Melt Confectionary takes you way way back
Kate Mathewson is new on the scene with her collection of nostalgia-driven chocolates.
We all have that one candy that transports you to your childhood. The caramels your grandmother kept stashed, the Crispy Crunch from your Hallowe’en haul, or the peanut M&Ms you gorged on while watching Jurassic Park (the original) at the theatre.
They were sickly sweet and packed with cornstarch and “chocolate-flavouring’ – whatever that is – but it didn’t matter because someone allowed you to have a treat and that made it the best thing you ever tasted, even if it burnt the roof of your mouth off (looking at you Sour Patch Kids).
Kate Mathewson is tapping into those nostalgic flavours with her line of small batch handmade chocolates called Melt Confectionary. Flavours like birthday cake, cinnamon french toast, malt balls, like Maltesers, but so much better.
“Mostly I want people to eat what I create and have those fond memories of childhood and that nostalgic feeling that comes with the confections of our youth,” said Mathewson. “When I’m at a market and someone is trying my chocolate the best thing I can hear them say is that it reminds them of something they had as a kid.”
Mathewson started with the dream of making wedding cakes, so she went to pastry school where she uncovered a hidden talent for chocolate. Afterwards, she took off on the road and found herself in Montreal when she saw that Vancouver-local chocolatier Thomas Haas was hiring and Mathewson vowed to drop everything and cross the country even for just an unpaid internship.
“I don’t think he would have given it to me if I wasn’t so bold,” said Mathewson. “The funny thing is that when I started I was afraid to even touch the chocolate, so I don’t know how I was so bold to say give me the job because I had no training and no qualifications. I just had nothing to lose.”
The next few years were an education in long hours, high volume production and the ins and outs of the chocolate industry, and, of course, how to make really good chocolate. When she learned all she could, she decided to branch on her own with her own style and develop Melt Confectionary.
“We were doing such high production and going so fast that we couldn’t do the things we wanted because we had to be able to produce it on a mass scale,” said Mathewson.“What I love about making my chocolate in small batches is that I can make my chocolate as beautiful as I want, as flavourful as I want, as complicated and complex as I want.”
“Small batch forever” is Mathewson’s ideal and her only dream is to open a single shop, perhaps with an ice cream bar, and make chocolate bars and truffles that bring out the child in her customers.
“I want simplicity,” said Mathewson. “Simple ingredients. Simple lifestyle. Simple shop. That would be the ultimate. It feels so far off and so unattainable, but you have to chase the dream.”
Mathewson has been frequenting Farmers Markets to gain a loyal following but, like so many others, the recent events of COVID-19 have thrown her off course and she’s decided to not do markets this summer and focus on online sales instead.
“It’s a momentum killer because instead of working on my ganache, I’m working on my website,” said Mathewson. “The positive thing is that it is making me focus on my business and forcing me to do the things I hadn’t done, like set up my online shop and social media.”
For now, Mathewson is selling her chocolate bars online for pickup at Rain or Shine on Cambie Street.
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