AntidoteHealth Through Pleasure In Chocolate | 0 Comments
Read the extraordinary founding story of this 1 year old gourmet, organic, fair trade and vegan chocolate brand that has taken New York City – and undoubtedly soon the world – by storm.
Seeing Red? Chocolate is the Antidote
Written by New York city based health coach Linda diBella
It’s late November 2010 and I’m in New York City at the 13th Annual Chocolate Show.
I’m being introduced to chocolate from all over the world and getting giddy from all the people I’ve met and the bites of heaven I’ve sampled.
Then I stumble upon Antidote Chocolate whose table was being manned by the owner and creator, Red Thalhammer, and a mysterious yet theatrical man in a wide-brimmed hat.
I stop to chat and learn that the chocolate is produced in Ecuador with fair wages, that it is a blend of roasted and raw cacao, it contains the superfood, moringa, and it’s organic.
Already I’m in love and after one bite, I’m in heaven too, with this unique, dark chocolate sprinkled with lavender and sea salt – my favorite combination.
An Antidote for Anything
A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of learning more about Red’s “pregnancy” as she refers to it, over tea. Her culinary journey began in her home country of Austria where she grew up in a restaurant kitchen and farm, educated as a graphic communication designer.
Many years later she sets out in search of the holy grail without a compass.
Then one night, after leaving a friend’s house, she sends him a text message apologizing for being a bit poisonous and he replies back not to worry, that he has developed an antidote for it.
She imagines how great it would be to have an antidote for any situation and when she awakens the next morning, she realizes that this is it: the brand name and the idea for her to create the food she loves so much.
Why hadn’t she thought of doing this before? After tasting 150 of the most renowned chocolates and feeling unsatisfied, the idea of making her own should have been obvious.
Yet the stars must be aligned for a light bulb to go off and when she was finally ready to accept the idea, she did so with vigor.
The Birth of a Unique Chocolate Bar
Every morning for nine months, Red would perform her chemistry experiments in the kitchen, conching and tempering and coming up with the perfect combinations of chocolate, herbs, spices, and moringa. As someone who never wants to follow in others’ footsteps, she formulated her chocolate with a unique blend of 50:50 roasted and raw cacao, which gives it both a depth of flavor and aroma as well as exceptional health benefits.
Anxiously waking to her first batches of chocolate left overnight, Red finds that she has adopted adolescents–her chocolate has broken out in pimples! Back to the kitchen, she works tirelessly to perfect her creations. Reminded of a drug dealer, Red would surface at parties and social events with her foil-wrapped creations for her friends to sample and rate.
A True Super Food
A trip to Sri Lanka 10 years earlier where Red had learned about Ayurveda and the healing properties of herbs and spices left a lasting impression on her and led to the idea of using the power of herbs, spices, and superfoods in her chocolate – as cacao is already one of them. Yet she felt that although superfoods were good for you, they were not necessarily pleasant to the palate. Therefore, the challenge was to formulate a bar that was nutritious, antioxidant-rich, fun, delicious and enjoyable to eat.
So, Red set out to do her research and found that the combination of cacao and moringa was second to none in terms of nutritional value. The health benefits of raw cacao are many, including magnesium, iron, zinc, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.
In addition, I was both surprised and delighted to learn that Red added moringa to her bars. I was introduced to it while in Rwanda in 2008 and 2009 as a volunteer where individuals with HIV were beginning to cultivate the trees and use the ground-up leaves as a nutrient source.
After narrowing her cacao choices down to sources in Madagascar and Ecuador, Red finally settles on what she considers some of the best cacao in the world from a sustainable source on the left bank of a river in Ecuador, and agrees to buy it directly from the members of an indigenous village. It is also in Ecuador where her chocolate bars will be produced.
Even down to the choice of sweeteners, Red tests many sugar alternatives to ensure that only the best goes into making her chocolate. Just before production, she decides on unrefined cane sugar for its taste and nutritional value; however, to maintain the true flavor and health benefits of the ingredients, sugar is added at a minimum. One bite of Antidote Chocolate and you won’t even miss it. In fact, you’ll be grateful for doing the body and spirit good with something so decadent.
A Package Deal
Besides her career as a chocolate maker, Red’s passion and expertise for packing and branding was the impetus for her plan to create her product from “design to bar”. Her work under the name Tripple Red has awarded her a nomination and feature in the book The World’s Best 200 Packaging and Designers.
The design for her chocolate bar packaging is a unique collection of artwork and inspiration that originates from a series of Greek goddesses and is designed to bring out the inner goddess in all of us (um, all of us women!) For example, the lavender and sea salt bar features Panakeia, the Greek goddess of health and well-being and explains.
The Many Faces of Antidote
No wonder I love this bar of chocolate! Check out those original flavor combinations. Red recently completed another production run in Ecuador fresh with new ideas and flavor combinations, including Banana and Cayenne on 77% chocolate, Almond and Fennel on 77%, Lemon Salt on 77%, and Mango and Juniper on 84%.
Currently, her chocolate bars can be found at a number of health and gourmet food stores in the New York City area including Whole Foods, Westside Market, Earth Matters, Yoga Integral, Eli's Manhattan, Westerly and in selected stores in California. And for those of you outside of those regions they can also be purchased in bulk on www.antidotechoco.com/online-shop.
All of this in less than 9 months! How astounding that the birth of such a brilliant and delicious idea could materialize so quickly. It’s a testament to the fact that the stars were aligned for the birth of an exceptional chocolate.
Learn more about Linda diBella: www.getreal4health.com
More About Antidote: Why Antidote Dark Chocolate?
Chocolate offers relief from drama.
It is a powerful treat for weak moments. It is a way to enjoy good times. Antidote is also a remedy to low-quality chocolate that has too much sweetener or refined sugar and milk, which are not beneficial to your health. However, cacao is extremely powerful and nutrient-rich, which makes it a natural antidote to the stresses of everyday life.
We selected charismatic ancient Greek goddesses and named our bars after them with a little anecdote on the back of each package. Empower and nurture your inner goddess!
Ecuador is considered by connoisseurs to have one of the three best cacaos in the world. We use one of the finest beans and produce from bean-to-bar to maintain product integrity and control of the final Antidote chocolate bar.
Our hands-on “bean to bar” process allows us to supervise every step-from roasting to refining the cacao. We pay special attention to all processing steps of the raw beans, not to exceed 118°F to maintain the raw properties. Actually we developed a special process throughout all production steps in order for the raw cacao to remain raw.
From Design To Bar: Sustainable
Antidote chocolate bars are sustainably made from “bean to bar” with a unique 50/50 blend of RAW & roasted organic cacao for optimum taste and nutrition. The chocolate itself is made from the exquisite “Arriba Nacional” cacao from farms in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which embodies floral flavors and a nutty aroma.
The cacao is organic certified, and we are paying the highest prices to farmers protecting them, the environment, and wildlife. We use very little cane sugar, which is what makes Antidote a superfood, even though it tastes like a yummy candy bar.
Vegan and gluten free – each bar is enriched with a dose of finest moringa, a nutrient-rich plant that is used in Ayurvedic medicine to cure over 300 maladies.
We also designed our packaging to be practical and inspiring as you may enjoy an Antidote bar over several days. We use beautiful, recyclable paper instead of unnecessary cardboard or tin.
About The Founder
Antidote Founder and Creator Red R. Thalhammer is not your average chocolate maker. The Austrian native’s first experience with food was through her family’s restaurant and farming business. Red since ever had a passion for wellness, and her explorations of the subject as well as Austria’s tradition of decadent desserts led her to chocolate, one of the most powerful superfoods available. Awakened by a desire to reinvent the way people experience chocolate, she developed Antidote, a superfood that is exotic, healthy, vegan and delicious.