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Shakespeare's chocolate maestro making mouths water

Beaumont making headway into Stratford market with his 'edible art'

Imagine, if you will, a world in which you could satisfy your craving for something that tastes as good as it looks. And then imagine that you could find that culinary unicorn in flavors such as Quebec Maple Pecan, Saskatoon Berry Cheesecake, Ontario Butter Tart … and even Newfoundland Screech Caramel.

Not only are these little morsels of chocolatey heaven real, they’re a lot closer than you think. And they’re all thanks to Chok.

Stephen Beaumont has been building up to this moment for quite some time: a long career in luxury hotel management where he was trained by The Savoy Hotel Company in England, followed up by stops in Switzerland, the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. He didn’t get into making bonbons until 2019, getting trained by Master Chocolatier Luis Amado in Michigan.

So yeah, for 45 years this wasn’t the plan for Beaumont. But it’s funny how one career path can wind all over and bring you to the very place you want to be.

“At one point in my career, I had a chocolate shop as part of my portfolio, so I got to learn the business of chocolate,” he said. “I was always fascinated by the actual making of chocolate.”

That fascination was still there when he began working as a private chef for a family. It was during prep for a dinner party that he realized they weren’t doing anything particularly elevated for after the meal and, in his words, “I couldn’t serve them an After 8 mint.”

It went from there - learning about it on YouTub proved to be a bust since making bonbons is a lot harder than it might appear. Enrolling to learn from Amado turned out to be private tutoring when the other students couldn’t make it to Michigan to partake in the class. One thing led to another, and Beaumont said he and his wife wanted to move to Stratford since they already owned property there. The retail space he currently occupies in Shakespeare became available, so he figured it was time.

“People seem to enjoy my chocolates, so I figured it was time we tried to make a business out of it just as a little sideline,” he said. “I teach Hospitality Management and culinary classes at Conestoga College, so I thought if the chocolate doesn’t work out I’ll do more teaching. Turns out, it’s the other way around.”

Chok. began about 18 months ago and has been slowly building momentum since. It wasn’t Beaumont’s intention to take on the bigger and more well-known chocolatiers in Stratford, because he sees what they do and what Chok. does as different sides of the same coin. In addition to making edible art, Beaumont offers workshops for people to come in and learn how to make bonbons themselves. Without getting into a deep dive on all the details - and preserving trade secrets as well - people will get to see what it’s like when you take Swiss chocolate and start getting creative.

“Rheo Thompson has been here several times and is very supportive of it. He’s fascinated by what I’m doing because it’s a different style of chocolate,” Beaumont said. “Everything is handmade, hand-painted, and the idea that I could take on a company like that which has been around for 40 years or so is just insane. But it's like this: you have to have different restaurants in a town with different styles, and they can all do very well and you feed off each other.”

It’s not just the friendly competition that Beaumont is feeding from, as evidenced by his recent ‘Best Emerging Business’ award he picked up at the Stratford and Area Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence. He’s been strategically building his business and seeing it grow, and the work is starting to pay off.

“As of this week, my products are in the (Festival) Theatre store - I just delivered them this morning,” he said. “I’m very proud of that. We had some influencers come in just before Christmas to take one of the workshops. After they posted about that, my bookings just blew up. Getting known in Stratford has been a big nut to crack, but I’m gradually getting there.”

And with that recognition and success, Beaumont said the best part has been and will always be working with new people in the workshops. Getting to see them experience making something gives him as much joy as making it himself.

“I’ve done things with younger kids, eight to 12 years old, but I’ve also worked with someone who was 90,” he said. “They came in as part of a family workshop - that was at least two generations, which was really fun for me.”

Find out more about the shop and all the creative art you can eat by going to