It all began with the first tastes of chocolate…
Well a little later in life than a young girl indulging on the occasional treat of milk chocolatey goodness. As soon as high school was over there wasn’t much time wasted before my sister and I set off to explore a new way of life. With no plans and almost no money we took the journey down under, to the land of dreamtime, Australia. It was in the early days spent in this new life that I knew I needed a bigger change, I no longer felt in was right to consume animal products, and choose to begin eating a vegan diet. The only thing that really was challenging on this diet was finding chocolate without dairy! Even the dark chocolate we were finding had milk ingredients. But a random discovery of an organic health shop in the town over led my to hope.
Enter Raw Chocolate. So much was new to my fresh young eyes at 18, from superfoods and herbs, interesting new vegetables and fruits, and then the raw chocolate of course. “Pana” was the name of the chocolate company that I had discovered and fell madly in love with. I will never forget the texture, I had never tasted anything like it, silky-smooth-melt in your mouth-magic. I will never forget the taste, rich, dark, velvet, lusciousness. Over the year and a half spent in this beautiful country, there was a lot of raw chocolate consumed. I quickly learned that this chocolate in its raw and natural state, and not ladened with processed sugars and oils, has an array of powerful benefits on our health, mind, and spirit.
Leaving the country for our little island was a different story. We had taken what we thought was a good supply of this blissful chocolate home, but when that was all gone, there was new steps to be made. At this point, the kitchen and myself had fallen madly in love. I was experimenting and creating all sorts of new recipes and meals all the time. So when I did a little research and discovered making a basic raw chocolate at home isn’t hard at all, I went right to it. Your classic coconut oil, cacao butter, raw cacao powder, and a little maple syrup recipe became my vice. I still also remember the taste of this chocolate.
It is funny to look back on all of this. I began making these little chocolates for all my friends and family, for dinner parties, and of course for breakfast. What I didn’t know at that time? It was like the chocolate, or the Cacao was working with me.
I booked a trip to Costa Rica. And like most of my travels, I didn’t do much research or planning. I just knew I had to go, and had to go to a music festival called “Envision”. This was my first stop on this three month voyage. On the first day of the festival there was an opening ceremony facilitated by the local indigenous tribe of that land, the Bri Bri. After, they were offering handcrafted items, jewelry, textiles, paintings, and…. Cacao. It didn’t even register to me that cacao grows in Costa Rica, but I know my soul guided me here in complete alignment.
I purchased a block of their handcrafted cacao. Different to what I had known, this block was very bitter, griddy, and potent. Stronger than any cacao I had previously, and more magical than ever before. There was something that lit up inside me, I felt a singing in my body, the story of these women, the story of cacao. My three month journey in Costa Rica evolved into one completely learning about the fabrics of this beautiful plant, about the crafting process, the creative process, the ceremonial process.
Round two of coming home to this little island birthed my dream of crafting chocolates for those beyond only friends and family. Which happened to manifest quicker than I had imagined. Within six months I had a little booth at the local farmers market offering my cacao goodies. Add two more trips to Costa Rica, countless hours experimenting with this practice, and a whole lot of support, here I am now.
I love cacao. I love chocolate. I love that it is a creative process. I love that it is a scientific process. I love that there is ceremonial and ancient roots so deep with cacao. I love that it brings love. I love that this is a gift I can share with the world. I feel like this story is one that is being woven in such a delicate and sacred way, and I feel that it has just begun. And I am so joyed you are here to share and experience this story with me.
Love, Katlin xo