I remember the moment it started so clearly.
My text: "Sorry, I've been poisonous today."
His text: "Don’t worry. I'll make an Antidote for you”
"Wow," I thought, "what could that be?" I began dreaming of an Antidote for the blues and emotional challenges women encounter on a daily basis. While I was fascinated with such a cure, all I really wanted was chocolate.
The next morning I woke up and laughed, "what if chocolate was the antidote?"
I decided to make it so, to create the chocolate cure for life's insufferable moments. One that was not only deliciously satisfying in times of need, but also had long-lasting health benefits. Not just chocolate, but a POWER chocolate. The equivalent of Popeye's spinach.
This idea came in the midst of a perfect storm, it was October of 2009 and the economic crisis had limited the number jobs that were coming my way. In part to ease my own frustration I dedicated all my time to my new raison d'etre: finding the Antidote.
I was obsessed with the idea of reinventing chocolate. Every morning for nine months I would perform chemistry experiments in the kitchen: conching and tempering, and coming up with the perfect combinations of chocolate, herbs, and spices. My apartment quickly filled with boxes of ingredients from all over the world including India, Ecuador and Peru. I tried every available sugar option and alternative, raw cacao and roasted cacao from different regions and countries.
I worked tirelessly to perfect my creations and at one point felt like a drug dealer, surfacing at parties every so often, bringing my new batch of "stuff" wrapped in foil to parties and social events for my friends to sample and rate. Then I would disappear off into the shadows to continue refining my Antidote.
While I had decided early on that I wanted to use Ecuador's world renowned “arriba nacional” beans, I needed to decide between raw and roasted. I loved elements of both and decided to become the world's first creator of a 50/50 raw/roasted blend bar, bringing together the amazing health benefits and taste of pure beans with the longer lasting flavors of roasted beans. I'd like to say this is a reflection of my desire to find balance in life, but in actuality, it's more likely a reflection of my desire to have my cake and eat it too.
As the product developed it became obvious that in order to be sustainable and affordable, I would have to produce this from "bean to bar" in Ecuador – and not in my LIC kitchen as I once thought. So, I packed my bags and put what was left of my resources into spending 3 weeks in South America making chocolate. My family thought I was crazy, but after everything I had been through, I felt like I was doing the one thing worth doing with my life.
On July 25th, 2010, Antidote launched and found it's way to the most trendy and adventurous palates in NYC. Thanks to over a year of persistence, blood, sweat and tears, "Health through pleasure" had become a reality. Just 3 months later we were carried in 40 gourmet and health food stores in the state of New York.
Now, 3 years later, we are carried in 200 selected stores nationwide including Whole Foods, with distribution in the US, Japan and Singapore. I continue to fine-tune recipes, and prepare for the launch of new flavors and products, including the recent launch of the 73% raw + roasted cacao flavors of Almond + Fennel and Coffee + Cardamom.
While on the journey to create an Antidote for fear & timidity, heart and soul strikes, passivity, stress and anxiety, weak moments as well as to the cold vagaries of the outside world and the mundane, I found that throwing myself passionately at the one thing I believed in became my own Antidote. But the journey is a roller coaster, and when I need a pick me, now I've got it. And I'd like to share it with you.