From Military to Culinary, Veteran-owned Business Aims to Perfect the Art of Chocolate Making
The only bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Nova Scotia, Gabrielle Breault launched Petite Patrie Chocolate in 2016, after being medically released from the Canadian Forces in 2009. “It took me years to overcome some medical challenges. When I finally did, I started to look at what was next for me,” explains Breault.
With entrepreneurship in sight, Breault travelled to Costa Rica to begin her chocolate-making education, and then to England to learn chocolate tasting, until earning the designation of Chocolate Sommelier.
“Like fine wine, cacao beans have delicate flavour profiles. As a Chocolate Sommelier, I can taste chocolate and identify the exact region the cacao beans were grown,” says Breault.
With beans imported from Peru, Honduras, Mexico, Vietnam and Nicaragua, Petite Patrie Chocolate has perfected the craft of bean-to-bar chocolate making. “We’ve developed the right roasting profile for each bean to get the optimum flavour,” explains Breault.
The business makes a wide range of dark, milk and white chocolate confections, as well as a selection of vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free products. “Making chocolate is anything but easy! But it became quickly apparent that my military skills were perfect for entrepreneurship,” says Breault. “The ability to pivot and find what works through trial and error is a skill military Veterans have,” added Breault.
After perfecting her art of making chocolate, Breault completed Prince’s Trust Canada’s Operation Entrepreneur boot camp to help launch her business. “It was an excellent experience. Being in a classroom with like-minded Veterans, at similar business stages as me, helped ease my personal doubts. We were all learning together and I still stay in touch with many of them,” explains Breault.
“Being paired with business student volunteers was key. They were energized by the possibilities they saw in my business. Everyone was so supportive, and it gave me the validation I needed,” says Breault.
This year, Operation Entrepreneur celebrates 10-years of supporting the Veteran and military community. “To the Veterans who are thinking about joining the Operation Entrepreneur program, go without hesitation. We all work toward our dreams every day and this program is what will push you through,” explain Breault.
Breault is committed to building Petite Patrie Chocolate sustainably and responsibility. All their cacao is Pono Certified, meaning it’s free from slave and child labour. “Child labour is a big problem in the global cacao business as consumers are very far removed from the supply chain. And sustainability matters because when farmers are paid a fair-trade price, the entire economy benefits,” explains Breault.
Breault sells her chocolate online through her website, petitepatriechocolate.com, and at a few select locations in Nova Scotia. “We do not aim to be the largest chocolate making company, we just want to make the best chocolate as humanly possible!”
By choosing to shop at a Veteran-owned business, you are choosing to support local communities. To find Veteran-owned businesses in your area, visit Prince’s Trust Canada’s BuyVeteran.ca directory. Buy Veteran, buy local.