This week we excited to introduce one of our #SoMates Oldcoal. Jolene is based out of Okotoks, Alberta and handcrafts chocolates and confections. They are so beautiful you almost don’t want to eat it.
1.How did you start Old Coal? Why did you want to start a chocolate company?
I started Old Coal in February 2016, but had been dreaming up the idea for much longer. I have always been a foodie and enjoyed making great food for family and friends. And with my parents being entrepreneurs and working in the family business growing up, its not a big surprise that I wanted to start some kind of food business myself someday. Before my time at SAIT, the dream was to open a bakery, but that goal eventually shifted. After my time at SAIT in the Baking and Pastry Arts program I switched my sights to chocolate. I had always loved eating chocolate, but after learning how to work with it, I saw so many possibilities. Like any start up business, it took a lot of time to finally make the leap and begin but here we are, over a year later!
2. Is chocolate good for your skin? (In my opinion it is, since you use local ingredients, cacao is anti-oxidant etc)
I am no dermatologist but I can say from personal experience, after a day of working with cocoa butters and dark chocolate your hands feel smooth and happy! Cocoa butter itself is great for your skin topically. I have seen it used in lots of natural lip balms, creams and soaps for its healing and hydrating benefits. The great part is, a lot of benefits can come from eating dark chocolate as well. Chocolate is high in anti-oxidants and nutrients, not to mention a great mood booster! These awesome qualities paired with local super fruits like black currant and seabuckthorn berries end up being a great combo.
3. Tell us a bit about the philosophy behind Old Coal — what the name means, and some guidelines that you make chocolate by.
The story behind the name Old Coal ties into the philosophy and values we have as a business. Coal was a recurring symbol for me. From living in Black Diamond (small Alberta town named after coal) and always passing by places like ‘Coal Trail’. And my Grandfather worked as a blacksmith, with a coal fired forge back in Holland, and my Uncle now carries on the family tradition with his forge, making handcrafted furniture. So really, coal is more than a name to me, it represents an idea, a symbol of family, craftsmanship and potential energy. We carry this idea into our chocolates by always staying passionate and creative with each new step the business takes. Another big piece of Old Coal is making sure we stay true to quality and supporting other local businesses. There is something really incredible when you get to connect with great people through great chocolate.
4. What’s next for Old Coal?
It is so fun to look forward and dream, then make a plan for that dream! Here are some of the projects we are working on right now; We have collaborated with Village Brewery to create ‘beeramels’, beer caramels made with Village’s Blacksmith Black Ale and covered in dark chocolate and beginning in May they will be selling them at their tasting room. Currently we are also working on a great project with some local boss babes to design the packaging for our new product, chocolate bars. The flavours are a secret for now but keep an eye out for a product release this summer.
The next big step after that is finding ourselves a great space to open up our first brick and mortar shop. This step is a lot more complicated then any others and will take more time, but it’s an important one! For now you can always find us online or on Instagram to check out what we are up to.
Contact OldCoal for all of your chocolate cravings!