Valentines Day Chocolate with The Sweetness of Being
Valentine's Day is upon us! This year I celebrate by sharing stories from some of my favorite artisan chocolate makers. These three businesses are incredibly dedicated to producing a very high quality product, which inspires me to keep the quality bar high in all aspects of my life. I feel good knowing my dollar directly supports businesses that I can fully stand behind. These individuals are the kind of people who design their own outstanding packaging, build their own shop, wake up at 5:00 am to make chocolate, use heirloom plants, and work with biodynamic and sustainable farms. It's amazing how rich and unique all of these chocolates taste and how far they will go to keep it that way. These chocolates are all wonderful and made with such immense amount of love. I encourage all of my readers to support these dedicated and wonderful artisans this year when selecting their chocolate for v-day. Set the bar high in your love life, your chocolate life and beyond.
The Sweetness of Being with Sarah Engelhart
Q: Tell us a little bit about you, your chocolate company and what inspired you to start it?
A: I decided to start The Sweetness of Being because it aligned so easily with my personal skills and interests. Essentially my lifelong love of chocolate, creativity and desire to bring a little sweetness to the lives of others.
Q: Do you have a ritual for making/consuming chocolate?
A: My personal ritual for living life is to remember my heart in as many moments as possible. To assist me in this task during chocolate making I always listen to the most beautiful music I can find.
Q: How much experimentation did it take for you to come up with the chocolate recipe you now sell? What was that experience like for you?
A. Being creative in the kitchen is something I have always enjoyed even as a little girl I would put together my own versions of cake mixes using whatever I found in the kitchen, they never quite tasted right but I always had fun.
For The Sweetness of Being the original recipe I created was vegan coconut "bacon" chocolate bar. I thought it would be nice to have a meat-free version of the popular bacon chocolate I have been seeing a lot lately. It ended up tasting nothing like actual bacon, however It was delicious, like spicy chocolate covered popcorn. I no longer make this flavor (Spicy Coconut) but it initiated the whole process. It ultimately took a couple months to perfect all the recipes I currently use, some were great on the first try, while others like the White Incan bar, took a little longer to perfect.
Q: What type of sweetener do you like to use and why?
A: I use raw wildflower honey from California. Interestingly, there is no certified organic honey that is produced in the United States. If I had wanted to use certified organic honey which was my original intention, It would be coming from Brazil or India. I choose to go with the raw wildflower honey instead because it is a more sustainable option and just makes more sense to me to benefit from ingesting the pollen from local wildlife here in CA. The honey farm is 100% solar powered and actually offsets a lot of their petroleum use for deliveries, etc. through energy from the Sun.
Q: When you are not making chocolate, what else do you like to do?
A: I love to practice Odissi, which is a kind of classical Indian temple dance, it is very devotional and graceful. I also play devotional music and paint. Besides creative expression I love going out for organic meals with my Husband and spending time with my family.
Q: In what way does chocolate enhance your love life?
A: I would say that chocolate brings about a sense of enthusiasm and deep appreciation of life. I really do enjoy everything about the sensory experience of chocolate and through these moments of increased awareness, I notice my heart more profoundly. And thus Love a little more deeply. Its good to know it has nothing to do with the chocolate itself, but that it can serve as a vehicle of remembering what I truly am, which is Love.