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  • Writer's pictureAlison Golding

Dwn Craft Chocolatier: Unique, Handcrafted, Local

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

Dawn Nita, the Dawn behind Dwn chocolates is no stranger to the culinary scene. After attending culinary school she began her career working as a pastry chef for The McEwan Group and Jamie Kennedy before deciding that she wanted to hone in on a specialty. After narrowing down her options to bread or chocolate, she went on to run the production kitchen at two of the most prestigious independent chocolate brands in Toronto, Soma and CXBO, where she honed her chocolate making skills and now holds what many would consider to be the dream job of “Chocolatier” at her very own business.

Operating out of “The Sunshine City” of Orillia, Dwn Craft Chocolatier opened in 2020 and began selling in the midst of the pandemic in 2021, creating hand-crafted, small-batch chocolates using local, natural, and unique ingredients in often unconventional combinations.

One of the things that set Dwn apart from other chocolate shops is that Dawn makes her own chocolate from scratch by grinding the cocoa nibs herself versus melting pre-made chocolate. This allows her more flexibility in how she flavours her chocolate, for example, soaking the nibs in rum to make her seasonal Eggnog bar, infusing Earl Grey and lavender into cocoa butter like one would infuse a tea for her Earl Grey Lavender bar, as well as the ability to create many unique dairy-free options.

A farm-to-table proponent, Dawn also prides herself on the use of unique and Canadian ingredients. Some of these include buckthorn berries, freeze dried rhubarb, spruce, balsam, cedar, sumac, bee pollen, lilac and even Barchef’s Toasted Old Fashioned Cocktail. If the ingredients alone aren’t enough to pique your interest, Dawn also proudly creates her chocolates using entirely natural colours and flavours.

Although she has a standard product line that is always available, she also creates seasonal items, drawing on the bounty of local in-season foods to infuse flavours into the chocolates. She also creates unique offerings around the chocolate-centric holidays like Christmas, Mothers Day, Valentines and Easter and she also does custom orders.

Dwn’s uniqueness also extends to the product labels, which if I’m being honest, are what first drew me to the product. The labels are written to invoke the feeling you get when eating the product. For example, the label on the mocha almond crunch bar reads, “pulling on your favourite sweater on the first cool morning of fall”, and the label on the dark milk chili chocolate bar reads, “feeling the warm buzz after a great first date”. The descriptions in the packaging entice you and invoke lovely memories that the consumption of food is so often connected to.

Although it’s almost impossible to choose a favourite, below are some recommendations for first timers:

  • Best Sellers - Sesame Chocolate Chip Bar, Neapolitan Malt Balls and Earl Grey Lavender Bar

  • My Favorites - Toasted Old Fashioned Bar with a Twist of Buckthorn, Chillin’ Mix and Rose Bar

  • Dawn’s Favorites - Toasted Old Fashioned Bar with a Twist of Buckthorn and Sesame Chocolate Chip Bar

Check out more of what DWN has to offer by visiting its website (check out the “Find Dwn” section to see which local markets she’ll be at next). She also offers free delivery in the Orillia area and free shipping across Canada. You can also follow along on social media on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, or visit her in person at her downtown Orillia store at 11 Mississaga St. E.


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