As part of a 3-month engagement with a grade 3/4 class, we taste-tested a range of flavours and developed a miscellaneous vocabulary to describe them: sounds, shapes, words, elaborate fonts, synesthetic line drawings and emojis. With visits to-and-from East Van Roasters, the group learned about single-origin, fairly traded dark chocolate and navigated its tense (and tacky) conflation with cheap candy from the gas station nearby. SOUR VS SOUR is a clash of the tastes we’ve learned to see in opposition: natural vs synthetic flavour, adult vs kid desires, good vs bad choices, healthy food vs economic means. As influenced by EXTREME candy marketing to kids, (and their astute observations about how it functions), SOUR VS SOUR disguises bean-to-bar food politics as campy, crinkly, candy-bar realness.

In her text, Travels in Chocolate, Candy Culture, and Kid Creativity, independent curator Zoë Chan expands on ideas inherent to this project.

Biggest thanks to Shelley Bolton, Brooke Lodge, Gizelle Paré and Merri Schwartz of East Van Roasters for sharing their knowledge, facilities and chocolate-making expertise in the making of the SOUR VS SOUR Chocolate Bar.

Located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, East Van Roasters is a non-profit initiative benefitting the women residents of the Rainier Hotel.