The Sweetness of Chocolate & Mindfulness
Simply put, I love chocolate...and you should too. Yes, I said it. I am not a huge dessert fan, but there is something about a piece of dark chocolate that reawakens me at that dip in the day around 4 o'clock, or that completely satisfies my after dinner sweet tooth. Why is that? In small amounts, if you consume a good quality dark chocolate with a high cacao content (at least 70 percent cacao) that is not loaded with milk, sugar and butter, you are actually indulging in a nutritious treat. A good quality dark chocolate contains a healthy amount of fiber and antioxidants ~ as well as essential minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Not only does dark chocolate taste awesome and make me smile, but it has a plethora of health benefits that range from improving brain function & sex drive to lowering stress & blood pressure. What I love even more is when that chocolate comes from a place that is filled with yummy, organic ingredients and made with some good ol' fashioned TLC. Enter one of the sweetest (no pun intended) chocolatiers out there, Sarah Engelhart.
Based out of her home in Venice, California, Sarah has mindfully created a deliciously thriving chocolate company called The Sweetness of Being. Not only are they beautifully packaged, but each of Sarah's unique, sustainable and wildcrafted treats are filled with locally sourced ingredients and bits of her inner passions. It felt like my birthday when I received a gorgeous box filled with a flavorful selection of individually wrapped yummy gifts. Grab a cup of tea and read on to learn about what makes Sarah and her chocolates so refreshing...
The Vibrant Beet: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to loving and creating beautiful stoneground chocolates?
Sarah Engelhart: I have always loved chocolate since I can remember…. I worked with Café Gratitude for 6 years and it definitely broadened my perspective of eating healthy. I love that chocolate can be a healthier alternative to other sweets. Dark chocolate specifically has greater antioxidant benefits than milk chocolate. As I come to understand more about food and its role in health, I become increasingly inspired by offering what I consider to be a kind of medicinal chocolate.
TVB: How did you come up with name “The Sweetness of Being”?
SE: The name was born in two parts:
The first part has to do with my study of the Heart. One of the most profound teachers I have ever encountered refers to each person’s Spirit as their “Being”. I make it a practice to listen to my Being as regularly as I can. That said the second part occurred from a conversation with a dear friend. I was trying to work out what my next step professionally would be and he not only helped to bridge many interests I was exploring but also encouraged me to start the business AND helped me choose the name.
TVB: Your chocolates are so fresh and unique. How do you come up with the flavors?
SE: Drawing inspiration from nutrient rich foods which I have loved over the years (goji berries contain 140% daily value of Vitamin A for example) as well as my favorite essential oils which each have an array of medicinal qualities. I feel as though I could go on forever about the ingredients I choose. I decided to use raw wildflower honey to sweeten my chocolates because it is an unrefined, enzyme rich sweetener. I source mine from a local, 100% solar-powered honey farm.
TVB: They are all delicious, but the Spicy Pepita Coconut Chocolate is my favorite (Mint Chocolate was the runner up in my taste test!!:)). What is your favorite flavor?
SE: My favorite flavor is called “Three Kings” it is a combination of frankincense, edible gold and myrrh.
TVB: Where do you get your ingredients?
SE: Everything is sourced with the highest integrity. All the ingredients are organic or wildcrafted. My cacao is stoneground fresh weekly at Chocovivo in Culver city; the organic beans come from a small farm in Tabasco, Mexico. Raw wildflower honey from Bennets honey farm in Fillmore. Organic cold processed mucuna pruriens from Sun Potion.
TVB: I can tell that you love what you do. Who and/or what inspires you?
SE: I am inspired by people with kind hearts and generous dispositions.
TVB: What are your favorite ways to stay active yet grounded, here in Los Angeles?
SE: My favorites these days are a hike in Temescal Canyon, a swim in the ocean at Will Rogers or practicing Odissi which is a style of Indian temple dance that I have been studying for the past 3 years.
TVB: What are you favorite ways to decompress in Los Angeles?
SE: Reading literature about consciousness on my couch with a cup of tea or meditating.
TVB: What are your favorite places in Los Angeles to hit up for tasty, healthy food?
SE: My favorite places for good food are Café Gratitude, Axe on Abbott Kinney, The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, Sage Vegan Bistro, Crossroads, Gracias Madre, Red Medicine and Pono Burger.
TVB: What is your favorite kind of sweet treat (besides your chocolates!!)?
SE: Excellent question! I am actually taking 30 days off of sugar right now…. My favorite sweet treat is organic yogurt gelato (the best I have ever had was in Rome, Italy and I am still waiting to find it’s match.)
TVB: Where can we buy some of your yummy sustainable and wild crafted chocolates?!
SE: You can purchase them on my website: www.thesweetnessofbeing.com or in Los Angeles at Café Gratitude, Sage Vegan Bistro, The Golden State, Open Source Organics or Rainbow Acres.
TVB: What is your favorite way to enjoy “The Sweetness of Being”?
SE: With Thankfulness.
Sarah, thank you for creating The Sweetness of Being ~ a mindful treat for us to experience not only with our tastebuds, but our hearts.