Where is the Purdys factory? How are chocolates made?

No two days are the same inside Purdys Chocolate Factory, which has been making sweets on the corner of Kingsway and Earles since 1982. That’s because each day’s production schedule varies, thanks to seasonal products, changes in ingredients and the introduction of new treats. to programming. What you can always rely on in the sweet aroma of sugar and chocolate emanating from the factory; that scent intensifies inside – a place most people never see.

Sure, Purdys goes way back the early 1980s; that’s just when the Vancouver chocolate company overtook its facilities on West 7th (yes, Choklit Park on the site is so named because of the legendary company) and took over the old Canada Dry factory in Renfrew-Collingwood. Another interlude regarding the names: No, that’s not a typo; Purdys got rid of the possessive apostrophe a few years ago, so they haven’t belonged to “Purdy” for a while.

Purdys started in 1907 and has since become one of the world’s finest chocolatiers, offering not only retail outlets but also online ordering with worldwide shipping. Most people who love sweets and/or who grew up in Vancouver know what a hedgehog, meltie mint or Sweet Georgia Brown is; these are just a few of Purdys flagship products rolling off the busy factory lines.

The evolution of the chocolate factory over the years

About 200 employees work on these lines, many of whom have been with Purdys for a long time; In August, an employee named Ross will hang up his hairnet and lab coat after 41 years. Ross started out in shipping and receiving before jumping at the chance to work at the plant. He remembers some days he could be doing truck deliveries, working on the enrobing line (coating things with chocolate), and then being in the candy kitchen, all in one shift.

Ross also remembers being a kid in southern Ontario and leaning his nose against the glass to watch a local chocolate maker at work, thinking it would be the dream gig. With a head full of demanding recipes and memories of many products both off the catalog and still being made, Ross has seen a lot of change over the years within the company. By the way, her favorite discontinued products are those made with “nougatine” and a Spanish peanut bar.

Other things have changed, from processes within the company to consumer needs, which is why Purdys has adapted to issues such as food allergies (nuts in particular) and introduced its first vegan products to the over the past two years with enormous success. Even the company’s nearly 93-year-old owner, Charles Flavelle, is still leading the way; he designed an adaptation for cooling tables just this summer.

The story of Ross sticking to candy is not unusual at the factory. Many Purdys employees are immigrants to Canada, and like Linda, a 34-year veteran, who oversees Purdys flagship productions, Sweet Georgia Brown and the entire vegan line, they’ll say this is their first – and last. – employment in Canada. (For those wondering, how Purdys makes the Sweet Georgia Browns is so top secret that we can’t photograph the equipment they use. Less shockingly, Linda’s favorite Purdys item is… there you have it. guessed… the Sweet Georgia Brown.)

‘I have the best job in the world,’ says Purdys head chocolatier

While there are sustainable treats and recipes that have changed little or not – Purdys is one of the last companies in the world to make their cream fillings more old-fashioned – it’s consumers who often inspire new items.

“Our customers tell us what they want,” says Rachel McKinley, Purdys top chocolate maker, who has been making chocolate herself for more than 20 years and has been with Purdys for a long time.

McKinley says she also enjoys eating and drinking at great restaurants and bars to get inspiration for new creations, as well as keeping an eye on trends and what the world’s top pastry chefs are up to.

“For me, there is no shortage of ideas,” confirms McKinley.

“It’s like putting together a puzzle,” she says of putting a new Purdys product of her imagination into production — like a top-secret treat that has gone through an agonizing testing phase that begins this fall.

McKinley adds with a smile, “I have the best job in the world.”

@vancouverisawesome #UnlimitedHPink 🍫Come with me and you will be in a world of pure imagination. #forkingawesome #vancouverbc #factory tour #Chocolate ♬ dance(256762) – TimTaj

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