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The wonderful world of Turner’s Chocolate

Whistler chocolate manufacturer takes the next step with Function Junction storefront
Avison Turner of Turner’s Chocolate has big plans for his new space in Function Junction.

Spend a few minutes in Turner’s Chocolate down in Function Junction, and one thing becomes immediately clear.

“I love to talk about chocolate,” says owner Avison Turner,  as he hands out another sample—this time from his Ouro line.

“It’s a 75-per-cent cocoa, so it’s kind of on the stronger side,” he says, before passing yet another sample, this time of Ouro dark.

“Because of all the coffee farms and citrus farms [near where the cocoa is grown], it does make a really earthy and a stronger dark chocolate, so that one is a little much for me,” he says. “But it is actually a little more popular than the softer one.”

Of the four or five samples he shares, it’s tough to choose a favourite—and Turner’s love of his craft is just as sweet.

The storefront in Function Junction has been open about three months, but Turner and his chocolate have been a fixture on the farmers’ market circuit for the past four years or so.

“In the first year [2020], I was doing I think maybe one a week, and then the next year two a week, and then the third year I was doing like four or five,” he says.

Last year, as he prepped his new brick-and-mortar space, he had to scale back on the farmers’ markets, “but now I have kind of a home base, I’m looking forward to the opportunities that will provide,” he says. “And be able to hire some staff, because it is just me.”

One man show or not, Turner is making an impression in the wonderful world of chocolate.

A dual citizen of Canada and the U.K., Turner grew up in the Tri-Cities area. He says he was inspired to take up the craft when he was looking for some premium chocolate on Robson Street in Vancouver.

“It occurred to me I had never actually seen any of the cocoa beans, or any of the actual chocolate-making machines, and then I read online that most chocolatiers will buy in the slabs of chocolate, and then melt them down and rework them and add different things to them—so there’s the chocolate-making and the chocolatiering,” he says.

“So when I was looking for a really high-quality milk chocolate, the more I looked around, the more I found everything was just really loaded with sugar, and it was all just the big factory chocolates.”

Turner began reading about how great small-batch chocolate can be using cocoa from different places, and thought, how hard can it be?

“So I bought some small-batch equipment and kind of went from there,” he says.

The learning curve was relatively painless, he says, noting when he started out, nine out of 10 batches or so would be fine.

“But then something would happen, and I wouldn’t know why it would go wrong,” he says.

“It took me like a full year to really understand everything about the chocolate.”

Now, Turner is a veritable fount of chocolatey knowledge, his enthusiasm for sharing it apparent the minute you walk through his doors.

And that’s actually part of the business concept—Turner envisions the shop more as a manufacturing and learning space with samples than a traditional sweets shop.

Aside from supplying restaurants, he also wants to train the next generation of chocolatiers.

“Even the owners of the restaurants are always asking for a place to send their pastry chefs to come and train, and learn about the chocolates, so that way I can teach them new recipes and how to work with the chocolate,” he says, adding the space could also be used for school groups to learn.

That’s not to say there won’t be a retail aspect, both in house and in other stores. Turner envisions custom displays to go along with his artisanal treats.

“I want everything to be the best that it can be, and even when it comes to the retailers and the displays and everything … if they have something to display the chocolate bars in, great, but I would also like to have some nice wood boxes I can give to them and say, ‘Put the chocolate in there, put the price next to it, and good to go,’ kind of thing,” he says.

“Chocolate is really simple—like, it’s chocolate. It’s an impulse purchase, so even with a lot of the wholesalers and everything, I want to make it as simple as possible.

“Even though it’s a premium product, it’s still chocolate at the end of the day.”

Turner’s Chocolate is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Millar Creek Road in Function Junction. Read more at