lowering sugar, adding whole grains and protein.”
Josee specializes in the art of delicious. Saturday mornings at Moondilly, customers can find her famous vegan doughnuts embellished with a thick layer of glossy frosting. Moondilly also stocks a healthy supply of other treats, such as artisan chocolate bars, cinnamon buns, cookies, homemade pop-tarts, Stoke Toast and more.
Moondilly Treats is only open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Josee says running the business this way replicates the market vibe and keeps it special. For more information on Moondilly Treats’ menu, store hours, pop-up events and more, visit www.moondillytreats.com.
If you thought chocolate making was like something out of Willy Wonka, you probably haven’t heard of bean-to-bar chocolate making. Zuzana Chmielova is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Revelstoke. She works with raw ingredients to turn cocoa beans into chocolate bars, using the beans, cane sugar and nothing else.
A chocolatier and a chocolate maker are two entirely different jobs. A Chocolatier is a person who makes dipped, cream-filled, ganache, truffle confections, but a chocolate maker makes chocolate from scratch.
Zuzana started Riva Chocolate in 2021 following a trip to Mexico in 2019 to learn about the cocoa bean harvesting process. Theobroma cacao also called the cacao tree and the cocoa tree, is a small (6– 12 metre tall) evergreen tree that produces seeds, aka cocoa beans, that are used to make chocolate.
Zuzana says the pre and post-harvesting process of the beans is highly complicated, and for this reason, the cocoa bean farming industry isn’t sustainable. That’s one of the reasons she was interested in making bean-to-bar chocolate, to honour the traditional farming process and to offer a sustainably sourced product.
“My philosophy is about sustainability for the cocoa bean harvesting,” she says. “For me, the cocoa plant is like a goddess.”
Despite using only two ingredients, Riva chocolate bars come in various flavours. Zuzana describes the process of roasting cocoa beans, sourced sustainably from around the world, to develop unique, vibrant and perfected flavours.
First, she sorts the beans, husks them, and then sorts them again to remove the husks leaving only the nibs infused with the bean’s unique, rich, fragrant flavours. She makes her bars by roasting one kilogram of beans at a time. After roasting the beans to perfection, the beans are ground and mixed with cane sugar to create a traditional dark chocolate. Zuzana is meticulous regarding the chocolate’s texture and experiments to create a high-quality product.
Zuzana’s goals for Riva Chocolate include becoming a direct trader of her cocoa beans, expanding on the types of chocolates she makes and opening a tasting room. You can find her hand-made chocolate bars at markets around Revy, at health food store Mountain Goodness and Powder Rentals during the winter season, or at Rivachocolate.ca.