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ChocXO Chocolate Café

At a Richmond café, everything begins with beans

For 30 years Vancouver expat Richard Foley imported fine chocolate to California and distributed it to chocolatiers around the world. One of his customers was Wade Pugh, who made custom chocolates for the hospitality industry through his company Chewter’s Chocolates in Richmond. Now the two are partners in ChocXO bean-to-bar chocolate cafés, which launched last December with one location in Richmond and two in California. Since Pugh already had a factory that could produce and package finished chocolates, Foley sold his distribution company and set up a factory in California to make chocolate from beans on a large scale. It produces about a ton of artisan chocolate a day, shipped north to Chewter’s to be made into chocolates for sale in the ChocXO cafés and wholesale to gourmet food stores. At the Richmond ChocXO, café patrons can observe the process from roasting cacao beans to finished chocolates. Each day the lab produces 30 or 40 kilograms of chocolate for treats and hot drinks that are sold in the adjacent café along with coffee made from beans roasted daily by ChocXO. ( — Felicity Stone