Monday, November 10, 2014

Joy Bliss Raw - Chocolates

Any time I hear of raw chocolate being made locally, my eyes widen and the edges of my lips begin to curl up as vision of sugar plums dance in my head. At VegFest, I met Anh Thu Hoang, founder of Joy Bliss Raw, a raw chocolate company based in DC. Skeptical, I tried a couple of her assorted chocolates and within mouth-watering seconds, that skeptical look was wiped off my face. These are restaurant-quality artisanal raw chocolates worthy of accolades.

The most impressive of her lineup are her Assorted Chocolates. These handcrafted chocolates look like they came right out of a gourmet chocolate factory. The shell of each is made with raw cacao liquor and cacao butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and pink Himalayan salt. There are typically four flavors in each box: Caramel, Chai, Marzipan, and Almond Butter or Peanut Butter.  The marzipan was spectacular and made me wonder how she made it with all of these healthy ingredients. The marzipan filling was made with sprouted cashews, macadamia nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil and flour, and almond and vanilla extracts. Similar ingredients were used to make the other flavors and they were all really good.

Next, I tried the Half and Half. I could eat these every day. These tiny little snacks are made by pressing a mix of nuts and seeds together (sprouted almonds, buckwheat, pumpkin and sunflower seeds along with sesame, flax, and chia seeds) with hemp hearts and coating half of the bars in cacao butter and nibs.

Lastly, I tried her Almond Butter Cookies, which were crunchy and rich and full of vanilla flavor. They are also made with sprouted almonds and chia along with almond butter.

Anh has an interesting story as she originally obtained a master's in public health and spent many years working on HIV prevention in Africa and Asia. While living in Thailand in 2006 to 2009, she fell in love with raw foods and decided to change careers to feed her new passion. After graduating from the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, California, she started her own company and is now growing inch by inch.

She uses high quality raw ingredients in all of her products that are fair trade and organic. The best part is that she does not use any preservatives, additives, or emulsifiers. All of her products are vegan and gluten-free. She said the prices of each product vary upon retailer and to contact her directly for orders. You can find her contact information on her website. Support local. Eat good, healthy food. Joy Bliss Raw.

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

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