The shelves are full of chocolate, the tempering machine is running 24-7, and the gorgeous new packaging has arrived. Chocolate entrepreneur Alicja Buchowicz looks surprising calm given that she has just “soft opened” a new store in the heart of the Glebe (829 Bank St.) at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Alicja Confections (the store) is an extension of the brand that Alicja launched a couple of years ago. She first began selling her handmade chocolate bars in their pretty packaging at markets and pop-up shops within larger stores.
CityBites caught up with the busy confectioner to find out what’s (about to be) in store.
The Big Secret
Believe it or not, Alicja didn’t like chocolate as a kid; she was more of a hard candy lover. She fell into the chocolate business almost by accident a few years ago after applying for a sales job at her favourite local chocolate shop in Winnipeg (her hometown), where she had fond childhood memories of the candy apples sold there.
For two years she worked, watched, and learned the tricks of the trade, trying her hand at the chocolate business for the first time in December 2015, when she made 250 boxes of truffles to sell to family and friends. The packaging was bold, the flavours fun and funky — they sold out instantly. A business was born.
While she’s continually experimenting and mixing it up, Alicja says some super-popular flavours will likely remain in her line-up forever:
- Slodka Sól (milk chocolate with toffee and Himalayan salt)
- Strawberry Blonde (white chocolate with powdered, freeze-dried strawberries and rice krispies)
- The Nicholas Bar (named after Alicja’s fiancé, it pairs milk chocolate with potato chips)
- Ember Island (a 60% dark chocolate bar with chilli pepper)
- The Hippy Bar (a 70% dark chocolate bar with goji berries, cacao nibs, and chia seeds)
Her zany packaging is gorgeous, which is not surprising given that Alicja was accepted to study art and design at a California university but couldn’t afford the tuition fees. Bonus: the boxes have an address label on the back so you can eat your chocolate or pop the colourful wrapped bar into the mail and send it to a lucky friend.
Now that she’s got more space, she’ll also be making truffles and hot chocolate mixes, creating gift boxes, and seasonal treats like chocolate-dipped strawberries. She’s also working on a top secret interactive project that involves chocolate. Our minds reel at the possibilities.